Yoga is amazing. For your mind, body, and soul, but so much for the body! All ages and sizes can do yoga. It is easy to flow into the different positions, and you can do it as fast or slow as you want, whenever you want to. It is an excellent form of exercise if you are not into running or moving further than your living room.
If you want to give yoga a go to see if it’s for you, here are some basic positions that will get your core, arm, thigh and buttock muscles into action:
Some tips before you start:
Try and source a yoga mat. As you are only testing to see if it is for you, do not heavily invest yet. Borrow one even.
If you are going to go all commando and skip the mat, do it on the carpet, or at least take off your socks on a parquet floor!
Have a large water close to you.
If you will follow these poses from a device, ensure that you can easily see it without having to strain your neck.
If you have long hair, tie it up.
If you have breasts, keep them in a bra! (this is from my own experience...)
Always stretch on an exhale to avoid cramping.
1. Starting Stretch - Mountain Pose
So this is a great stretch to start your practice, even your day if you don’t wish to go further with other yoga poses. Doing this will aid your breathing into a nice, gentle rhythm, loosening your body and limbs, and generally clearing your mind.
Stand straight, feet slightly apart, arms down at your sides, and tuck in your tummy.
Close your eyes and breath deeply in, then out.
Repeat until your mind and body are entirely at ease, always breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
When ready, bring your hands together in front of you in prayer pose. Press your palms together to find your balance.
On an inhale, release your arms and bring them up slowly over your head, in a balloon-like form.
When your arms are over your head stretch them (mountain pose)
Put your hands together in prayer form over your head, and
On an exhale bring them down over your head back in front of your chest.
Repeat this several times concentrating on your arm muscles, your overall stance, and your core.
2. Stretch and Bend - Mountain Pose to Uttansana
This incorporates the first stretch but includes bending and floor touching. This is great to get your legs, thighs, and buttocks into action. If you cannot touch your toes then do not worry. The objective is not to see if you can touch your toes without bending your knees, more so it is the practice of stretching and bending, which will work your core. Who knows, maybe someday then you will be able to touch your toes!
When your hands are in the air, instead of bringing them together in prayer, exhale and, keeping them straight, bend your upper body, bring your fingers toward your toes forming uttansana.
Slightly bend your knees and bring your hands together prayer style on an inhale
Straighten your back and on an inhale bring your arms up over your head.
Keep the slight bend at the knees
On an exhale bring bend your upper body the floor again
Straighten your knees and continue to stand in full mountain pose.
Repeat several times.
3. Downward Facing Dog
This is probably the most well-known pose. This is when your body is in an inverse V. You start off while lying face down so its a good idea to have the mat for this. Do not try to rush this. Take your time and don’t push your body into doing anything it is not ready for.
Lie face down on your mat with your arms along your side. To prepare for the lift, place your palms by your waist and tuck your toes under.
Use your arms to lift your upper body while resting on your knees. Your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders, and your knees directly below your hips. Take a few breaths to find your balance in this pose.
On an exhale, lift your knees, pushing forward with your arms and rest on your toes.
Straighten your back, your legs, your neck into an inverse 'V'.
The aim is to have your feet flat on the ground. Take your time and breath ‘cause we don’t want any pulled muscles!
Slowly release back to face-down position and repeat.
4. Childs Pose
This is nice for your back and for when you are on the floor. When doing the downward facing dog, instead of lying back down straight:
Bend your knees bringing your buttocks to your heels
Straighten your back with your hands out in front and forehead on the mat.
You can further this pose by placing your arms alongside you, going back.
Once again while you are in face-down position:
Lift with your arms, keeping your legs and feet flat facing down
Stretch your neck and head straight above your arms
You will notice that your torso is lifted off the ground. Keep this position for a few moments and slowly release back to the ground.
6. Sun Salutation
Now that we have some basics, let's try this sequence. This is ideal for beginners and is the basis of most yoga sessions:
Start with Mountain Pose
Bring your fingertips to the floor keeping your back straight Uttansana
On an exhale, step your feet back, keeping a straight back
Bring yourself to lie face down, keeping your hands flat on the mat
Turn into the Cobra
Position yourself into Downward Facing Dog
Step back into Uttansana
On an inhale, bring your arms back up to Mountain Pose
Namaste. This is what I have learned from my years of yoga. I am not a yoga teacher, but find that it is beneficial with joint stiffness, weight loss, and back pain. If you care to proceed with yoga, but still on a home base, I can recommend that you follow Yoga with Adriene who has a YouTube channel with yoga for every level and need. She is great. She speaks clearly and simply and is really with you on your journey, whatever that may be.