Yoga is a complete way to exercise. The gentle beginner’s poses can help you begin to increase your flexibility, improve your muscle strength, and keep your body and mind in balance. Along with practiced breathing, there are some simple yoga poses and stretches that can work with traditional Western medicine to improve your overall health and well-being. This article will walk you through 10 simple yoga poses, explaining how those poses help and how you should perform them properly.
There are many yoga poses that range from beginner’s poses to very advanced poses. Here are a few poses that are simple to do as you begin your journey into yoga.
Sanskrit name: Tadasana
Benefits: This pose will help you to center your body, improve your breathing and posture and increase your mental clarity.
Instructions: Stand with your feet directly under your hips and your weight distributed equally on your feet. Keep your arms at your side. Keep your neck aligned with your spine. Breathe deeply and stretch your arms gently upwards. Stretch your arm as high as you can and keep a fluent inhale and exhale deep breathing pattern.
Sanskrit name: Vriksasana
Benefits: The tree pose stretches your body and helps to improve balance. This pose can also strengthen your calves, thighs and spine.
Instructions: Be sure to keep your eyes open as you practice this pose. Stand straight with your arms at your sides and looking straight ahead. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot on your left thigh. Raise your arms over your head and place your palms together. As you continue to breathe, make sure your body is straight. Bring your hands back down to your sides and lower your foot to the floor. Repeat with the other side.
Sanskrit name: Shishu Asana or Balasana
Benefits: This relaxing pose will help stretch your ankles, thighs, hips, back and neck to relieve stress in these areas. This pose can also relive constipation.
Instructions: Sitting on your heels on the floor, roll your body forward, stretch your arms in front of you, and rest your forehead on the ground in front of you. Keep your chest rested on your knees as you breathe slowly and deeply.
Sanskrit name: Adho mukha svanasana
Benefits: This traditional yoga pose will help your circulation and provides a full stretch of your calves, ankles and feet.
Instructions: Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers out and walk toward your hands as you move your hips and buttocks up into the air until your body forms as upside-down “V” shape. Keep your feet flat on the floor and about shoulder wide.
Sanskrit name: Trikonasana
Benefits: This pose helps to stretch and strengthen your entire body, improve digestion, and increase your mental strength and physical balance.
Instructions: Keep your eyes open as you do this pose. Stand straight with your feet apart about 3-4 feet. Turn your right foot out and your left foot in slightly. As you exhale, bend your body to the right bending at the waist and stretching your right hand toward your right foot and allowing your left arm and hand to stretch above your body. Look up at your left arm and hand. Hold the position as long as possible then return to an upright position. Repeat on the other side.
Sanskrit name: Marjariasana
Benefits: The cat stretch is a great pose for increasing the flexibility of your back and spine and improving digestion and blood circulation.
Instructions: Start on your hands and knees on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Slowly inhale and tilt your head back as you gently raise your buttocks and push your navel toward the floor. Keep your knees on the floor. Hold the pose as long as possible. Then, exhale and drop your head down to your chest as you arch your back. Return to the initial pose and repeat 5 or 6 times.
Sanskrit name: Veerabhadrasana
Benefits: This pose stretches your thighs, calves and ankles.
Instructions: Stand with your feet about three feet apart your right foot in front of the left. Hold your arms out to the side with your palms down and arms extended and straight. Turn your right foot out to the side and your left foot in. Lunge forward gently, bending your right knee as you keep your left leg straight. Hold the pose as your legs stretch. Return to the original position then switch legs.
Sanskrit name: Setu bandhasana
Benefits: The Bridge pose is great for relieving back strain and strengthening your back. This pose may help reduce stress and menstrual cramps and may help improve digestion.
Instructions: Lie on your back flat on the floor. Keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor. Bend your knees and keep your arms flat on the floor. While you inhale, slowly lift your buttocks and torso off the floor while keeping your shoulders, feet and arms on the floor. Maintain this arch for as long as possible. you should keep breathing deeply and easily during the process.
Sanskrit name: Eka pada rajakapotasana
Benefits: This pose will help stretch your quadriceps muscles and will open your chest and shoulders.
Instructions: Begin on the floor in a push up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Place one knee on the floor with your leg bent so that your heel is by the opposite hip. Keep the other leg stretched out behind your body. Press up with your hands so that your chest and upper body are lifted off the floor. Gently hold the position and feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Change legs and repeat with the other leg.
Sanskrit name: Ashva Sanchalanasana
Benefits: This pose stretches and strengthens the legs, arms and buttocks.
Instructions: Bend forward at the waist with your hands on the floor outside of your feet. Step backward with one foot and bend the knee of the forward leg. Keep your weight on the forward foot and the ball of the foot at the back. Lay your upper body on the thigh of your forward leg. Keep your head up and stretch your back leg by trying to lower your heel to the floor. Step back toward the other foot and stretch the other leg to the back.
Watch a video to learn a flow of simple yoga poses:
To see more yoga poses, view videos at: http://www.yogaglo.com/poses.php