Yoga for Beginners: Poses That Work for All Body Shapes
If you’re new to yoga or want to try practicing, here's an easy guide for beginners!
Yoga practice has been one of the most popular forms of exercise in the Philippines. It originated in India about 3,000 years ago, according to Matthew Remski, a yoga teacher and author of the book, Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond. Different yoga poses help stretch and strengthen the body, sweat out toxins, improve posture and breathing, and calm the mind.
It's a practice that anyone can do regardless of age, background, and body shape. All you need is ample space, a yoga mat, and clothes that are comfortable to move in! If you’re new to yoga, here’s an easy yoga for beginners guide featuring doable poses and their respective benefits.
Warrior Pose II
For beginners, the Warrior II pose is great for stretching the back and legs, especially when they’re tight. It prepares you eventually for more advanced forward bends. Doing this can also energize your limbs, develop balance and stability, and improve blood circulation and respiration. If you’re pregnant, the Warrior II pose can help alleviate backaches!
To do this pose, step or lightly spread your feet about 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides with shoulder blades wide and palms down. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left about 90 degrees. Align your left and right heels before turning your left thigh outward, so the center of the left kneecap is in line with the center of the left ankle. Bend your left knee over the left ankle with your shin perpendicular to the floor.
Stay in this position for 30 seconds before reversing your feet to repeat on the other side!
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
The Four-Limbed Staff Pose is a push-up variation that follows a plank pose in a common yoga sequence known as the sun salutation. This sequence is meant to create a flow of movement, which helps warm, strengthen, and align the entire body. We recommend memorizing and perfecting the Four-Limbed Staff Pose if you eventually want to learn advanced poses like arm balances and inversions. It helps strengthen the arms and wrists and tones the abdomen.
If you find that this might be too difficult on the first try, you can modify it by keeping your knees on the floor. Be mindful of pressing your palms evenly and lifting your shoulders away from the floor as you hold the pose.
Upward Facing Dog Pose
The Upward Facing Dog is one of the most accessible back-bending poses and part of the sun salutation series. You can do this pose by lying face down on the mat with toes, legs, and hips apart. Bend your elbows and place both palms flat on the ground right below your shoulders. Then, press into the hands to lift your body – while keeping your chest open and shoulders away from the ears. You can press the top of your feet into the mat to lift your legs and knees off the mat.
Doing this pose strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists. It improves the posture by stretching the anterior spine. It can even increase lung capacity to relieve symptoms of asthma!
Downward Dog Pose
According to yoga teachers, the Downward Dog is more than just a warm-up or cool-down position. Since this is considered an inverted pose, it encourages blood flow and energizes your body. It’s also a great way to build strong bones and fight a slumpy posture. Downward dogs provide flexibility and incredible balance for the mind and body. Dermatologists even share that the added blood flow to your face and brain can boost a youthful afterglow!
To do a downward dog, your hands must be shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers out wide and press your hands down onto the mat. Tuck your toes under and inhale deeply while keeping your hands pressed to the mat. Exhale and lift your knees off the floor while straightening your legs as much as you can. Think of yourself as an inverted triangle with your tailbone reaching up to the sky.
The Wheel Pose may look intimidating at first, but it’s actually considered a beginner’s backbend! This pose opens the chest, shoulders, and hips in a way that counteracts the usual modern-day sitting position. To do a Wheel Pose, lie on your back and bend your knees — bringing the soles of your feet onto your mat close to the buttocks. Reach down with your fingertips and make sure that you can just graze your heels. The feet should be parallel and hip-width apart.
Bend your elbows and bring the palms of your hands overhead, placing them underneath your shoulders with the fingertips pointing towards your feet. Inhale and press down on your palms and feet as you slowly lift your shoulders and hips up and off the floor. Make sure not to put too much weight on your neck by using your hands and feet as leverage. Then carefully straighten your arms and legs as you lift your head off the floor, with your chest trying to reach the wall behind you.
Wheel poses increase the elasticity and flexibility of the spine. It also loosens tight hips and allows increased amounts of oxygen into the rib cage.
Don’t take yoga for beginners lightly! Expect to still get your sweat on after holding these poses for 30 seconds or longer. To stay fresh and sweat-free, use a deodorant like Rexona Natural Deo Dry Serum Fresh Sakura — a brightening antiperspirant formulated with Motionsense™ to protect you as you move. If you want to try doing yoga with a friend, share this article with them!
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