There is nothing better than a few easy exercises at home to start with yoga.
To cut through the many myths about yoga: there’s nothing floating about it, it’s in fact very down to earth. The body exercises will help you ground and will also teach you to let go of your crazy monkey mind.
Although there are many yoga styles and classes, they often use a number of basic postures.
In the 8 poses we propose here, every part of the body is mobilized and relaxed. Concentration on your breathing is a key element.
You can hold each pose for 5 to 10 breaths: inhale from your nose and breath out through your mouth releasing all stored tension.
A proper yoga breathing is accomplished by first sending your breath to your pelvis. Then you let the breath go all the way up into the collarbones. Imagine your body is a bottle that fills you from below with water.
To exhale you tighten your abdominal muscles and the muscles of your pelvis so that the next inhalation immediately starts again in your pelvis.
Now hop into something comfortable and lay your mat in a place where you can move freely. Ready? Alright, let’s go!
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Start with your feet next to each other and spread your toes slightly and push them into the ground. Lift your kneecaps so that your thigh muscles immediately become tense.
Tighten your abdominal muscles, pull your navel in and lift your chest slightly.
Also pull your shoulders back so that your shoulder blades pull towards each other. Open your palms to the front and breathe deeply through your entire body.
2. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
The Standing Forward Fold pose is good for supple hamstrings and a supple back.
Breathe out and bend forward from your hips, with your navel towards your thighs.
Keep your legs strong and stretched if possible. Make your back long.
Your hands hang quietly next to your knees (or if you are very supple: next to your feet).
Breathe in and out again.
3. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Stand up straight and divide your body weight over both feet so that you are stable.
Then bring your tailbone towards your right leg.
You will hit the ball on the left foot or on the toes, so that the weight moves more easily to the right leg.
Place the sole of the left foot against the stretched right leg, and find your balance. Start at the ankle, and as you master the exercise you can lean the sole of the foot higher and higher against the stretched leg.
Make yourself as long as possible by standing completely straight. Keep the shoulders low.
Bring the jawline back a little. Bring your hands together in front of your chest and find balance by focusing on one point.
Tighten the muscles of your “Standing Leg”, the leg on which your weight rests. Keep the hips straight forward and bring the left knee out.
Breathe the entire Yoga breath in this posture. Try to stay in balance for about 30 seconds.
Now perform the exercise the other way around. Swap your supporting leg from your right leg to your left leg.
Let the right sole of the foot rest against the supporting leg (as shown in the picture).
4. Warrior 1 & 2 (Virabhadrasana I & II)
Warrior postures provide stretch in the hips and thighs and strength in the lower body and core.
Stand with your feet side by side and take a big step back with your left foot to get into a lunge position.
Turn your left heel slightly outwards, lift your chest and put your palms over your head.
Warrior 2 has the same starting position as warrior 1.
Instead of bringing your arms over your head, stretch them out and look over your right hand.
Be sure to bring your upper body slightly back, toward your left leg, to make sure your upper body is at right angles to your hips.
5. Plank (Phalakasana)
The intention is that you do not overstretch the elbows. So you keep them slightly bent. Also, the shoulders are low.
You stretch the heels away to the back. The legs are stretched.
Hold your belly in and pull the navel inwards.
Push your tailbone towards the ground. This way you make sure that your back doesn’t hollow too fast.
Make sure your back is straight and your cervical vertebrae are in line with your back.
Stretch away from the heels towards the crown.
Hold on to the yoga Plank for as long as it feels good. You can think of a guideline of 30 seconds to a minute.
Breathe quietly in this posture.
6. Cobra (Bhujangasana)
The cobra position opens the chest and strengthens your back muscles.
Put your hands flat on the ground, at the level of your shoulders. Make your upper body long and keep the cervical vertebrae in line with your back.
Breathe in and out and stretch your arms. Create a backward bend in your lower back and push your chest up between the arms. The pelvis stays on the ground.
Open your chest and lift your hips. Bring them slightly closer to the palms of the hands.
Your body weight now rests on the hands, which are in line with the shoulders.
Keep your shoulders down and bend your head back.
7. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Departure from the previous posture. Downward Facing Dog comes back in almost every yoga practice to stretch the entire body.
Use the strength of your arms and abdominal muscles to push your pelvis upwards and stretch your arms and legs.
Then bend your head down to form a triangle with your body.
Make sure your hands are flat and parallel, in line with your shoulders.Your feet should be in line with your pelvis, in line with your hands.
You should try to extend your back as much as possible.
When you have tight hamstrings, keep your knees slightly bent and start peddling.
From there, you can try to stretch your legs while pushing your heels down into the mat/earth.
8. Child Pose (Balasana)
This posture is so nice to relax and comes back in almost every class. If you find a pose or part of the lesson too heavy, you can always lie down in the child’s pose.
Start with your hands and knees at hip width, bring your feet towards each other and let them down towards your heels.
Inhale and exhale, bending your waist forward, trying to reach as far as possible with your fingertips.
Keep your arms outstretched, next to the ears.
Stretch your arms forward and try to keep your elbows off the ground, let your forehead rest on the ground and release all tension.
The contact between your torso and your thighs should be audible. Stretch your neck and spine by pointing your starting leg downwards.
I find it very relaxing to hold this posture for a few breaths and then let my arms rest along my body.
Respect and honor your body
Keep in mind: during these postures it is important to be careful and respectful of your body.
Listen to what you are feeling and honor your limits. Every body is different so there is no need to compare with others.
Just tune in, breath and follow your own flow.
I hope you enjoy trying out these yoga postures for beginners.
Let me know what these exercises have brought you!
With love ,