Top 10 Yoga Poses For Beginners

On yoga:

Yoga – to Yoke, unite …to become whole.

Body – breath – mind.

The yoga postures and ideas in this article are presented to you as a form of moving meditation. Whether in movement or stillness yoga is designed to invoke a certain quality or shift in focus.

Linking the movement to our breath taps into our internal rhythm and opens up a connection between what is happening on the outside with sensations occurring on the inside. As the breath slows and becomes steady, so too do we, in return we begin to notice a sense of greater inner balance both energetically and emotionally.

Enjoy the practice with a sense of exploration and curiosity and discover new insights about yourself as you begin to move in new and inviting ways.

There is no rush …In our lives we move quickly from one place to another, from one conversation or social media feed to the next, so, slow down a little and make space for new and positive shifts to occur.

As you move through the following postures please do so with a dose of self-care and inquiry. In any yoga practice always acknowledge your own capabilities, within a range of movement that feels beneficial for you.

Enjoy!

View Helen’s first blog  —-> here <—-

Top 10 Yoga Poses For Beginners - With Helen Roscoe

Helen Roscoe: Photographer – Artist – Teacher – Explorer – Mother

Helen began teaching yoga in 2014 and has been a professional photographer since 2007. Her background in the arts and as a full-time athlete means she has a unique take on movement and creativity.

With an MA in photography she has a keen eye on capturing life and documenting it to its fullest. From portraiture to the environment her relationship to photography inspires where she decides to explore yoga and vice versa.

1. Tadasana – Mountain Pose

“Get grounded through whatever makes contact with the ground …” Sheila Baker

How: Ground through the soles of your feet, settle physically. Press down into the feet and activate the legs. Breathe freely and enjoy a sense of expansion and length as you inhale, ground and support as you exhale.

Details: Check that you’re not tilting the pelvis forwards or collapsing through your lower back. Touch your hands lightly together at the heart space (chest) and spend a few moments connecting to your breath. Check in with how you feel physically and emotionally. Variations such as raising and lowering the arms or lifting the heels off the ground will cultivate greater focus and balance.

Function: Great for co-ordinating breath with movement, mobilising the shoulders, ankles and feet. Establishes your foundation, breath and cultivate greater bodily awareness.

2. Ardha Utkatasana – Chair Pose

How: Stand with the feet hip distance apart. Inhale to raise the arms, soften around the shoulders and elbows. Keeping the chest lifted, exhale to lower your bottom down as if coming to a seat and bring your arms by your sides.

Details: Take your arms out at shoulder level for a more accessible variation for the shoulders and upper back. Avoid rolling the shoulder forwards or looking at the ground. Repeat several times and see if you’d like to stay in the posture for a few breaths. Keep the back of the neck long by lightly drawing in the chin towards your throat and activate your core to support your lower back. 

Function: Great for developing core and leg strength whilst mobilising the knees, hips, feet and ankles.

3. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold

How: Feet hip distance apart release the knees. Inhale raise your arms out to the sides and alongside your ears, exhale to fold forwards and down sweeping the arms down towards your feet or your lower back (this will make the pose more gentle and accessible if you are new to it or have any lower back concerns). As you inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and raise your chest as you come back to standing.

Details: If it feels useful you may like to stay in the posture for a few breaths allowing the exhalations to draw you further into the fold and the inhalations to take you out slightly. Avoid lifting the chin pressing into the neck.

Function: On the way down you are stretching the back of your body; your back and hamstrings, on the way back up you are strengthening them.

4. Virabhadrasana 1 – Warrior 1

How: Stepping one foot forward, evenly distribute your body through both feet facing towards the front edge of the mat. Release the front knee and draw up into the hips with your back thigh to ensure a stable base. Inhale raise the arms alongside your ears, soften the shoulders and elbows and bend the front knee. Exhale draw the front leg towards straight and lower the arms by your sides.

Details: When staying in the posture bring support to your lower back by contracting the lower abdomen lightly on the exhalations. You may find you feel energised and warmer once you have taken this posture several times on each side.

Function: Strengthens the upper back, core, and legs. Stretches the hip flexors and calves.

5. Vajrasana variation – Upright Kneeling Posture

How: Standing on your knees, hip distance apart with cushioning for support if required. Inhale sweep the arms out to the sides and up, exhale to fold forwards as you send the hips back towards the heels, invite the arms to sweep out to the sides to the lower back. At the end of the movement soften the shoulders and if useful allow your forehead to make contact with the ground.

Details: Only take the hips back as far as is comfortable without strain on your lower back or knees. Imagine you are drawing a vast circle around you as you inhale and envelope your-self within this space as you exhale.

Function: Mobilises the spine, hips, and shoulders whilst stretching and strengthening the back and neck. This posture is also great for increasing circulation and may be useful in reducing tension.

