YOGA FOR BEGINNERS // benefits & basics 🧘♀️
One of the best parts about yoga as a form of movement is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. At home, in a hotel room, in the park, during your lunch break at work or in a yoga class! It's the perfect way to start your day or wind down at night. Not only is yoga a form of relaxation for your mind, it also offers a range of physical health benefits that are sure to enhance your life and sporting performance if you're an athlete. Read on to find out the amazing benefits of yoga and how to get started!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PRACTISING YOGA
IMPROVES YOUR SLEEP
The quality of our sleep greatly impacts the quality of our lives but studies show that most of us aren't getting enough good quality snooze time! Yoga helps you to wind down after a busy day and enter a state of relaxation to prep your body for a good quality sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and energised for the day ahead.
Practising yoga gives you the ability to totally concentrate on yourself for and take a step away from your day to day life for a moment. Yoga is a powerful way to help clear your mind during a stressful time in your life as it gives you a place to take a deep breath, be present and reconnect with yourself.
IMPROVES STRENGTH & FLEXIBILITY
Yoga is a low impact form of movement that enables you to improve your range of motion, strength and flexibility without putting too much strain on your body. This makes it the ideal activity for injury prevention, building strength for your sport and improving your posture, which can be especially useful if you spend many hours of the day seated at a desk.
YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS
It's super easy to get started with just a few simple exercises! If you aren't able to attend a yoga class or don't feel ready to practice yoga around other pro yogis just yet, you can start practising in the comfort of your own home. Set up a quiet space to try out the following yoga poses - you'll surprise yourself at how good your body starts to feel after just a few sessions. You can adapt these poses to suit your body and experience level, but make sure to always focus on your breathing and do what feels good for you without trying to push your limits.
Start with one of the most basic yoga poses to get your whole body ready for more complex movements. Downward Dog stretches the lower body whilst strengthening the upper body, stimulates blood flow and improves posture. Follow these simple steps to get into the pose:
1. Get down on all fours, hands shoulder width apart, shoulders above your hands and hips above your knees.
2. Lift your knees and slowly tuck your toes against the ground and extend your legs to make ain inverted 'V' shape.
3. Press through your arms and feet to extend through your spine and feel your pelvis lift towards the sky.
4. Hold your body in this position for 1-2 minutes focusing on your breathing, then slowly release by bringing your knees back to the ground.
This pose is great for spine and hip mobility in addition to strengthening the legs. Give it a go and feel the benefits for yourself! Follow these easy steps to get into the Lunge pose:
1. Start in the Downward Dog pose
2. Reach your right leg to the sky and bring it back down through to your hands, placing your right foot on the ground in between your hands.
3. Inhale, raise your torso and extend through your back leg using your hands: keep both legs and your core activated so you are well balanced.
4. For a spinal twist: lean your torso forward and place your left elbow outside your right thigh, keeping your spine long.
Warrior is incredible for strengthening your quads and glute muscles. To start the pose, follow these steps:
1. Stand sideways on your mat and place your feet wide apart with your heels aligned.
2. Point your right foot toward the top of the mat.
3. Raise your arms to shoulder height, keeping them parallel to the floor and aligned over your legs, palms facing up.
4. Exhale and bend your front knee, keeping it aligned over the ankle of your foot with your torso straight.
5. Turn your head to look over your right hand. Hold this pose for one minute then repeat this on the other side.
This one looks simple but it'll make you work harder than you expect! Great for improving core and oblique stability and strength, this pose works wonders for your bod. Here's how to get into the pose:
1. Lay on your side with your forearm directly under your shoulder, to prop your head and shoulders up, feet stacked on top of each other.
2. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line.
3. Lift your top arm straight towards the sky and ensure your core and bottom leg are active.
4. Hold this pose for 30 secs - 1 minute depending on your experience level and repeat on the other side. If you can't hold it for long to start off with that's okay - just keep practising and building!
If you're looking to take your yoga practice to the next level or would like to have the guidance of an instructor without attending a class, check out YouTube for loads of free yoga tutorials!