Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yoga for beginners

This post is meant for yoga beginners or for people who haven’t tried yoga but whould like to try, or would like to know more about what it’s like. I’m a fresh beginner myself! So the poses may not look perfect, but the idea is to introduce yoga to you so that more people would be interested to try it out!

I believed for long that yoga isn’t for me – it’s slow paced, looked like stretching and I thought I would get bored and certainly would’t be challenged enough. How wrong was I! I went to a beginners class, and even though the poses were not the most demanding ones, later that evening I got back pain and my arms felt like I had done some serious weightlifting! So I got interested. It was obvious that yoga challenged my body in a way that no other exercise had done before.

In addition to the feeling that yoga actually worked on my body, I felt that it had a very positive effect on my flexibility; the poses at the same time stretch and build on body strength. There was something similar to ballet which I have practiced for years when I was younger. Not to mention the calming effect which is great during stressful times in life or work. There are numerous articles online about the benefits of yoga, so if you wish to read more, internet is an endless resource!

The following yoga pose series is a very quick and easy one – it works best as a warm up and as a mind calming exercise. Just focus on your slow, deep breathing. I had a chance to shoot this post in Finland where I’m visiting my family for the summer. Naturally doing yoga outside is wonderful but you might as well do it at home. If you do it in Singapore without a/c, I recommend doing it before you shower ;)…

1. Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose is often the first pose in a yoga class. It is done by standing with your feet together, your weight evenly on both feet, with a good posture. Relax your sholders, tighten your core. With a deep inhale, raise your arms from both sides over your head and place your palms together. Reach towards the sky and try to empty your mind.

2. Standing Forward Bend

With a deep exhale, bend down with your knees straight (not locking) and hands/fingers touching as close to the ground in front or beside your feet as possible. If you are very flexible, you can place your hands to the ground behind your feet. Remember to bend from your hips, not from the waist. Keep your heels on the ground while lifting your sitting bones towards the sky. This pose focuses on your thighs and works specifically as headache and insomnia relief.

3. High Lunge

Bend your knees so that you reach the ground with your hands, and with an inhale step your other foot backwards so far that your other knee forms a 90 degree angle. Keep the knee behind straight. Lengthen your upper body on top of your thigh in front but don’t place your weight on the thigh; your weight should be on your feet and arms. Keep your back straight in line with your back foot. Look forward. High Lunge focuses on you thighs, groins and calves, and it is said to help indigestion, constipation and sciatica.

4. Downward-Facing Dog

With an exhale, step the leg in front backwards next to your other leg. Push your weight towards your thighs so that your back straigthens and your body forms an ”A” shape. Spread your palms for better balance, and push your shoulders away from your hands. This pose is great for upper back stretching and is said to help especially in sinusitis.

5. Plank Pose

Inhaling, draw your body forward until your wrists are straight under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line, knees straightened. Keep your sholders away from your spine and neck. Push your tailbone towards the floor.

6. Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Firm your sholders, exhale, and lower your body parallel to the ground bending your elbows. Focus on your body being straight and your tailbone pushed towards the pelvis. Finally your body is on the ground, your legs straight and your elbows bended (as in the photo).

7. Upward-Facing Dog

With a deep inhale, stretch your legs back and push your upper body upwards away from the ground. Straighten your arms and keep your thighs firm. This pose also helps sciatica.

After this pose, you can return to 4. Downward-Facing Dog, followed by 3. High Lunge. From High Lunge you can step your foot behind next to the foot in front and move on to 2. Standing Forward Bend, and again 1. Mountain Pose. For the next round, you can repeat the poses but using the opposite foot as the backward and forward stepping foot.

Yoga is said to energize and strengthen the body, reduce fatigue and anxiety, stimulate the liver and the kidneys, calm the brain and relieve stress and mild depression, improve digestion, help in menopause and have a therapeutic effect on asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis and sinusitis.

For more detailed information you can refer to for example

Have a relaxing weekend ahead! :) 

X Ang Moh Chick

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also enjoy reading: