How to Start a Yoga Practice
The practice of Yoga poses starts with coordinating the breath with the body movements. As a warm up to performing Yoga poses it is a good idea to begin with the movements that involve natural forward bending of the trunk or raising of the arms and legs. It is not advisable to start your practice with a backward bend or a twist.
- To begin do some deep inhalation and exhalations through your nose using your abdomen and chest.
- Raise your arms one by one or together. Inhale while raising and exhale while lowering. Do several rounds till you let go of all the stiffness at the shoulder and scapular region. Always be conscious of your breath and ‘feel’ the prana flowing to each muscle.
- Stretch your arms and stand on your toes while inhaling and stretching your body and then exhale while lowering your arms and heels. Do not stay at any position, instead coordinate each movement with the breath.
- Lie on your back and practice stretching the neck. Lying on your back bring your legs and feet together. Tighten your leg muscles and push using your heels – flex your feet and extend your toes. Meanwhile interlock your finger and place your palms at the base of your skull with the elbows outstretched on the sides. Inhale and bring in your elbows and raise your head stretching the neck. Maintain the stretch in your legs. Exhale and come back slowly to starting position relaxing your legs also. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Now while lying on your back – practice few rounds of raising the legs as you inhale and lowering the legs as you exhale. Bend the knees and bring them close to abdomen while inhaling and exhale while stretching the legs back to starting position. Do this with one leg at a time first (keeping the other leg straight) and with both legs together after the initial warm up.
- Sit with your legs straight or stand and raise and straighten your arms above your head with an inhalation, and without stopping exhale and bend forwards as far as you can (without straining your back and hamstrings) while exhaling. Do several repetitions. People with Slip disc or backache due to any reason and pregnancy should avoid forward bends
Rest for few minutes in corpse pose after the initial warm up. Arms at your side, palms up, feet relaxed, close your eyes.
- For backwards bends you can choose postures as per your instructor’s directions like table pose and cobra pose or a cat stretch and a pelvic tilt.
In cobra pose or table pose while bending your spine backward you need to inhale and while coming back you need to exhale. And in cat stretch as you bend your spine down towards the floor, exhale and look up – then while raising your spine and looking down – inhale.
- For the spine twists there are several poses like half spinal twists that also follow basic breathing rules. You need to inhale while beginning with the twist and exhale while coming to the neutral position.
Focus on breathing while performing an action and the inhale should ideally be initiating the movement. The length of the breath is dependent on the speed of the movement and in due course it becomes natural.
Initially you can perform the poses dynamically without a pause until you are ready to ‘hold’ the pose.
P.S. to your Health & Well-being
P.S.S. share with Friends these basic steps to starting a Yoga practice