Yoga is a mindful exercise that can improve flexibility and build strength, while helping to reduce stress and anxiety by relaxing the mind and body.
© The Good Brigade – Getty Images Yoga expert Alexandra Baldi of Compass Chelsea shares the four best yoga positions for beginners.
If you’re new to the mindful practice and not sure where to start, there are four yoga positions you can do yourself at home, according to Alexandra Baldi, yoga teacher and founder of yoga studio Compass Chelsea.
Whether you’ve decided to incorporate yoga into your morning routine at home, or are thinking about booking a beginners class at a yoga studio, these four yoga poses will help you understand the importance of being mindful of your body and how it moves during your time on the mat and long after.
Downward Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (also know as Downward Facing Dog) is one of the best yoga poses for beginners to start with, Alexandra told us.
“It really helps beginners get an idea of alignment (the proper positions for yoga poses to maximise the benefits of your practice),” Alexandra said, “Your hands are spread out like starfish on the mat, your shoulders are really melting down away from your ears and, with your arms straight out in front of you, you’ll start to feel that long activation between the arms.”
© yulkapopkova – Getty Images Woman doing downward dog
“If you are new to the practice, you might also want to bring your feet closer together, because your heels aren’t going to touch to the bottom of the mat when wide apart. If your legs are a little bit closer together and towards your hands, you’ll be able to feel that sensation of your heels being closer to the mat, while automatically engaging the back of the legs, as well as the hamstrings.
“This position also gives you the opportunity to push the hips up. I always tell beginners to imagine they have a string on the back of their glutes and that there’s someone literally pulling that string to bring the hips up and back.”
Balasana (Child’s Pose) is a good pose for beginners but it can be challenging for those with tight hips, according to Alexandra.
© PeopleImages – Getty Images Woman doing Childs Pose
“Coming into Child’s Pose can either be very active or very restorative. If it’s active, you’re going to have those arms extended out nice and long in front of you. If it’s restorative, there’s a slight bend of the elbows and your knees can be on either side of the mat, which is a slightly more advanced option for those who have more open hips.
© jacoblund – Getty Images Woman advanced child’s pose
“If you’re tight in the hips, I recommend keeping the knees close together so you start to feel that opening sensation. I always have my beginners in Child’s Pose at the beginning, middle and end of the class, so they can notice and feel that opening of their hips throughout the class.”
Gallery: Small daily habits for a more active lifestyle (Espresso)
Seated Forward Bend
“Another pose I like to work on with beginners is Paschimottanasana,” Alexandra said, a pose also known as the Seated Froward Bend.
© Koldunov – Getty Images Seated forward bend pose
“To do this, sit on your glutes with your legs extended out long in front of you. Sit nice and tall with your shoulders melting away from your ears. Then, take a nice deep inhale and draw your arms above your head.
“On the exhale, hinge forward at the hips and with a strap around your feet, grab either side of the strap. With each exhale, draw the chest closer towards the knees. Imagine you have a flashlight at your chest which is beaming between the toes.”
“Tadasana (mountain pose) is a crucial pose for understanding the basic alignment of yoga,” Alexandra explained.
© fizkes – Getty Images Woman doing mountain pose
“Standing at the front of the mat, place your feet hip width apart, ensure the crown of your head is lengthened and your shoulders rolled back and melting down.
“Softly extend your arms down by your sides and start to draw the navel into the spine, activating the core and simultaneously pulling up the pelvic floor. Give a slight bend to the knees and start to melt all your toes into the mat with your eyes closed. The mountain pose helps yogis become more aware of their body and helps them begin to understand what proper alignment looks like in yoga.”
Time to get practicing!
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