Nowadays, with everything readily available to us, instant gratification seems to be the norm. However, with some things in life, slow and steady wins the race. When it comes to yoga, we would all love to be able to hop right into a headstand or effortlessly balance on one hand, but it takes great practice, dedication and knowledge to get to that level. Since patience may not be our number one virtue, we turned to our good friend, yogi Aly R, to lead us through the foundations and fundamentals of some of the most important yoga poses for beginners looking to safely hone their skills.
Aly is a self-taught Yogi and a resident of Singapore. She embarked on her fitness journey after years of unhealthy living. Through her yoga practice Aly was able to make a lifestyle change that resulted in a healthier, happier self. Aly inspires others to live an active, healthy lifestyle by sharing her story and her daily progress on her blog and Instagram.
5 Poses for Beginner Yogis to Master
These days lots of people get into yoga because of the “fancy” poses we see on social media. Other people love their practice and find it complements other aspects of their lives. Some just do it for fun. But every single person who does yoga, whether with those “fancy asanas” or have a simple practice, they all started out somewhere very different from where they are now. They were a beginner just like you and had to learn some of the basics with proper form.
You can’t run without learning how to walk, and that’s how we need to look at yoga too.
Regardless of your reason for practicing, what we all need is to have a solid foundation. You can’t get fancy or try more advanced asanas if your form is off. You risk sprains, injuries, getting aches or pains or feeling sore from over exerting the wrong part of your body. We don’t want that at all, that’s why it’s always best to get help and learn all the tips you can.
What are the 5 beginner asanas I’ll be going through with you? Plank, Standing Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Upward Facing dog and Warrior 2
The plank is used in almost every form of exercise and of course, yoga too. It may seem easy but we want our planks to feel light and graceful , not like you’re struggling to keep your body weight up. When you’re doing a plank, think of literally becoming a plank, you need to be stable, not saggy and loose.
- If your arms or core isn’t strong enough to support you full bodyweight, take it to your knees until you’re ready but keep the rest of your body in proper form.
- Think of pressing your shoulders away from the ground. We don’t want your chest to fall
Standing Forward Fold:
One of the basics in your sun salutations. The point of a forward fold isn’t to get as low as possible every single time. People often rush into it and think as long as they can tough their toes or bring their chest to their thighs, it’s okay even if their form isn’t right.We want to avoid all that. Take it slow, breathe deeply and let your body as what it needs to. Common mistakes people take are rounding their backs to force themselves to touch their toes, bending at the waist instead of the hip and keeping all their weight in their heels.
- You want to get your weight into the balls of your feet and then press your heels back to keep them grounded.
- If you feel like your back is rounding to get you to go deeper in the fold, allow yourself to bend your knees slightly. This will allow you to keep your back straight.
Oh the classic Downward Dog, it seems like the easiest thing to do but it definitely isn’t. It wasn’t until I tried it with props like ropes and blocks that it taught me what a downward facing dog is meant to feel like
- Keep arms and legs straight without hyper extending
- If you’re unable to keep legs straight, it’s okay to bend the knees a little and keep your heels off the ground
- Keep back straight, again if this feel tough you can bend at the knees to assist keeping your back straight
You can’t do a down dog without an updog, right? Many tend to mistake an upward facing dog for a cobra pose, though at times they can look similar, they are in fact SO different. The easy way: an upward facing dog keeps your legs fully off the ground and involves completely extended arms, while a cobra involves keeping your thighs and lower abs on the ground and involved bent arms.
- Be sure not to drop your neck close to your shoulders
- Do not hyperextend your arms or legs
- Keep your bum and thighs firm
- Your thighs should be turned inward slightly
Out of all the warrior poses, warrior 1 seems to be the most common. And It’s not too hard to get the hang of it. The warrior pose I always struggled with was warrior 2. And I’m sure many of you (maybe even without knowing) have the same problems with it. My arms weren’t facing the right way, I kept sticking my bum out, my hips weren’t open enough, I could really go on and on with everything I did wrong for months. But lets make sure that you guys don’t have these problems.
- Ensure your chest is facing completely out to the side and not facing forward
- If you can’t bring your back heel to touch the ground, that’s okay, it takes a bit of flexibility so you can add a smaller block to placeyour back heel on
- Do not bring your front knee over your toes