“I’ve always appreciated Bamboo clothing as a brand which designs and produces high-quality clothing that is not only sustainable but natural, feels and looks good to wear.” – Helen Roscoe

 

6. Bhujanghasana – Cobra

How: Rest the forehead to the mat as you lie on your front with your feet hip distance apart. Hands place alongside the ribcage with your elbows pointing in the direction of the sky. Stay and explore the breath as you inhale notice length occurring along the front of the body, as you exhale draw abdomen away from the mat for further stability. 

Details: Avoid placing any pressure through the hands, simply use them as a guide. If it feels safe, release the neck at the end of the posture by raising the chin. This posture isn’t about height, rather think of it as exploring length. Stay and explore the breath in the posture expanding and strengthening.

Function: Great for strengthening the upper and lower back as well as stabilising the sacrum and pelvis.

 

7. Chakravakasana – Cat Posture

How: On all fours position the hands underneath your shoulders, hips in line with your knees, establish your foundation. Inhale to stretch your sit bones away as you extend your chest forwards, releasing the neck slightly. Exhale to send the hips back towards the heels. It may be appropriate for you to place a blanket underneath your knees for support. Only take the hips back as far as is comfortable for you without placing any strain on your knees or your back.

Details: Only take hips back as far as is comfortable. An opportunity to explore the breath more freely and more subtly. Pay attention to the relationship between the back and front of your body as you inhale and exhale.

Function: Stretches along your lower back and across the shoulders whilst relieving the lower back from any strengthening work. Calms and soothes the central nervous system. 

8. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana – Upward Raised Legs

How: Lying onto your back draw your knees in one by one over your torso, with your hands placed by your sides palms facing down. As you inhale begin to lengthen your legs up towards the sky as you take your arms overhead and onto the floor behind you. On the exhalation bend your knees towards your belly and lower your hands by your sides. Repeat several times and then stay maintaining an active core for additional support.

Details: Avoid lifting your bottom or stretching into the lower back as you extend the legs upward. Any tightness or discomfort around the shoulders take your arms out to shoulder level. To intensify draw the toes towards you when reaching the top of your movement. No need to straighten the legs, just take them into the movement as far as is comfortable.

Function: Brings length to the spine whilst also stretching the legs and shoulders. For a restorative variation rest the legs up against a wall or chair and lie with your back on the ground. Reduces tiredness in the legs, providing the benefits of taking an inversion without the effort and is super calming for the nervous system!

“As the breath slows and becomes steady so too do we, and in return…make space for new and positive changes to occur”

 

9. Jatthara Privrtti – Revolved Lying Twist

How: Stretch the arms out at shoulder level lying flat on the ground, knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor hip distance apart and closer to your bottom. Take a breath in and on the exhalation lightly draw the belly in as you lower your knees to one side, do this gradually feeling the inner and outer edges of your feet make contact as you roll onto them. Inhale to come back to center placing your feet flat on the mat, exhale to the opposite side. So long as you don’t have any neck concerns you may wish to rotate your head in the opposite direction.

Details: Explore the length along the side of your body as you inhale, whilst on the exhalation allow yourself to ground through the space in between your shoulders, activate the abdomen and settle a little further into the twist. If you feel comfortable you may wish to stay in the posture for several breaths once you have explored the movement from one side to the other a few times.

Function: Great for rotating the spine, stretching the lower back and relieving tension. It may also be used for restorative purposes by soothing the central nervous system promoting a calming effect on your body, breath, and mind.

10. Apanasana – Wind-Release Pose

How: Bend the knees in over your torso and relax the feet. Inhale to extend the arms forward as you lightly press the knees away, exhale to bring the knees back, bending the elbows.

Details: Can be used as a counterpose for many lying postures as well as at any starting point of a yoga practice as a mobiliser. It’s also a great posture for establishing a link between breath and movement. Support the movement with your core as opposed to pushing and pulling the knees away with your hands.

Function: This deceptively easy pose has many therapeutic benefits for your back, hips, digestive and nervous systems.

Finally …Savasana – Corpse Pose

Perhaps the most important posture of all …

How: Stretch your legs along the floor, letting the feet fall out to their sides, placing your arms beside you away from your body, palms facing up (you may also wish to place them onto your body if this feels more comfortable). It may also be useful for you to have your knees bent with the soles of your feet on the floor away from your bottom, or for a more restorative variation you could place a blanket underneath your head and heels with a cushion or bolster underneath the knees.

Details: Bringing your awareness towards the natural rhythm of your breath and follow the rise and fall of the inhalations in your body as you feel the air coming in and out through the nostrils. Be aware of places in your body that feel more spacious and of where you are able to let go and release any residual tension.

Function: Helps to calm and relax the entire body and provides time to allow the practice to be absorbed and digested.

Give yourself as much space and time as you need and be aware of any positive changes which may have occurred as you reflect on the qualities of the overall practice.

 

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