Yoga is a great physical activity for anyone looking for a fitness routine that's new, interesting, and challenging all at the same time. And although the physical and fitness benefits of yoga are obvious, what really makes the practice special is how it also touches on the mental, emotional, and even spiritual aspect of any practitioner.
If you're new to yoga, here are some great beginners yoga poses you can practice right now.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
A staple in practically all styles of yoga, downward-facing dog straightens the spine, strengthens the core, and improves flexibility in the quads, calves, and heels, altogether resulting in better full-body circulation.
To start, get down on the floor on all fours, hands and knees apart the same width as your shoulders and hips. 'Walk' with your hands moving forward, spreading out your fingers to increase stability. Brace your feet against the mat, toes curled under, and slowly lift your hips and rear up, straightening your spine and legs, forming an inverted V.
A perfect downward-facing dog pose has you forming a straight line with your spine and legs, heels pressed firmly down the floor. The last part will take time, as it needs flexibility.
Easily one of yoga's most picturesque poses, Warrior exudes a strong, tough aura, which is fitting, since it stretches yours legs and ankles, and strengthens your shoulders and outstretched arms.
Begin by standing with your legs apart by at least 3 to 4 feet, arms raised shoulder level, maintaining a straight line from one hand to the other, with palms facing down. Take your right foot and pivot it by 90 degrees so that it now faces the forward side of your mat. Your left should also pivot by no more than 15 to 20 degrees. Check to see if both feet are in line with one another.
Proceed to lunge with your right knee, ensuring that it doesn't go beyond your right foot-form a straight line from the ground up. With your arms still parallel to the ground, turn your head and face right.
Mountain is a resting and transitioning pose, one that focuses on improve your posture, clearing your mind, finding your center, and feeling your breathing. It looks simple, but there's more to this simple pose than meets the eye.
To start, stand on your mat with feet apart, the same width as your hips, arms down and relaxed at your sides. Be sure to distribute your weight evenly between both legs and feet-don't favor one side of your body.
As you tuck in your shoulder blades, feel your breath flowing in and out of your body. Focus on the breath, and take the time to prepare your body for the next sequence of poses.
From mountain pose, shift your weight to the leg of your choice, and press down firmly. With your hips facing forward, place the sole of your free foot on the inside of your thigh, taking the time to find your balance. Once done, bring your hands together into a prayer pose, or better yet, raise your arms with hands together to the ceiling.
Don't forget to breathe!