If you are an absolute beginner, it is best that you start practicing Yoga with the guidance of a teacher with at-least five years of experience. Join a Beginners Hatha Yoga class and have some private classes to set you on the right path. There are many styles of Yoga to choose from; try out a few Yoga studios before making a final decision. If you are unable to make a choice I would recommend Iyengar Yoga for beginners. This method of Yoga is taught with precision in the “classical” way of doing each pose. Gradually, this leads to an alignment of your muscles which creates balance in all postures. Additionally, you will learn to use several props (belts, bolsters, blocks, blankets etc.) which will enhance and support in achieving precision in the poses.
• Yoga Breathing is performed through the nose, both on inhalation and exhalation. There is a correct breathing sequence for each pose.
• The Standing poses provide a strong foundation of strength that energizes muscles and nerves from your feet, knees, and thighs. Both feet should be firmly grounded in each pose. This will enable you to achieve the required balance of each posture. If you experience difficulty in balancing then use the nearest wall as support.
• Sitting and Lying down poses are slightly easier because balancing on your feet is not required, however correct alignment and spinal positioning is important. • Yoga is not competitive. Pay attention to your body rather than trying to stretch further than what is comfortable for you. Discomfort can be tolerated but avoid moving so far into a pose that it becomes painful. This is a sign to stop and move into a relaxed posture.
• Hold each pose for a minimum of five breaths or more so long as you are comfortable. The Breath gives life and energy to every single cell in your body.
Yoga requires discipline and regular practice. With patience, persistence and perservence you will discover a wonderful sense of freedom in your life. The control of the mind and body will lead to spiritual and physical well being that is liberating.
1A. MOUNTAIN POSE – TADASANA: Stand erect, place your legs apart, with your hands by the side your body. Look slightly upwards. Breathe in and stretch your shoulders, arms, and chest upwards, interlocking your fingers and palms facing up. Feel the stretch in your body from your feet to your head. Hold the pose for five breaths. Exhale, release breath and maintain your balance. Only close your eyes once you are fully grounded in the pose and observe your balance.
1B. UPWARD SALUTE – URDHVA HASTASANA: Inhale and extend both arms upwards with palms facing each other. Hold and then release shoulder muscles, exhale and bring arms down.
2. TREE POSE – VRIKSASANA: Standing straight, slightly bend your right knee, and place the right foot high up on your left thigh. Stay balanced on the left foot. Inhale, and gently raise your arms over your head and bring them together in the namaskara. Look straight at a distant object and hold your gaze. This will help you maintain balance. Keep your spine straight. Breathe deeply and as you exhale, relax your body. Gently bring your hands down from the sides, and release the right leg. Repeat pose with the left leg
3. TRIANGLE POSE – TRIKONASANA: Stand straight and place your legs about 3-4 feet apart. Your right foot is placed at 90 degrees and the left foot is angled at 45 degrees. Both your heels are in one line, pressing the ground, with the weight of your body balanced equally on both feet. Take a deep breath, as you exhale, slowly bend your body to the right from below your hips, ensuring your waist is straight. Lift your left hand up and let your right hand touch the ground. Both arms should form a straight line. Turn your head gazing upwards and keep your feet strong for balance. Take long deep breaths. With every exhalation, relax your body. Inhale and come up. Repeat pose on left side.
4. WARRIOR 1 – VIRBHADRASANA: Stand straight and place your legs about 3-4 feet apart. Keep your right foot outside at 90 degrees and the left foot angled in at 45 degrees. Ensure that both heels are in one line, pressing the ground, with the weight of your body balanced equally on both feet. Lift your arms sideways, in line of your shoulders, palms facing downwards. Take a deep breath, as you exhale, slowly bend your right knee. Your right knee should not go beyond your ankle. Turn your head and focus on your right hand fingers. With every exhalation, relax yourself in the pose. Inhale and come out of the pose, drop your arms as you exhale. Repeat the pose on your left side.
