Are you trying to mix up your fitness regimen, building on activities that might include brisk daily walks and a few days a week in the gym for some strength conditioning?
Yoga is a dynamic and pleasant way to shake up your regular workout routine to achieve and maintain better balance, flexibility and strength. Even better, you can do yoga at any age.
Start Your Yoga Program with 3 Simple Exercises
Whether you are planning to take a close in your condo complex, at the local gym or on your own, the options are endless.
If you’ve had any recent illnesses or injuries, check with your physician to make sure you are in peak yoga condition. You wouldn’t want to slow down recovery. Otherwise, you can do it all, with or without modifications. Just remember to listen to your body signals regarding pain, over-extension and strain, as well as what feels fantastic.
You can either perform a short routine of 15-20 minutes four or five days per week, or you can do two or three one-hour sessions per week. Just get out your yoga mat or find a comfortable, non-slippery spot with plenty of space.
If you have never attended a yoga class, followed along with a video or read up on this treasured exercise discipline, you may be wondering where in a dog’s pose to begin.
Here are three poses to help your body become better acquainted with the wonders of yoga.
Mountain Pose: Tadasana in Sanskrit
This foundational pose helps you get grounded in your yoga practice is really simple. The brief video below walks you through the simple steps that include standing tall with the top of the head lifting up, feet pressing down toward the ground, and the spine long and extended. Once in position, take a big deep breath in before exhaling.
How to Do Mountain Pose from The Cleveland Clinic (embed on blog…can’t do in Google Docs)
Tree Pose: Vrksasana in Sanskrit
Have you ever stood on one leg before? Get ready because that is precisely what Tree Pose asks of you.
Start by placing your right foot firmly on your mat or the floor. Then raise slightly onto the tip of the toes of your left foot to see if you’ve found your balance on your right foot. Next, bring your left knee straight up to as close to mid-torso or chest level as possible before turning it out to the open position, as if swinging a gate out to the side. Let your left foot rest either at the side of your right shin, or as close to below or above the knee joint as possible. Think of how those two forces, wherever you have placed your left foot, opposing each other for gentle force that allows you to squeeze in toward your midline, which helps you to stabilize yourself in what initially may feel like a precarious position. Here, you can bring your hands in, clasped together, to further help you stabilize your midline.
Downward Facing Dog: Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit
Even with little exposure to yoga, many people are vaguely familiar with the oddly named Downward Facing Dog. Not only known for its canine-inspired name, this pose is also known for its myriad benefits that include the following:
- Builds bone density
- Eliminates stiffness and lower back pain
- Boosts circulation
- Develops muscular strength and stamina
- Is easily modified
To perform this pose, lower yourself onto your yoga mat or the floor and onto your hands and knees. Position your knees so that they are directly below your hips as you raise your backside into the air while also placing your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Once your hands are in place, spread your palms, keeping your index fingers parallel to the sides of the mat, or slightly turned out. Tuck your toes under.
Next, exhale and lift your knees away from the floor, lengthening your tailbone away from your pelvis while pressing it lightly toward the pubis. Here, using the resistance, further lift your sitting bones in the direction of the ceiling. Push your heels into into the floor to stretch your calves. Stay in this pose for as long as is comfortable, up to about five minutes before going into child’s pose.
It Is Never Too Late to Start Your Yoga Adventures
These poses are a great place to start your journey with yoga, no matter where you are in life or your yoga practice, so give each one a try before exploring further. Don’t be afraid to join a class to get expert instruction and modification tips from your teacher.