Yoga combines breathing, body postures and meditation to promote relaxation and health. It can be life-changing for some practitioners, dramatically improving well-being in body, mind and spirit. However, getting started with yoga can be daunting for those who have never done it before. Fear not; it’s actually very easy to get started with these basic steps:
Tools You Need for Yoga
The good news about yoga is that it can be done just about anywhere. While a yoga mat is nice, it is not essential at first. Other tools you might consider having on hand as your practice progresses are a cushion, a block, a blanket and a yoga strap.
Join a Class, or Use Online Videos
Taking a yoga class or picking up an instructional DVD is another option toward getting started on the right path with yoga. There are also a number of free videos available online via YouTube and other video hosting platforms.
Focus on Breath Awareness
Breathing is an essential component of yoga and is key to gleaning the most healing benefits long-term. The breath draws in essential life force energy, or “prana” from the universe, nourishing the body and all its organs, cells and systems. Remember to inhale deeply and exhale mindfully throughout every phase of your yoga practice.
Start with Basic Yoga Poses
Yoga has some foundational poses that can be done by just about anyone, and they’re a great way to dive right in and get started with your practice. A simple beginning yoga routine might include:
Sit cross-legged on the floor, hands on knees, spine straight, and breathe deeply and mindfully; feel the nourishing prana energy fill your core and radiate throughout your organs and limbs.
Get onto your hands and knees with knees under hips, wrists under shoulders, back flat. Inhale while dropping the belly toward the floor and looking up; hold cow pose for a moment, then exhale while pulling the back upward and arch it like a Halloween cat. Repeat this pose slowly and deliberately, inhaling for cow pose and exhaling for cat pose.
Downward Facing Dog
Begin on hands and knees just like cat-cow. Inhale while straightening the legs with feet flat on the ground, feeling the extension in the back of the legs. Spread fingers apart, tuck head downward, and engage the front part of your thighs. Continue to breathe deeply and mindfully as you hold the pose for as long as you wish.
Inverted Lake Pose
This pose involves laying near a wall and placing the legs vertically upward against it, allowing for more blood flow to the torso and head and promoting a range of cleansing and circulatory benefits.
Lay on a firm pillow pressed against the lower back/upper glutes. Swing the legs upward so that they are flat against the wall as you lay facing the wall, lower back and glutes on the pillow. (You may use a small pillow for your head if you wish.) Extend arms outward and enjoy the circulatory stimulation of this pose while breathing deeply.
Yoga offers tremendous benefits to the body, mind and spirit, and is beneficial to practitioners at every level. Get started with these tips today and be well on your way to a fulfilling practice.
Looking for some more easy poses? Check out our list of The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Beginners.