If you’re just beginning with yoga, start off with poses that help you develop the core foundations of yoga postures so you feel comfortable in your early start, and also it helps you to get stronger and more flexible faster. But if you’re not sure exactly how to introduce yoga into your day to day life, here are 9 easy yoga asanas that can help you get started:
1. Downward – Facing Dog Pose(Adho Mukha Svanasana)
What to Know: One of the most recognizable poses of the bunch, downdog is a great way to stretch your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and well, just about everything. And it gets you calm and centered, too. It can be very calming and is a great position to come back to for a focus on your inhale and exhale, which you should try to make as smooth and steady as you can.
How to Do It:
1. Come onto hands and knees with palms just past your shoulder, fingers pointing forwards. Knees should be under your hips and toes tucked.
2. Spread the fingers wide apart with the middle finger facing forward, and the palms shoulder width apart. Press the out through the fingers and edges of the hands.
3. Using straight (but not locked) arms, press the hips up and back reaching the chest towards the thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long.
4. Have the feet are hip’s width apart with the toes facing forward. Press the heels into the floor feeling a stretch in the back of the legs. The legs are straight, or you can have a small bend at the knees to keep the back flat.
5. Keep your knees bent at first as you find length in your spine.
6. Slide your shoulder blades down along the spine, collar bones spread. The base of the neck relaxed.
7. Maintaining length in the spine, ‘walk your dog’ by alternately bending and straightening your legs. Eventually bringing both heels towards the floor. They do not have to touch the floor.
8. Let the head and neck hang freely from the shoulders or look up at the belly button.
9. Breathe and hold for 10-12 breaths.
2. Warrior II Pose(Virabhadrasana II)
What to Know: Strengthen the legs and arms, opens the chest and shoulders, tones the abdomen. Opens your chest and lungs, energizes tired limbs, helps relieve backaches, develops balance and stability improves circulation and respiration.
How to Do It:
- Begin in mountain pose. Exhale and step your left foot back about four feet, making sure the heels are in line.
- Point your right toes straight forward, and your left foot about parallel to the back of your mat. Draw an imaginary line from your right toes, to right heel, to the left arch.
- Bend your right knee so it stacks right over your right ankle. Press equally into your feet.
- Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, with your right arm in front of you, and left arm behind.
- Keep your torso upright, shoulders stacked on your hips.
- Keep your gaze straight ahead. Keep your breath even as you hold for up to 60 seconds. Inhale to straighten your front leg and release the posture. Repeat on the other side.
3. Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)
What to Know: Lengthens the hamstrings and calves while strengthening the quadriceps. , opens the hips, helps relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.
How to Do It:
- Begin standing in Mountain pose (Tadasana), with the feet parallel and separated hip distance apart.
- Inhale, raise your arms straight up, head up toward the ceiling and find length along the spine.
- Exhale, hinge at your hips and fold forward over the legs and reach for the floor.
- Bend your knees slightly, fold your torso over your legs, and lengthen your spine the whole way down.
- Either let the arms softly hang or take hold of opposite elbows to deepen the sensation.
- If it feels comfortable, you can also bring the fingertips to the ground, or press the palms against the calves to move even deeper.
- Look toward your legs.
- Shift your weight slightly forward on your feet so your hips aligned over your heels.
- Hold the pose for up to one minute. To come out of the pose, take a slight bend in the knees and place the hands on the hips. With the core engaged, inhale to find a flat back and exhale all the way up to stand.
4. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
What to know: Increase the flexibility of the spine. It stretches the chest while strengthening the spine and shoulders. It also firms and tones the shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks, and helps to ease the pain of the sciatica.
How to Do It: Start with lying on your belly.
- With face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, about hip-width apart. Spread your toes wide and press the tops of your feet into your mat, as this can crunch your spine.
- Come onto your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders and parallel to each other.Hug your elbows in to the sides of your body.
- Press down through the tops of your feet and your pubic bone. Spread your toes.
- Inhale as you gently lift your head, lengthening your lower back and chest off the floor. Keep your lower ribs on the floor.
- Keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears, but do not crunch your neck.
5. Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)
What to know : Seated forward fold provides a deep stretch for the entire back side of the body from the heels to the neck. Paschimottanasana stretches the spine, shoulders, pelvis, and hamstrings. Improved digestion, appetite and helps in maintaining a state of calm.
How to Do It:
- Begin in a seated position with legs stretched out straight in front of you and spine tall and straight.
- Inhale as you reach straight up overhead to lengthen your spine.
- As you exhale, reach your middle and index fingers to grab your big toes and begin to bring your body over the top of your legs. Lower until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and low back and hold.
- Breathe fully as you continue to lengthen your spine. Hold for 30 seconds
6. Cat and cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
What to know : It helps in warming up your spine and relieves back and neck tension after a long day.The benefits with synchronized breath movement will also help you relax and ease some of the day’s stress.
How to do :
- Begin on your hands and knees in a table pose. Make sure your knees are under your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders.
- Take a big deep inhale and begin with a neutral spine.
- On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax while keeping an engagement in the abdominals so you don’t dump into the low back. Lift your head and tailbone up towards the sky — without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck.
- Shift your gaze up to match the curve of your spine. This is the Cow portion of the pose.
- On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up towards your spine, really engaging your abs.
- let the head drop without forcing the chin into the chest, completing the arch in the spine. This is your cat-like shape.
7. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
What to know : If your hips are tight, the low lunge is an excellent yoga pose to stretch them. As you press forward into the lunge, you’ll stretch your hips, hamstrings, groin and your quadriceps. Additionally, this pose is good for opening up the front of your body as you arch your back. Practicing this slight backbend helps with your balance, and it stretches the thighs, abdominals, lower back and glutes
How to do :
- Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog).
- On an exhale, step the right foot forward between the palms,keep your front knee pointing straight forward and in line above your ankle. Square your hips so both hip bones are pointing forward. Engage your core.
- Lower the back knee on to the mat, and untuck your toes so the top of your back foot is on the floor.
- Inhale and slowly rise, sweeping your hands overhead to frame the ears. Turn the palms to face one another. Keep your shoulders pressed down.
- Hold this pose for up to a minute. Use your inhales to lengthen the spine and exhales to deepen the stretch.
- To release the posture, inhale and lengthen your torso. Exhale, release the hands to the floor and step back to Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat on the opposite side.
8. Seated side bend Pose (Parsva Upavistha Konasana)
What to know: This dynamic seated side-bending sequence is a great way to warm up the sides of the body, stretching from the hips up to the hands, opening the hips and torso. Helps in reducing the waistline.
How to do :
- Sit comfortably in a simple cross-legged position with arms relaxed on either side of you.
- Now place your right elbow on the floor, near your right hip.
- Raise your left arm out to the side and up above your head beside your left ear. As you inhale, bend to your right side, lean your torso to the right. Don’t let your buttocks come off the floor as you bend.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, switch sides and repeat.
9. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
What to know : Increases circulation in your lower spine, abdomen, and pelvic region; improves balance; teaches you to rotate your spine while maintaining stability in your torso and legs.
How to do : Starting Position: Stand upright keeping the spine erect, head straight, feet together , hands to the side of the body. Relax and take deep breaths.
- Move the legs 3-4 feet distance apart. Raise both the arms straight out to the sides, in line with the shoulders and parallel to the floor with the palms facing downwards.
- Move the right foot facing outward. Turn the left foot slightly to the inward direction. The knees must remain straight throughout the practice.
- Slowly begin to bend the torso towards the right side. Make sure the body doesn’t go in the forward direction.
- Once the torso is completely bent the hand must be close to the right ankle
- Stretch the left arm vertically. Move the head in the upward direction and look straight.
- Hold the position for 3 minutes.
- To return, lift the arms first and then slowly move the torso back in the upright position. Relax the body.
Practice this asana 1-3 times on both the side
Do what you easily can. There is no competition. Move at your own pace, listen to your body and do not push yourself. Many benefits of the yoga practice will unfold progressively. Understand that every body is unique. Everyone has different levels of strength, stamina, and flexibility. Be regular in your practice and don’t give up.