Want to roll out the exercise mat this yoga day?
Need easy yoga poses for beginners?
Do you want to add yoga to your daily workout session, but unsure of where to start?
Then I think this post can help you.
Yoga in today’s times.
My story may sound a bit peculiar to some.
I am an IT engineer by qualification, soldier by profession and a Yogi by passion. After retiring as a Lieutenant commander from the Indian Navy after serving 10 years as a Short Service Commission officer, I chose to become a holistic health coach.
I have seen many eyebrows raising when I tell people this. But as I said, yoga and the yogic way of lifestyle is something that is very close my heart.
Yoga may be an ancient practice, but it can benefit us even now. I can say so with conviction because yoga does not just take of our physical health.
Yoga, when done right can help us mentally and spiritually too. Something that we desperately need in today’s frantic stressful life.
Yoga will force you to slow down and raise awareness about yourself. It will help to make you stronger – both mentally and physically.
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International yoga day or yoga day:
In 2014, the Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, whilst addressing the United Nations General Assembly, put across the idea of keeping aside a day for yoga.
This was so to create awareness about yoga and its many benefits. The prime minister said that yoga helps to create a harmony between us and nature. By doing that, we can not only make our lives better, we can also take a significant step towards climate change.
This address, led to the United Nations declaring the 21st of June as the International Yoga Day/ International Day of Yoga. This particular day was suggested as it happens to be the longest day of the year and has special significance in many countries in the northern hemisphere.
Easy poses to try this Yoga Day:
As you know, today is the International Yoga day- a day for raising awareness about yoga.
Today, I will teach you 5 of the best yoga sequences that a beginner can try. They are easy and even a beginner can try it out. So let us start with the first asana.
# 1. Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
The cat pose is a simple but very effective posture. It’s actually consists of two parts, the first is inhalation and the second part is exhalation. Also, it’s both forward bending and backward bending at the same time. This pose is an easy pose for everyone to try.
It helps to bring flexibility to the spine. It also strengthens the wrists and shoulders and corrects any breathing deficiencies or limitations due to our lifestyle habits. It massages the digestive organs, thereby improving digestion and also improves the blood circulation.
You can do it even if you have spinal problems. This is because it is gentle on the back and is very easy to practice.
How to do this asana?
As I said before, the first part is inhalation. To do that we need to place your palms in the line of the knees placed right below the shoulders.
Ensure that your thighs and arms are perpendicular to the ground. Go for deep inhalation, pulling the stomach in, lifting the chest up while giving a gentle extension (backward bending) to the entire spine and look up by extending the neck.
The next part is exhalation. Just like the inhalation, we have to do a deep exhalation. While exhaling, you have to bring your head in and get your chin close to the chest.
You also have to try and pull your stomach in and get the stomach as close to the spine. Arch your entire back into flexion (forward bending) of the spine.
Continue doing the cat’s breathing for few more reps to enjoy the benefits.
#2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
The cobra pose has a host of benefits. Doing this pose helps to tone the lower back muscles of the body while keeping your chest and upper back relaxed, thus removing stiffness of the lower back.
Apart from that it helps in improving flexibility, alleviating asthma symptoms, improving digestion and blood circulation and promoting a regular menstrual cycle.
It is also good to strengthen the arms and shoulders. This is a good pose for those with sciatica.
How to do this asana?
Start by lying down on your stomach on a comfortable and level surface with your feet together with the top portion of the feet placed against the floor and your forehead resting on the ground with your both palms by the side of your shoulders and elbows bent.
Caution: If keeping the palms by the shoulders gives you discomfort or any pains, change the position by placing the complete elbow on the ground which relaxes the back muscles and reduces the intensity of the stretch.
#3. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Another simple pose with extra ordinary benefits for both body and mind. When you practice balancing poses, you learn some practical lessons on how to stay grounded, stay focused and steady your mind.
It is no surprise that when we try to do balancing poses, we find it difficult initially.
You know why? It is because of breathing. Surprising isn’t it?
This is because when we breathe, it causes a shape change inside our body, this leads to the difficulty.
If you notice, our bodies are always in motion / action. Even when we are sleeping or meditating and the action continues till that one last beautiful breath of our life when the soul decides to expand beyond the limits of the body. Hence balancing poses are more difficult than the other ones.
