Yoga poses are a great way to stretch and strengthen your body. You’ll also find they help you relax and calm your mind.
These beginner poses can help you get started on your yoga journey. Try them and then try them again as you build strength and flexibility.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog, also called Adho mukha svanasana, is a common yoga move that is part of the sun salutation (Surya Namaskar). It strengthens and stretches many muscle groups in your body including the upper back and shoulders, arms, hips and legs.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit words adho meaning “down” and mukha, which means “face.” It’s a great pose for stretching the hamstrings, calves, ankles and feet.
During the practice of downward dog, you should try to maintain your spine’s length and draw your lower ribs in as much as possible. This helps prevent your low back from flexing upward, which could cause pain or injuries in the wrists and shoulders.
Another helpful tip to help improve this pose is to use a yoga block between your inner thighs. This will help you to learn the movement of inner rotation and push your torso forwards as you hold this pose, says Marlene Henny.
Downward facing dog is a great exercise for your entire body, but it works especially well for the shoulder muscles. It increases the flexibility of the latissimus dorsi muscles, pectoralis minor and rhomboids, as well as the posterior deltoids. It also helps strengthen your hip flexors, calf muscles and Achilles tendons.
Upward Facing Dog
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is one of the most recognizable yoga poses and is often used as part of a vinyasa flow. It stretches the chest and spine, strengthens the arms and wrists, and opens the shoulders and diaphragm.
The posture is typically done after chaturanga, which helps to open the front of the body and prepare the lungs for breathing. It can also be beneficial for people who suffer from asthma, fatigue, and mild depression.
It also creates suppleness in the back torso, stimulating the abdominal organs and improving digestion. It can also help counteract slouching and kyphosis, the abnormal curvature of the spine.
However, the challenging posture can be frustrating for less experienced yogis. In all-levels classes, teachers often don’t take the time to break down each pose to make it easier for students.
Instead of rushing through the pose, it’s important to take the time to check your alignment and reestablish proper form. This will ensure that you don’t hurt yourself. It will also help you build a deeper understanding of the posture and its many benefits.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) is a foundational standing yoga pose that builds focus, strength and balance in the legs, core and back. It also stretches the front side of your body and helps you build strength in your arms and shoulders.
This pose requires you to step your right leg forward about four feet and bend your knee into a lunge. Keep your left foot straight behind you and turn your heel in at about 45 degrees.
Some people find it difficult to keep their back heel pressed against the ground while doing this pose. You may want to place a sand bag or rolled up towel beneath your heel for support and stability.
You can also adjust the length of your leg by bending it in half or letting it swing out to the side. This can help strengthen your thigh muscles and improve flexibility.
While this pose is a little challenging, it can be helpful for beginners and yogis with back injuries or other conditions that require more strength in the lower body. It also encourages mental focus and confidence that can be helpful both on and off the mat. It is also an excellent exercise for building stamina and coordination, as well as building the muscles around the hips.