Yoga is a great exercise option because it is suitable for all types of fitness levels. If you’ve just gotten back to training, you can slow down a bit with a beginner’s class with basic poses and flows. If you’re more of an advanced yogi or want a challenge, you can try more difficult poses and movements, or even try styles like aerial or hot yoga classes. It’s also a low impact workout, so it won’t be too hard on your joints. And just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean it’s a total walk in the park. Yoga is a challenge and it encourages movement and flexibility. Plus, it’s good enough for relieving stress and promoting mindfulness. Are you convinced to try it already?
For those of you who want to try it out or want to get back to practicing, Mirror coach Rachel Nicks says the best thing you can do is start. “No one said you had to be good at it and that’s not the point,” she said. âRemember to accept your body wherever you are in your practice. Focus on your breathing. Use the exhalation as an opportunity to release things that are not benefiting you physically, mentally, or emotionally. change then take up the challenge. “
And it helps to take a few simple, straightforward yoga poses to help you with your yoga sessions, whether you plan to do it more often or every now and then. I asked two yoga instructors and trainers for easy pose options. And while they’re great for beginners, they’re also must-haves for yogis, as you’ll likely be doing them in just about any class. Take a look below.
1. Child pose
Nothing could be easier than this restorative pose. âThis is one of my favorite poses because it’s amazing for relaxing and relieving anxiety while increasing blood circulation,â says Sydney Benner, FitOnApp trainer. “It stretches your spine, your hips and your ankles.”
Nicks explains how to do it:
Spread your thighs as wide as possible and place your forehead on the floor. If this is difficult due to the tight hips, place your head on a block or pillow.
Extend your arms out in front of you. As you exhale, soften your forehead, shoulders, hips, and lower back.
Lengthen your spine as you exhale and remember to release the tension in the hips and lower back.
Try to think about breathing into your hips and use each exhale as an opportunity to release the tension.
Benner recommends switching to tabletop pose after spending a minute or two in the child pose. âStrengthening your core muscles or your core muscles is one of the most important practices you can do for your body,â she explains. “This pose will do just that while improving balance and posture.”
Benner explains how to do this:
Place your palms under your shoulders and your knees under your hips so that your spine is long and flat as you engage your abdominal muscles to protect the spine and lower back. You want to make sure that the tops of your feet are relaxed on your mat, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and that the top of your head should be facing forward as opposed to your eyes.
As you take a deep breath, drop your belly and expand your heart while looking up. It’s your cow pose, and as you breathe out, go around your spine and drop your head like a Halloween cat.
Repeat for three to five cycles of slow, deep breathing.
“Please don’t let this one scare you!” Said Benner. “The boards are unbelievable for the body and in a vinyasa yoga practice; they are a key movement in sun salutations. The benefits are endless as they strengthen your arms, core, glutes and posture while boosting your metabolism. “
Here’s how, according to Benner:
To get into this pose, place your palms under your shoulders and pull those shoulder blades back. If you have wrist tenderness, I encourage you to do it on your forearms, either by joining your hands or placing your forearms down like a number 11, with your elbows below your shoulders.
Engage your core as tight as possible and make sure you contract your gluteal muscles as well.
You have two options for your legs: The first is to stretch your legs back but keep your knees on the mat and the tops on the feet as well. The second option is to extend your legs and lift your knees by pressing down on your tiptoes.
Start by holding this pose for three to five breaths, and as you get stronger, try for 1 minute or even 2 minutes.
4. Low lunge with side elbow
Nicks recommends this pose, adding that you can intensify it by pressing your hips forward or decrease the intensity by pulling your hips back a bit.
She shares how to do it:
Step forward with your right foot with your right knee above your right ankle.
Engage your core and reach your arms above your head.
Tuck in your tailbone and engage your trunk, removing the arch of your back from your back and providing more support for your body.
Inhale, reach your arms above your head, then grab your left wrist and bend the side toward your right thigh as you exhale.
Repeat on the other side.
