Yoga is a practice for anyone of any age looking to strengthen the body and generate clarity of mind.
To begin your yoga journey, you will need a yoga mat, strap, blocks, and an open mind to begin your practice.
Most people like to take a course to start their practice. Edward-Elmhurst Health and Fitness Centers offer many yoga classes for beginners. Check out these classes, to name a few: Yoga 101, Yoga for the Unyielding, and Meditation for Peace and Calm.
As you develop a regular yoga practice, you can start with the following nine yoga poses. As with any exercise program, you should get permission from your doctor before you begin. Try to move slowly through each pose, holding the pose for a few deep breaths (inhale and exhale through your nose). Remember to breathe and rest if necessary.
Gently stretches the lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and relaxes the spine, shoulders and neck.
Start on your hands and knees. Sit on your heels. Bring your big toes together and part your knees a little wider than your hips. Lay your forehead on the mat and rest your arms palms up comfortably on the sides of your thighs or above your head as shown. As you breathe, focus on relaxing the muscles of the spine and lower back.
Acts on the toning of the trunk, shoulders, arms and legs.
Start on all fours. Shoulders above the wrists and hips above the knees. Index finger pointing forward with your fingers spread apart. Close your shoulder blades against your back, then pull them away from the spine as you pull your collarbones away from the sternum and look straight down to the floor. Keep your body and neck aligned.
Strengthens the back muscles, increases the flexibility of the spine and stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders.
Keeping your arms bent, press your chest towards the ceiling. Yoga classes usually end with this pose. It allows for a moment of relaxation, but some people find it difficult to stay still in this pose. However, the more you try this pose, the easier it is to sink into a state of relaxation and meditation.
Downward facing dog
Stretches hamstrings, calves, and arch while strengthening shoulders, arms, and back.
Breathe in and out, focusing on distributing your weight evenly between your palms while lifting your seat bones (sit bones) back and away from your shoulders.
Improves balance and strengthens the core, ankles, calves, thighs and spine.
If necessary, place one of your hands on a wall for support. Place your foot on your ankle or calf. Place your hands together in front of your chest or raise your hands in the air.
Stretches the hamstrings and calves.
Use blocks if you can’t reach the ground. Reach arms above your head, sweep your arms out to either side of your body to form a forward bend from your hips with your fingertips in line with the toes. Press your palms flat on the mat if you can. Slight flexion of the knees. Engage your quadriceps muscles and draw them out. Let your head hang down.
Strengthens the legs and stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves, spine, chest and shoulders.
With your legs apart, place the front foot pointing forward with your heels aligned and your back foot angles forward. Engage the front thigh muscle as you step past your front toes. Lower your right hand onto your shin, ankle, or block. The shoulders are stacked as you open your chest, reaching your left fingertips towards the ceiling while keeping your shoulder rooted in its socket. Look towards your arm on top or stay neutral. Keep the knees soft. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Semi-Spinal Twist Pose
Increase the flexibility of your back, while stretching the shoulders, hips and chest.
It can also help relieve tension in the middle of your back. Sitting straight on your spine, place one hand on the floor behind you and bend the knee on the same side towards your body. Before twisting, make sure you are sitting up straight. Place your elbow on the outside of the bent knee.Look over your shoulder and breathe. Repeat on the other side.
Your yoga session is not complete without the most relaxing of all poses, the Corpse Pose.
Lie on your back with your legs straight, letting your legs open on either side. Relax your arms out to the sides away from your body with the palms facing up. The shoulders are tucked into the mat. Relax in the pose and release any effort to hold the position. Let your face relax and let your body sink into the mat. Breathe naturally for about 5 minutes. Bring your thoughts back to your mat if your mind starts to wonder.
Slowly come out of this pose, wiggling your fingers and toes to wake up your body. Reach your head and pull your knees towards your chest. Roll to one side in the fetal position for a few more breaths. Get into a seated position.
Our fitness centers offer a variety of yoga classes for all skill levels. Find yoga classes.
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