Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Yoga Poses For Beginners: 5 Steps for New Yogis

5 Steps for New Yogis

1. Easy Cross Leg (Sukhasana) For Stress Relief
Sit cross-legged on a Yoga for Beginner mat with your hand on your knees, palms up. Keep your spine as straight as you can. Push the bones you're sitting on down into the floor -- your "sit bones" in yoga-speak. Close your eyes and inhale. "This is a great pose for beginners to use as an assessment," says Gwen Lawrence, yoga coach for the New York Giants and other sports teams and celebrities. "Just sitting on the floor gives you a perfect way to see and feel the external rotation on the legs." This pose also boosts back flexibility and can help relieve stress.

2. Cat-Cow Pose For Back Pain
Get on your mat on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Distribute your weight equally between your hands and spread your fingers wide. Inhale and round your back, arching it up as you lower your chin to your chest; feel the stretch from your neck to your tailbone, like a cat. As you exhale, lower your back down all the way to a scoop shape as you lift your head, and tilt it back. "Repeat a few times to loosen your spine and open your chest," says Susie Lopez, New York yoga and wellness educator.
3. Tree Pose For Balance
Start by standing straight for this pose. Bring your hands together in the prayer position and lift them over your head. Balance on your right leg. Bend your left knee out to the left side and press your left foot to the inner thigh of your right leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. "This pose helps to stretch the body long, from the heels to the tips of your fingers," says fitness trainer and wellness coach Shea Vaughn, author of Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great, and Find Total Well-Being (and mom of actor Vince Vaughn). It will also help you gain improved balance and flexibility.
4. Downward-Facing Dog For Flexibility
In the downward-facing dog, your body forms an inverted V-shape. Start by placing both hands on the mat in front of you, palms down. Your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders. Place your knees on the ground directly under your hips. Exhale as you lift your knees off the ground and lift your buttocks and hips toward the ceiling. Push the top of your thighs back and stretch your heels down toward the floor. Keep your head down between your upper arms and in line with them, not hanging down. Look at your belly. "The important thing is to create a long straight spine," Lopez says. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and try to deepen your stretch with each exhalation.
5. Child's Pose For Relaxation
This is among the most healing of all yoga poses, Lopez says, reminiscent of the fetal position. Anytime you feel overwhelmed or tired, relax into child's pose, she says. From downward-facing dog, simply bend your knees and lower your butt to your heels as you bring your chest toward the floor over your knees. Lower your shoulders and head to the floor. Place your arms along your sides, palms up or you can support your head by folding your arms under your forehead. Breathe and relax for as long as you need to. This pose is also good for stretching out your back, says Jane Foody, New York area yoga instructor, yoga teacher trainer, and author of Guided Relaxation and Savasana Scripts for Yoga Teachers.

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