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Beginner's Yoga Daily Dozen: Part 1
Yoga is an ancient practice that helps the body firm up, increase flexibility and posture and relax. It is very therapeutic and teaches the art of conscious relaxation. Allowing your body an escape from the physical tension of life and other exercise. These daily dozen exercises will give you good base as you begin a Yoga routine at home or attend classes.
When you first become interested in Yoga, it can be a little overwhelming as you watch intructers take pretzel-like shapes. You may wonder, Do I have to do that in order to do Yoga?. The answer is no. Yoga is not a competitive sport or competitive fitness routine. You dont have to do anything that you are uncomfortable performing. You should perform each pose the best you can but not force any stretches.
Each pose in the daily dozen will be held for 6 breathes, also called Vinyasas. A breathe should always go in and out through the nose creating a sound like the ocean as it moves through your nose and throat. An inhale and exhale should be about the same length.
1 Terms You Should Know
- Sit Bones. The bones located at the base of your butt.
- Neutral Spine. Your back should be nice and straight from the bottom of the spine to the top of the head.
- Inversion. Any pose where your heart is above your head.
Daily Dozen: 12 Poses
1 Cat Pose
- Hands should be on the floor directly under your shoulders. Your fingers should be spread with your middle finger pointing forward. You knees should be under your hips and your toes should point away from the body. As you inhale, your chest should lift up, your shoulders should roll back and your head will raise. As you exhale your chest will pull back like youre drawing into your spine. Your shoulders will come forward and your head will drop. Try to touch your nose to your belly button. Use your arms and knees to push your body up. Keep your arms straight the entire pose.
2 Mountain Pose
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Toes should face forward. Center your weight in your feet. Make sure you are well balanced. Your low belly should lift in and up and your tail bone should drop down towards the floor. This gives you a good posture and stability. Lift your chest and roll back your shoulders. Drop your arms comfortably to your sides. As you inhale, reach your arms up over your head. As you exhale, lower your arms back to your sides. Inhale as you lift one arm forward and up and stretch it toward the ceiling with the palm facing your head. Exhale as you bend at the waist and stretch toward the side. Your lower body should not move (like a mountain). Inhale as stretch toward the ceiling, then exhale as you drop your arm.
3 Standing Forward Bend
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and firmly grounded on the floor, like you do for Mountain Post. Put your hands on your hips and bend your knees. Youll probably have to bend your knees a lot as a beginner. Slowly bend at the hips, keeping your back straight. As your body presses against your legs, begin to straighten your knees. If you are not yet able to straighten you legs or bend very far, its okay. Just go as far as you can and keep practicing. Drop your hands toward the floor with your fingers extended. Stay on your finger tips or grab your shins. As you inhale, lift your body halfway up, pull your shoulders back and open up your chest. Lift your head and stretch so you have a nice straight line from the tip of your spine to the top of your head. Exhale as you drop back towards the floor, relaxing your upper body toward the floor. When you are finished, place your hands on your thighs and slowly round your body up as you return to the mountain pose.
- Start in mountain pose. Place your hands on your hips and begin a forward bend. Bend forward at your hips as far as you feel comfortable. Bend your knees enough so that you can place your hands on the floor. Come up to the half way position, keeping your hands on the floor. Look forward. Step your left foot back as far as you can and place your left knee on the floor. Slide a towel under your knee as a cushion. Your right knee should not bend past your right ankle. The knee and ankle should be in-line with each other. Place your hands on your thigh just behind your knee. Push your body up and let your hips drop. Pull your belly in and allow your torso to stretch tall. Inhale as you lift your arms over your head and form a praying position with your hands. Exhale as they come back to your sides. When you are ready to switch feet, get into cat pose then bring your left foot forward. Align your knee and ankle, put the towel under your right knee and repeat the exercise. When you are finished, return to mountain pose.
- Start in Mountain pose. Have a chair close by on your right side to use for balance. Stand on your right leg and position your left foot on the inside of your right ankle. If you can, move the foot up to the knee or the top of the thigh. Ground yourself in your right leg. Draw your lower belly in and up and your tail bone down. Lift your chest and roll your shoulders back. Bring your palms together in front of your heart. Inhale and exhale slowly while holding this pose. Release the pose slowly on your last exhale. Repeat this exercise on your left side.