5.EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE – UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA: Stand upright and place your legs about 3-4 feet apart. Your right foot is placed at 90 degrees and the left foot angled in at 15 degrees. Keep both your heels in one line, pressing the ground, with the weight of your body balanced equally on both feet. Lift your arms sideways, in the line of your shoulders, palms facing downwards. Take a deep breath, as you exhale, bend your right knee. Your right knee should not go beyond your ankle. Stretch your body over the right leg, bringing your right arm down while placing your elbow on the right thigh. Lift your left arm straight up, over the head touching the ear. To release, inhale and come out of the posture. Repeat on opposite side.
6.DOWN DOG – ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA: Come in the table-top position. Exhale and gently lift your hips and straighten your elbows and knees making a V-shape with your body. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Press your hands and heels into the ground and lengthen your neck, with your inner arms touching your ears. Turn your gaze to your navel. Hold for a few breaths then bend your knees and return to the table-top position.
7. CAT/COW POSE – MAJRASANA – BITILASANA:
A. CAT: Come into the table-top position with your knees right under your hips and your palms right under your shoulder. Keep your head in the neutral position. Inhale, and as you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, releasing your head towards the floor. Inhale, come back to the tabletop position. Repeat a few times.
B. COW: Come into the table-top position with your knees right under your hips and your palms right under your shoulder, keeping your head in the neutral position. Inhale, push your lower back in, head up, allowing your belly to sink towards the floor. Exhale, come back to the tabletop position. Repeat a few times.
8. CHILD’S POSE (with bolster) – BALASANA: Kneel on the floor. Keep your big toes together and sit on your heels. Open your knees hip-width apart. Exhale and then bend forward, laying your torso down between your thighs without lifting your buttocks. Relax your forehead on the bolster. Hands relaxed with elbows on floor, palms facing downwards. With every inhale and exhale relax all your muscles and let go.
9. EASY POSE – SUKHASANA: Sit comfortably on your mat. Cross your legs, bend your knees and place your left foot above your right foot. Keep your pelvis and back straight. Shoulders relaxed. Repeat pose with your right foot above left foot.
10. EASY TWIST POSE – SUKHASANA TWIST: Sit in Sukhasana with your spine straight and arms relaxed. Place your left hand on the right knee, right hand at the back on the block. Twist your torso to the right. Repeat on the other side.
11. BUTTERFLY POSE – BADHAKONASANA: Sit with your spine erect and bend your knees inwards so that soles of your feet are touching each other. Clasp your feet with your hands pressing your thighs towards the floor. Hold this pose maintaing a straight spine. Inhale, exhale and gently come out of the posture by straightening your legs out.
12. UPWARD FACING DOG POSE – BHUJANGASANA: Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor, forehead resting on the ground and feet slightly apart. Place your palms touching the floor under your shoulders, elbows parallel close to your torso. With inhalation, lift your head, chin and chest up while gently pressing your palms on the floor. With exhalation gently bring your back and head towards the floor. Relax.
13. WINDRELIEVING POSE – PAVANMUKHTASANA: Lie down on your back, atleast five minutes or more. exhale bring your left knee to your chest and hold. Lift your head up, towards your knee and hold. With exhalation, bring your head down, legs straight and release your hands. Repeat with the other leg.
14. BRIDGE POSE – SETU BHANDA SARVANGASANA: Lie down on your back. Bend your knees. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Press your palms down the floor or touch your heels. Roll your shoulders slightly under and lift your buttocks off the floor using your thighs and pushing your lower back as high as possible. Hold and slowly return back, onto the floor and with your legs straight and relax.
15. UPWARD EXTENDED FEET POSE – URDHVA PRASARITA PADASANA : Lie down on your back and gently raise both legs against the wall, feet slightly apart and relaxed. Hands straight down by the side of the body, palms facing upwards. Hold and relax in the pose. Slowly return both legs onto the floor. Release the posture in the reverse order. Eventualy your legs should be at right angle on the wall.
16. CORPSE POSE – SVANASANA: This essential pose must be done at the end of your practice. Lie flat on your back, with your legs straight & apart, hands by the side of your body, palms facing upwards. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing and let all your muscles relax. Stay in this position for atleast five minutes or more.
Yogi model: Chandanee Kaurani inspired by BKS Iyengar | Follow me on Instagram: @chandnee_yoga to know more.