When I first started yoga 15 years ago, as a beginner I remember how overwhelmed I used to get. I did not know where to start and what kind of poses or styles were right for me. I joined yoga classes hoping that it will make me comfortable but it made feel out of the place and after two classes I quit. Why did I quit? its because I had my eyes wandering around everywhere around the class and judged myself based on others performance; this caused more stress. I decided to give yoga another try at home. Other than the fact I had very good guidance from knowledgeable yogi’s like my family members and ancestors, I was more curious and started reading lots of books and watching dvd’s; it was at this stage that I realized that yoga was just the perfect thing for me.
So before presenting the 10 basic yoga positions that helped me make myself comfortable and grounded to yoga. I would first like to share a few yoga tips based on my experience.
- Do not register for yoga classes before trying it out at home. The reason is as a beginner, you never know if you would like to continue with yoga in the future so instead spend some time doing research. There are many free classes and videos online so use them to your advantage and see if you like it. Also it is normal to be worried and confused as a beginner thinking whether you will be able to follow along the classes and that seriously adds to stress instead of relaxation. It is best to get an idea of atleast the basic poses as that will prepare you and make you more comfortable for your classes if you plan to take them.
- Do not invest in yoga equipment and accessories. It can get too much pricey to invest in so many things like a yoga mat, block, yoga clothes, towel etc. Instead use what you have at home and when you are sure that yoga is something that you are really interested in, then pamper yourself with all the shopping. Be creative for example: you could use a bolster instead of a block, a belt or rope instead of a strap.
- Try a bunch of different styles of yoga to know which style suits your needs. A common mistake most people make as a beginner is join a yoga studio, they try just one style and quit yoga forever. Somebody who is not a fan of yoga might tell you that yoga is boring, and I can tell you from my experience that it is so much fun that you will want to spring out of your bed in the morning to practice yoga. It has so many varieties to it that as a beginner it can be overwhelming. So pick a couple of styles and practice until you know what style best suits you.
- It is fun to be a beginner– Enjoy the experience of being a beginner, because at this phase it is so much fun to learn new stuff. Unlike other activities where you expect instant outcomes, this activity is not the one where you should be judging yourself or expecting instant outcomes. It is more about how you feel and I promise you that as you start practicing regularly you will feel wonderful.
- Don’t push your limits- Yoga is definitely not about fitting yourself into the hardest poses, it is much different than physical exercise, the easiest poses too will yield such amazing results. Never judge yourself on yoga or compare yourself to others as everyone has a different level of flexibility plus at the beginner phase it is normal to be less flexible than intermediate or advanced level yogis. With more practice and time, your body muscles will get used to it and you will notice increased level of flexibility.
- Results will come with time and patience– Remember one thing in addition to being a fitness regime, yoga is way of life, to find yourself and unite with yourself. When you patiently devote yourself to yoga, you will realize that you have stumbled across self-discovery and a natural process to physical and mental well-being.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
This pose gently stretches and strengthens the muscles of the entire body specially the back and neck muscles.It is very beneficial for soothing menstrual pain. Cat-cow pose improves blood circulation and because of the increase in the blood circulation specially to the abdomen, this pose also tones and heals the reproductive organs and gastrointestinal tract.
The sanskrit word Balasana; Bal means child and asana means pose so just like a baby relax in this pose and surrender all the daily stress as this pose calms your brain. The greatest benefit of this pose is, it helps to relieve upset stomach, improves sleep and reduces pain in the back and neck.
This is a great heart opener pose which helps to cure respiratory diseases and reduce stress. The beauty of this pose is it makes your skin glow by rejuvenating the cells in your body. Additionally it can also strengthen the back and neck muscles and provide relieve from sciatica pain.
This master pose of all asanas should be left aside until the end of all the asanas so as to relieve all the tiredness caused while practicing asanas. Surrender your body, soul and mind during this pose and when you wake up from this pose, you will feel like a free soul that has been restored to a healthy body. This asana allows the nervous system to pause from undergoing through its regular habits of stress and pain and then reset itself. The body will then have a increased capacity to handle all the daily stress and pain again.
It is known as the butterfly pose because when you move both your legs up and down, it resembles a butterfly moving its wings. Want to open up your hips and relieve pain in the testicles? this pose is a great hip opener. This pose if practiced regularly, is specially helpful for curing urinary disorders. If you are pregnant or planning on pregnancy, know that this pose will not only make the delivery process much easier but also cures all infertility problems and irregular menses.
While toning the abdomen this pose also takes care of the internal organs of the abdomen, such as improving the function of the pancreas, liver and digestion. Spinal twist pose increases the mobility of the spine and neck and reduces the pain and discomfort associated with it.
The best time to perform this pose is in the morning because it charges the body with loads of energy. This is one pose that strengthens all the muscles of the body by adding flexibility and increased sense of balance. This pose helps the shoulder and neck muscles to loosen up and the release the stress.
This is a very beneficial pranayama for a healthy heart. This traditional pranayama has become so popular due to its ability to fight so many mental and physical ailments. Continue to do this pranayama everyday and the results will be relieve from headaches, stress, improved focus and sharp memory. The physical benefits to it, is it heals so many ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sinus and respiratory diseases.
Bridge pose increases blood circulation specially to the heart, brain and abdominal region. It is very effective for eliminating stress, fatigue, calming the brain and improving sleep. It strengthens the back muscles and opens the chest while also strengthening the legs muscles and the buttocks.
This pose may seem too simple to reduce abdominal fat but it is considered very effective for this purpose. Blood circulation is mostly increased to the head region that is why this pose is very beneficial for calming the brain and dealing with the problems associated with brain such as stress, depression and migraines. Other than improving menstrual disorders, it also enhances digestion and smooth functioning of the liver and kidney.
I hope these 10 basic yoga positions will allow you to fall in love with yoga like myself. What is your story as a beginner to yoga? did you love it or did not like it as much? and what are your favourite poses? I would love to hear from you.
Ramandeep Kaur (Founder)