Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/30/2013 -- Yoga has numerous benefits for mental well-being and physical fitness, but can turn away those who feel inflexible or find the poses intimidating. Fortunately, there are a variety of yoga poses one can do to increase flexibility and confidence before stepping into a full Yoga class.
To achieve the full benefits of any yoga pose, proper positioning is needed as well as breathing know-how. Understand the body is adjusting to new movements and stretching tight areas and work within those limits to avoid injury. Below are some poses to try when getting started with a practice.
Mountain Pose: this is the starting position for any yoga sequence and the template for all other postures. Stand tall with feet and ankle bones pressed together. Arms rest at sides with palms facing forward. Hips tuck under, and chest stays lifted to elongate the spine. Hold for 5 breaths.
Chair Pose: From Mountain Pose, raise arms above the head and allow the knees to bend, pushing the hips backwards until they’re settled about 5 inches above the knees. Press into the feet and tuck the hips under to engage the glutes and lower back. Hold for 5 breaths.
Downward-Facing Dog: often seen outside of yoga classes, this pose provides rejuvenation for the brain and a stretch for the hamstrings, shoulders, and back. Feet start hip width apart, and the body hinges at the waist to rest palms flat against the floor with hips high in the air. The body should resemble an upside down V, with arms, shoulders, and back straight, pushing energy into the hamstrings and heels. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then relax into the next pose.
Child’s Pose: From downward-facing dog, bend the knees to rest against the floor. Widen the knees and thighs to allow the belly and chest to rest down between the legs. Arms remain straight above the head, with forehead resting against the floor as palms gently press down. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
These poses are often seen in any yoga class, and are good to know when beginning a practice. They will help relax the body, focus the mind, and improve the flow of breath for better overall fitness.
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