Some basic yoga positions for beginners can give you benefits that you might not think about. You might think you don’t need the basics once you feel you are at an intermediate level, or you might think the basics won’t help you because you are not flexible enough to “do yoga.” All levels of practitioners can benefit from basic yoga positions.
If you are new to yoga or interested in starting a yoga practice, the basics are your starting point. You can always modify a more difficult pose by practicing a basic pose. You can even modify a basic pose. The object is to find the benefit that each pose has for you – inside your own body.
If you are an intermediate yogi, practicing the basics can re-root you to your poses. Sometimes we move through the poses like we’ve been there before and it is easy. Try re-connecting with the basic poses. Be mindful of the four corners of your feet pressing into the ground – making your feet the root of your pose. Stand a little straighter and be aware of how small changes affect how you feel in the pose.
Basic poses can seem like they have no benefit at all, such as mountain pose. It looks like you are simply standing. By actively pushing your feet into the ground and consciously lifting your spine, you are straightening your posture, and strengthening your ankles. By opening your shoulders you are relieving stress in your shoulders and neck and opening your chest to promote full utilization of the lungs. When focusing on your breath you are increasing your cardio respiratory function and endurance. Add in tightening your quadriceps in an upward motion and tucking the tailbone under slightly and you add the benefits of strengthening the upper leg muscles and abdominals. This is all accomplished by simply standing up straight and breathing with awareness.
Other basic yoga poses can have just as many benefits, some physical, some stress relieving, some just feel good. Basic positions for beginners include child pose, forward bend, warrior 1, 2 and 3, triangle pose, cat/cow pose, downward dog, spinal twist and cobra.
You usually want to practice an inversion such as a forward bend which gives your brain a fresh dose of oxygenated blood. A side stretch, a twist, and a back bend will keep your spine lubricated and supple. By moving the spine in different directions with awareness you are improving flexibility and decreasing risk of injury. Back bends stretch the front side of your body, forward bends stretch the back. Twists give your organs a gentle massage.
Overall moving through the poses and breathing with awareness while tuning in to how your body feels builds your mind-body connection. This connection can help you with many things from stress relief to pain relief.
Basic yoga positions can be practiced as often as you like; daily is best to keep the benefits coming. You can practice for 15 minutes or up to an hour (or even more). Fifteen minutes of yoga training daily can provide you with a feeling of general well-being. You will be relieving stress while promoting healthy breathing and gentle flexibility.
Practice some basic yoga positions. Pay attention to your body, your breath … yourself.
By Kathi Duquette
Certified Yoga Instructor
Certified Personal Trainer