5. Descending dog
Even if you don’t practice yoga, you’ve probably heard of this pose. âIf you think of a dog that stretches out with its legs long in front and its tailbone raised, that’s exactly the point with that,â says Benner. “Using the strength of your arms, core, and spine, this pose will stretch your quads, hamstrings, and ankles.” For this one, Benner advises not to strain with your body, especially if you’re not feeling very flexible. She recommends paying attention to your body and seeing what it can reasonably do.
Benner explains how to get into the pose:
Bring your hands out in front of you and widen your fingers. If you personally feel tension in your shoulders, you can tilt your fingers 45 degrees and move them a little wider, relax your head between your biceps, and move your shoulders away from your ears.
You want to press your chest towards your thighs and if you have a tight hamstring, I encourage you to bend your knees, and I promise you it’s okay if your heels are up.
Press your sit bones back and reach your top tailbone. For those with more flexibility, extend your legs and deepen your heels to your mat.
6. Warrior II to Reverse Warrior
âWarrior II is a strong and fairly easy pose as both feet are planted in the ground,â Nicks explains.
Here she shares some instructions:
Bend your front knee 90 degrees and keep your back leg straight. Your front foot should be perpendicular to your back foot.
Extend your outstretched arms, then return your front palm and reach your upper hand behind you to “reverse your warrior”. The inverted warrior offers expansion to your chest.
7. Crescent slit
âThe crescent lunge will stretch and help you loosen your hip flexors and upper body while strengthening your legs,â says Benner.
Here’s how, according to Benner:
Start by taking a step forward and bend considerably in the front knee, keeping the knee above your ankle. Make sure your knee stays centered over your ankle rather than pronating inward or externally rotating outward.
Keep your square hips pointing forward evenly and extend your back leg a long time, lifting the tip of the back foot. You will feel a dramatic stretch in your hip flexors. If this feels too intense to you, a big variation is to keep your back knee down and the top of the foot relaxed on your mat.
For your upper body, squeeze this core firmly as you raise both arms in line with your shoulders, but keep your shoulders away from your ears. Your upper body should be tall, strong, and straight.
Yoga equipment to shop
Zella Live In High Waist Leggings ($ 59)
These comfortable and supportive leggings are always a bestseller. And they’re great for all types of workouts.
Sweaty betty Mindful Seamless Yoga Sports Bra ($ 48)
The tie-dye pattern of this sports bra adds a fun touch to your sportswear look. It also has a strappy back for added breathability.
Beyond yoga Spacedye Studio Cropped Tank Top ($ 68)
The halter neckline of this tank top offers a lot of protection. It also has a built-in bra.
Lululemon Instill High Rise Tights ($ 118)
Lululemon’s Instill Leggings are specially designed for yoga with smoothing support and four-way stretch. There is also a pocket on the back.
Collective girlfriend Spice Float High Waist Bike Shorts ($ 48)
These shorts will keep you cool during your yoga classes, they are also sweat-wicking and dry quickly.
Athlete Vital Tank 2.0 ($ 44)
A breezy tank top is a must have for any workout wardrobe. This one is lightweight, super soft, moisture wicking and has special odor blocking technology.
Alo Yoga Warrior rug ($ 100)
You will need a mat, of course. I love my Alo yoga mat because it’s comfortable with the right amount of cushion and it’s also a bit oversized so I don’t feel cramped when I move around.
Gaiam Yoga block (set of 2) ($ 15)
Yoga blocks are useful for providing extra support and stability, so your form can be in focus.
Manduka Align Yoga Strap ($ 14)
You can use a yoga strap during your practice, or just when you need a good stretch.
yoga companion Towel ($ 16)
To prevent slipping, place a yoga towel on your mat. Or use it to dry off during and after class.
Balance GoYoga Extra Thick All Purpose Yoga Mat ($ 23)
If you need a little more support, you can go for an extra thick yoga mat.
Manduka Recycled wool blanket ($ 39)
A yoga blanket can provide extra support and cushioning when you need it.
Next: 21 Cheap Yoga Pants That Always Look Expensive
This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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