By practicing this pose, we bring our mind to focus and concentrate. It is evident when you focus your vision on a single point ahead, then the balancing becomes simple.
However, the most beautiful journey within your body commences when you close the eyes. This pose will give you so much of body awareness within no time. This is because when you close the eyes and try to balance, this process will start to reveal the mysteries of your body as you travel through the 100 billion neurons or nerve cells which form a part of the nervous tissue (the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves).
I know it sounds profound and almost impossible, but try it. Although you may not realize it at first, you will notice that you are much more aware of yourself than ever before.
How to do this asana?
Try to stand straight with legs and feet together. Inhale deeply and lift one leg and place the feet firmly on the side of the other knee or close to the inner thigh.
Bring your arms in prayer posture in front of the chest. While being an exercise in itself by strengthening the standing leg and increasing the flexibility of the lifted leg, it also tries to bring balance to the mind.
Caution: If you have difficulty doing this pose, stand close to the wall and take support of the wall till you build up strength and confidence.
#4. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose)
As the name suggests, this pose brings the strength, determination and the will power of a warrior to the practitioner. It’s a very beautiful pose, looks graceful outside but builds strength inside by flexion of one knee and extension of the other knee. This helps the quadriceps and the hamstring.
During the flexion of the right knee and extension of the left knee, it works on the quadriceps on the right leg and hamstrings on the left leg. The same occurs for quadriceps of the left leg and hamstring of the right leg when you switch sides. This pose is also a hip opener and has many health benefits for women in addition to regularizing the menstrual cycle.
How to do this asana?
Stand with your legs apart, gently rotate right feet out in such a way that right feet and left heel are in the same straight line.
Push the right knee forward in such a way that lower leg is perpendicular to the ground and the right thigh is parallel. Keep the knee of the left leg straight.
Bring your both arms front and back at the shoulder level with your chest facing to the sides and face facing forward. Perform the pose on the other side by leading the flexion from the left knee.
Initially try to stay for 30 seconds and gradually build up your ability for staying longer.
Caution: If you experience any pain in the knees or joint, then gently narrow the stance by reducing the distance between both feet which leads to lesser pressure on the knee.
#5. Ardha Parsvakonasana (Half Extended Lateral Angle Pose)
This pose warms the body, preparing it for more challenging poses.
This pose offers similar health benefits of Virabhadrasana (warrior Pose). This pose opens the chest and enhances lung capacity.
When you flex the right knee and extend the left knee, it helps in building strength in the quadriceps of the right leg and hamstrings on the left leg and vice versa when you change the sides.
Doing this pose also helps you to stretch the muscles of the side. It is also beneficial in increasing your endurance.
How to do this asana?
Stand with your legs apart, gently rotate right feet out in such a way that right feet and left heel are in the same straight line. Push the right knee forward in such a way that lower leg is perpendicular to the ground and the right thigh is parallel.
Keep the knee of the left leg straight. (You may have noticed that till this point, the steps are just like the Virabhadrasana or warrior pose.)
Now bring your right elbow and place it firmly on the right knee, keeping your chest and torso facing to the side and extend your left arm over your head in a straight line.
The final pose will have left heel and left fingers in a straight line running along the left side of the body.
Perform the pose on the other side by leading the flexion from the left knee. Initially try to stay for 30 seconds and gradually build up your ability for staying longer.
Caution: If you feel any pain in the knees or joint, then gently narrow the stance by reducing the distance between both feet thereby relaxing the knee.
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To conclude, I would like to remind you all one thing -yoga is a way to improve yourself. It does not in any way encourage competition.
By that, I mean that, if you are unable to hold the same pose the way it is shown in the pictures, do not feel let down.
Most importantly, do not force your body to do something that it is not comfortable doing.
Listen to your body. If you experience any pain while doing it, go easy on yourself. By forcing your body, you won’t be able to achieve the true purpose of the pose and could also cause injuries.
Yoga tends to work all the muscles. This includes the muscles that you almost forgot about and hence haven’t used. With practice you will be able to improve and will notice a significant change in the flexibility making you perform these with ease.
Not just that, you will feel a lot less stressed. You will also feel a lot happier.
I hope these poses help you and persuade you to try a pose or two on this year’s yoga day.
In case you have any doubts or comments about any of these poses, then do not hesitate to share them with me in the comments section.