Yoga for Beginners: 6 Simple Asanas – Trainer’s Tips
One of the essential advantages of yoga is its accessibility to everyone, regardless of physical form, age, and weight. Asanas for beginners should be performed smoothly and gradually, without excessive overstrain.
We figure out together with experts how to start doing yoga: what to buy, how to breathe correctly, and what asanas to perform at home.
Yoga for Beginners: First Steps
If you are training with a trainer in the gym, they will provide you with the necessary equipment. It is better to buy a mat 15 cm longer than your height in advance for home practice. Choose a dense material with a thickness of at least 5 mm to make it comfortable to put your knees and elbows.
Yoga can be practiced barefoot or in socks, which is the dress code in sports. For beginners, it is better to abandon the popular oriental harem pants – broad layers of fabric will interfere and will not allow you to track the correct performance of asanas. Choose leggings that don’t restrict movement, sports tops, and tank tops.
Oversized t-shirts are also not suitable for practice – in inverted asanas, they will get in the way, rolling onto the face.
If stretching is not enough, special light blocks will help. Additionally, you can purchase a bolster – a roller to improve stretching and relaxation, but at first, it is easy to replace it with a rolled towel.
The purpose of yoga is not only to maintain the health of the body but also to calm the mind. This is facilitated by proper yogic breathing.
Before moving on to performing asanas, it is essential to bring thoughts into balance. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back. With inhalation, first, fill the stomach with air, then the chest; at the end of the breath, raise the collarbones; with the exhalation, release the abdomen and chest from the perspective, lower the collarbones.
The breathing cycle activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and the person calms down.
For asanas to be as effective and non-traumatic as possible, it is necessary to synchronize movements with breathing. For example, in backbends, you inhale and bend over and relax as you exhale. It is essential not to hold your breath during practice: it remains even, calm and smooth; inhalation passes into exhalation and vice versa.
I recommend that students use Ujjayi breathing. This is a relatively simple but very effective technique used when it is difficult to stand in an asana. It is essential to exhale while stretching and add hissing breath, relieving pain and tension and improving performance. You use the body’s capabilities to the maximum but spend a minimum of resources.
Sitting with a straight back, lower your chin slightly, inhale through your nose, close your glottis and make the sound “sa” without opening your mouth. With an exhalation – the sound “ha.” It is better to work out breathing separately and transfer it to asanas after that. If it is not possible to breathe correctly during practice, it is worth stopping and working through this moment.
If you stretch complex while inhaling or holding your breath, this can lead to injury. Most people with a sedentary lifestyle breathe without involving the lower parts of the lungs. Yoga breathing teaches this by taking a deep breath while expanding the diaphragm and chest, followed by an exhalation.
You can start studying at home if you consciously approach this: from video lessons and books. But the study of practice will take more time, so it is essential to choose a teacher who clearly and competently explains the nuances of the course, at least in theory.
If you are uncomfortable, there are unpleasant sensations, and it is better to sign up for an individual lesson and talk with a trainer. After that, you can practice on your own. When it is impossible to go to a teacher, you can practice yoga online via a video link. After the briefing, proceed to simple asanas. A new consultation may be required to progress to more challenging postures.
Asanas for Beginners
Practice should take place in a calm environment. Try to remove all aggravating factors, put down the phone and turn on pleasant music. You can perform the complex as a whole or do asanas selectively, varying them among themselves in any order (except Shavasana, the final exercise of any practice). Perform each asana slowly, remembering to breathe as you move. Take a short pause after each workout that seems complicated, especially if you become short of breath, and start again when breathing returns to normal. It would help if you held each posture for a few slow breaths.
1. Pose of the Child, “Balasana.”
Child Pose is meant to be a place to rest and refocus before moving on to the next asana. It gently stretches the lower back, hips, hips, knees, and ankles and relaxes the spine, shoulders, and neck. “Balasana” is suitable for testing the cervical spine and hips gently. Kneeling, shift your body weight onto your heels, leaning forward with your torso. Hands can be extended forward or left along the body. Focus on relaxing your back muscles as you breathe.
Skip the asana if you have knee injuries, ankle problems, or high blood pressure. The pose is contraindicated for pregnant women.
2. Downward Facing Dog, “Adho Mukha Svanasana.”
Asana stretches the muscles of the back well, helps to strengthen the strength of the limbs, and relaxes the spine. They are starting position – on all fours. Raise the pelvis while the palms can move slightly forward on the mat. Straighten your legs and place them shoulder-width apart. The back should be straight, do not pull the shoulders to the ears. The body at the endpoint resembles the letter L. The knees may be slightly bent if there is not enough stretch.
3. Pose of the Mountain, “Tadasana.”
From the side, the asana looks quite simple, but this is only at first glance. In addition to stressing the muscles, the pose develops coordination and balance and helps stretch the arms, legs, and back. In a standing position (hands folded with palms in front of the chest or extended along the body), stretch the top of your head up. Almost all the body muscles are included in the work, including the glutes and abs, which improve stabilization.
4. Pose of a Warrior, “Virabhadrasana I”
Standing on the floor, turn towards the right leg. The foot of the hind leg is turned forward by 60–70°, and the distance between the feet is about a meter. Bend your front leg at a 90° angle (while keeping your knee and heel inline) and transfer your body weight onto it. Raise your straight arms towards the ceiling. For problems with the cervical spine, do not look up from this position, only straight ahead.
5. Triangle Pose, Trikonasana
The asana helps strengthen the legs and stretch the muscles of the hips, spine, chest, shoulders, and hamstrings, as well as increase mobility in the hips and cervical spine. The pose is excellent for developing strength and endurance—the beginning of the exercise, as in the posture of a warrior.
The distance between the legs – just over 0.5 m – depends on the person’s height and the school of yoga. Lean-to, to the side, stretches with a straight arm to the foot. Point the palm of your other hand up.
Turn your neck to look up at the ceiling. Try to stretch both sides simultaneously, and the neck is parallel to the floor; the gaze is directed through the thumb of the hand on top. Move the ilium up and back. The patella in front of the standing leg is pulled up.
Important: If you have high blood pressure, turn your head and look down in the final pose.
6. Chair Pose, Utkatasana
Asana for developing the strength of the muscles of the legs and arms. In a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, raise straight arms with palms facing each other.
Start bending your knees as if you were sitting on an invisible chair. Take your pelvis back, and tilt your body forward a little. The back is level and forms a straight line with outstretched arms. Important: the knees do not go beyond the projection of the feet (toes).