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Yoga Poses for Beginners: Yoga 101

Yoga is one of my favorite ways to unwind. It’s great for your body and is just incredibly relaxing; when done right. If you’re a beginner or simply getting back in the game after some time, these poses, thanks to fitness magazine, are essential to warming you up for optimal flexibility.

Mountain Pose 

Take me back to Montana 🌲🙏🏼 #glaciernationalpark #montana #mountainpose 📸: @hkcameraface

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  • Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.
  • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

Tree Pose 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BPdrlONgbh6/?tagged=treepose

  • Stand with arms at sides.
  • Shift weight onto left leg and place sole of right foot inside left thigh, keeping hips facing forward.
  • Once balanced, bring hands in front of you in prayer position, palms together.
  • On an inhalation, extend arms over shoulders, palms separated and facing each another. Stay for 30 seconds.
  • Lower and repeat on opposite side.
  • Make it easier: Bring your right foot to the inside of your left ankle, keeping your toes on the floor for balance. As you get stronger and develop better balance, move your foot to the inside of your left calf.

Downward Dog

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips.
  • Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.
  • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold for 3 full breaths.

Triangle Pose

  • Extend arms out to sides, then bend over your right leg.
  • Stand with feet about 3 feet apart, toes on your right foot turned out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees.
  • Allow your right hand to touch the floor or rest on your right leg below or above the knee, and extend the fingertips of your left hand toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your gaze toward the ceiling, and hold for 5 breaths.
  • Stand and repeat on opposite side.

Cobra

I have seen many people doing Cobra Pose incorrectly, and potentially hurts the back. In the wrong picture the neck angle is too extreme. So it builds tension in the shoulders. The upper back is not involved at all. If elbows are locked it can also strain the joints. There is no abdominal contraction and this is risky for the back. The main mistake made in cobra pose has to do with the shoulders, spine and arms. The thoracic spine( the upper-middle back where the ribs are attached) is the least mobile part of the spine, so compressing deeply into the lumbar spine( the lower back between the rib cage and the pelvis) means you are not engaging the core and thighs properly. In addition, it doesn't give the thoracic spine an opportunity to fully extend forward. So too much pressure on the lower back. Do it correctly strengthens the back. Neck must be fairly neutral. Shoulder blades are down and back. Pelvis is grounded. Pulling rather than pushing with arms. Upper back is active and lower back curve is not exaggerated. . DO: ▪️look straight ahead and relax your shoulders as you hold the pose.▪️Ground the hips. ▪️Separate the feet and point the heels to the sky. ▪️Release the buttocks by rolling the inner thighs. Keep your gaze forward . ▪️Start with hands under shoulders and fingers spread, engaging triceps. ▪️Neck long and free. ▪️Breast bone extends forward and lift towards chin. ▪️Chest opens and sternum reaches up. Navel pulls into spine . ▪️Front ribs drawn in and lengthen up. ▪️Elbows bent close to the body reaching straight back. ▪️Shoulder blades drawn down the back. ▪️Tops of shoulders relax away from ears. ▪️Low back feels long, not crunched. ▪️Tops of feet press down . ▪️Internally rotating thighs by pressing down more into pinky side of foot. . DO NOT: ▪️Look up and pinch the back of your neck muscles. ▪️Hunch your shoulders: neck should not sink in. ▪️Lock the elbows. ▪️Squeeze the buttocks as you can compress your lower back. Just roll your inner thighs toward the sky. ▪️crowding the feet : keep the feet hip distance wide to lessen pressure on the lower back.

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  • Lie facedown on the floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor.
  • Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck hips downward as you squeeze your glutes.
  • Press shoulders down and away from ears.
  • Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest toward the wall in front of you.
  • Relax and repeat.

Seated Twist

Stretches shoulders, hips, and back; increases circulation; tones abdomen; strengthens obliques

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Cross right foot over outside of left thigh; bend left knee. Keep right knee pointed toward ceiling.
  • Place left elbow to the outside of right knee and right hand on the floor behind you.
  • Twist right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen; keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Stay for 1 minute.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Make it easier: Keep bottom leg straight and place both hands on raised knee. If your lower back rounds forward, sit on a folded blanket.

Warrior

  • Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in slightly.
  • Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend arms out to the sides, palms down.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle; gaze out over right hand. Stay for 1 minute.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Bridge Pose

Stretches chest and thighs; extends spine

  • Lie on floor with knees bent and directly over heels.
  • Place arms at sides, palms down. Exhale, then press feet into floor as you lift hips.
  • Clasp hands under lower back and press arms down, lifting hips until thighs are parallel to floor, bringing chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
  • Make it easier: Place a stack of pillows underneath your tailbone.

Child’s Pose (my favorite)

  • Sit up comfortably on your heels.
  • Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you.
  • Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Hold the pose and breathe.

Always remember to breathe and adjust to your needs accordingly. Yoga is meant to be relaxing and fun. Never stressful and uncomfortable. Practice these enough and you’ll be ready for more in no time. Maybe even be like our favorite yogi, Laura Kasperzak.

Or be like this little guy:

Either one is perfectly fine.

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