yoga

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS-II

VRIKSHASANA (Tree Pose) 


Beyond helping improve your balance, it can also strengthen your core, ankles, calves, thighs and spine.

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Great for working on your balance and posture.

Skip it


You many want to skip this pose if you have low blood pressure or any medical conditions that affect your balance.

Modify


Place one of your hands on a wall for support.

Be mindful


Focus on your breath in and out as you hold this pose.

STEPS 



  1. Stand on your mat, with your feet together, or slightly apart, if that is more comfortable. Take a couple of breaths.

  2. Slowly shift your weight to your right leg.

  3. Raise your left leg and clasp your ankle to guide the sole of the left foot to the inner thigh of the right leg. Try to keep your hips level.

  4. Press your foot against your thigh and your thigh against your foot. Lift up through your standing leg, core and chest.

  5. Breathe regularly as you hold the pose for a few breaths. You can bring your palms together at your chest, or raise your arms above your head if you feel stable enough. 

  6. Lower your left leg and try the other side.


Beginner's Tip



  • DON’T turn out the foot on the standing, supporting leg. This will misalign the supporting knee and hip.

  • DON’T place your foot on the opposite knee. Keep it above or below the knee, on the inner thigh or side of the shin, to protect the knee of the standing leg.


Benefits


Establishes strength and balance in the legs, and helps you feel centred, steady, and grounded.

UTTHITA TRIKONASANA (Triangle Pose)


Triangle, which is a part of many yoga sequences helps build strength in the legs and stretches the hips, spine, chest, shoulders, groins, hamstrings and calves. It can also help increase mobility in the hips and neck.

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This pose is great for building strength and endurance.

Skip it


Avoid this pose if you have a headache or low blood pressure.

Modify


If you have high blood pressure, turn your head to gaze downward in the final pose. If you have neck problems, don’t turn your head to look upward; look straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck long.

Be mindful


Keep lifting your raised arm toward the ceiling. It helps keep the pose buoyant.

STEPS



  1. Take a wide stance, with your feet three and a half to four feet apart, depending on your size; taller people can take a wider stance.

  2. Turn your left foot slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Your front heel should be in line with the arch of your back foot. Firm your thighs and make sure that the center of the right knee is in line with the center of the right ankle.

  3. Inhale and raise your arms out to the sides, shoulder height.

  4. Exhale and reach your right arm to the right, lengthening your torso directly over the right leg as you move your hips to the left. 

  5. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot. Keep the sides of the torso long.

  6. . Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Turn your torso up toward the ceiling. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing at the left thumb.

  7. Stay and breathe for a minute; then come up and try the other side.


Contraindications and Cautions



  • Diarrhea.

  • Headache.

  • Low blood pressure.

  • Heart Condition: Practice against a wall. Keep the top arm on the hip.

  • High blood pressure: Turn the head to gaze downward in the final pose.

  • Neck problems: Don’t turn your head to look upward; continue looking straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck evenly long.


Beginner's Tip


Brace your back heel or the back of your torso against a wall if you feel unsteady in the pose.

Benefits



  • Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles.

  • Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine.

  • Stimulates the abdominal organs.

  • Helps relieve stress.

  • Improves digestion.

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.

  • Relieves backache, especially through second trimester of pregnancy

  • Therapeutic for anxiety, flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica.


VAKRASANA / MATSYENDRASANA(Seated Half-Spinal Twist Pose)


This twisting pose can increase the flexibility in your back, while stretching the shoulders, hips and chest. It can also help relieve tension in the middle of your back.

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To release tight muscles around the shoulders and upper and lower back.

Skip it


If you have a back injury.

Modify


If bending your right knee is uncomfortable, keep it straight out in front of you.

Be mindful


Lift your torso with each inhale, and twist as you exhale.

STEPS



  1. Sit up on the floor or a folded blanket, with your hands on the floor or blanket behind you for support. Straighten your legs out in front of you. 

  2. Bend your right knee and place your right foot to the outside of your left knee.

  3. Inhale, lengthen your torso, exhale and twist toward your right, either hugging your right knee with your left arm or placing your left upper arm on the outside of your right leg near the knee. 

  4. Take several breaths here, lifting up through the sternum on the inhale and twisting a little more on the exhale, keeping the upper back wide.

  5. Release the twist and try the other side.


Beginner's Tip


In this version of the pose, the opposite-side arm is wrapped around the outside of the raised-leg upper thigh. This may be impractical, and potentially harmful, for beginning students. Be sure to sit up well on a blanket support and for the time being just wrap your arm around the raised leg and hug the thigh to your torso.

Benefits



  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys.

  • Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck.

  • Energizes the spine.

  • Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly.

  • Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache.

  • Therapeutic for asthma and infertility.

  • Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini.


SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Bridge Pose)


This is a back-bending pose that stretches the muscles of the chest, back and neck. It also builds strength in the back and hamstring muscles.

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If you sit most of the day, this pose will help you open your upper chest.

Skip it


Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury.

Modify


Place a block between your thighs to help keep the legs and feet in proper alignment. Or you can place a block under your pelvis if your lower back is bothering you.

Be mindful


While holding this pose, try to keep your chest lifted and your sternum toward your chin.

STEPS



  1. Lie on your back on your mat. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, with your heels close to your torso. Place your arms alongside your hips, palms down. Inhale.

  2. Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and palms into the floor, lift your hips up. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. 

  3. Clasp the hands together underneath you if you can and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders. 

  4. Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Use  your legs to support the lifting of the pelvis. Lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel.

  5. Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. 

  6. Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. 


Contraindications and Cautions:


Neck injury: avoid this pose.

Beginner's Tip


Once the shoulders are rolled under, be sure not to pull them forcefully away from your ears, which tends to overstretch the neck. Lift the tops of the shoulders slightly toward the ears and push the inner shoulder blades away from the spine.

Benefits



  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine.

  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression.

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid.

  • Rejuvenates tired legs.

  • Improves digestion.

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.

  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported.

  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia.

  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis.


CHATURANGA SAVASANA (Corpse Pose)


Like life, yoga classes typically end with this pose. It allows for a moment of relaxation, but some people find it difficult to stay still in this pose. However, the more you try this pose, the easier it is to sink into a relaxing, meditative state.

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Always!

Skip it


If you don’t want to have a moment’s peace.

Modify


Place a blanket under your head, if that feels more comfortable. You can also roll up a blanket and place that under your knees, if your lower back is sensitive or bothering you.

Be mindful


Feel the weight of your body sinking into your mat one part at a time.

STEPS



  1. Lie down on your back.

  2. Straighten both legs along the floor; the feet can turn out slightly. If your lower back is uncomfortable, you can place a rolled-up blanket under your knees. 

  3. Your arms can rest a few inches from your body, with the backs of the hands on the floor. Make sure the shoulder blades are resting evenly on the floor.

  4. Fully release your weight into the mat and let your muscles relax. Breathe normally.