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A Beginner's Guide to Yoga Poses: Simple Steps to a Healthier You

Yoga for Beginners: Simple Steps to a Healthier You

So you're interested in practicing yoga, but don't know where to start? I was there myself not long ago, searching for instructions online to build the confidence to step into a studio.  Good news is Yoga is a great way to improve your physical and mental health, and it's never too late to begin. In this beginner's guide, I'll hook you up with some very short (at a glance) descriptions of different yoga poses for beginners for specific goals.  Keep in mind, you absolutely should watch the short video that goes with the pose.  Describing the poses is at best like describing a meal.  It gives you an idea but I'd be lying to say you know what you're doing just off the text. 

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Before we dive into specific yoga poses, let's take a moment to talk about the benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga has been proven to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, which are all important aspects of physical health. Additionally, yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and even boost your immune system. I especially love that it can meet anyone exactly where they are physically and help them do what they love longer. With so many benefits, there's no reason not to give yoga a try!

Yoga Poses for Absolute Beginners

If you're new to yoga, it's important to start with beginner-friendly yoga poses. These simple yoga poses for newbies are designed to help you get comfortable with the practice and build a strong foundation. Here are a few beginner yoga poses to get you started:

  • Mountain Pose: Stand tall with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Take deep breaths and focus on your posture.
  • Downward-Facing Dog: Start on your hands and knees, then lift your hips up and back into an inverted V-shape.
  • Child's Pose: Kneel on the floor and lower your chest and forehead to the ground with your arms extended in front of you

"Down dog, is pretty much the hub for most classes, you'll use this pose often to connect and transition through other poses.  You want to understand the mechanics here early on to protect your wrist and minimize instability when you flow.   Child's pose and Mountain pose - I like to call them the "Oh Shit" poses of yoga.  These are where you can come to at any time to catch your breath, center yourself and chill out.  The cool thing is it is super easy to rejoin any class from either of these poses."

Beginner Yoga Poses for Flexibility and Strength

Once you've gotten comfortable with basic yoga poses, it's time to start building strength and flexibility. These beginner yoga poses for flexibility and strength will help you improve your physical health and feel more confident in your practice:

  • Warrior I: ( I hated this pose almost more than I hate pickles) Stand with your feet wide enough apart so you can square the hips. Take a deep breath and bend your front knee so it is stacked over the ankle while keeping your back leg straight. 
  • Tree Pose: Stand on one foot with the other foot pressed against your opposite thigh or as a kick stand or by your shin, just not your knee. Extend your arms for bonus points but then pull your shoulders in.
  • Cobra Pose: Lie face down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders. Press into your hands to lift your chest and shoulders off the ground.

"Okay- so I'll be honest at this point, these poses have sooo much going on, and so many different approaches that you'd want to watch the video.  Warrior 1 can be especially tricky." 

Beginner Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

In addition to improving your physical health, yoga is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. These beginner yoga poses for stress relief will help you relax and unwind.  The key to these is breath and a bit of meditation, make sure you're somewhere you can be alone for a bit:

  • Cat-Cow Pose: Start on your hands and knees and alternate between arching your back and rounding your spine.
  • Legs Up the Wall Pose: Lie on your back with your legs extended up against the wall. Focus on your breath and relax your body. ( you don't really need the video for this but I committed to making them lol)
  • Corpse Pose: Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for several minutes. 

The major key here is focus on your breath, be intentional with inhales and exhales, and allow yourself to settle.

 Easy Yoga Poses for Beginners

If you're looking for even simpler yoga poses for beginners, these easy yoga poses are a great place to start:

  • Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up and hold for several breaths.
  • Seated Forward Fold: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Reach forward and try to touch

    your toes or shins with your hands.

These are great if you have some back pain or tight hips.  They are "easy" in theory, but if you trained legs heavy, or love cycling, you'd be surprised how humbling these poses can be.  Again, there are some awesome ways to make these poses effective, and the more effective the less they will hurt :p

A moment of truth, Let me level with you.

So, when I first started out with yoga, I made a bit of a mistake. I completely glanced over the mechanics of the so-called "beginner" poses.. Big Mistake! The devil really is in the details, and these poses require a certain level of mobility and understanding that I didn't have at the time. The good news is I suffered so you don't have to. I've created some short videos breaking down each pose that I mentioned, so you don't have to go through the same trouble as I did. And trust me, it's worth taking the time to get these poses right.

It is rare that even after years of teaching I see a student less mobile than I was when I began my journey.  I can't emphasize enough the importance of approaching yoga with a sense of flow rather than force. This means taking the time to understand the poses and how they work with your body, rather than just forcing your way into them.  So, if you're interested in getting into yoga for regular people, I'm your guy! Pop on over to my YouTube, Follow my social, or click on any of the pose images below for a quick video.  

If you are seeing this presently and not videos, it's because I haven't loaded them yet, no worries if you have instagram - @vince_ghost drop me a line and I'll help you out.  Easy peasy.

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