Hello to all my soon-to-be-yogis! We’re starting with the foundations of yoga – yoga for 100%, complete beginners. If you’re wondering if you have to be able to touch your toes in this, the big answer is ‘nope!’.
And the best part is that it’s 10-minutes long. You can do (almost) anything for 10-minutes, right?
I’ve written about being a beginner before, where you learn about in this post is largely about the mindset, a bit about breath-work – and how it’s not weird, the poses and the VERY best part about yoga: nappy time (in yogi langage, savasana). Seriously though – it feels marvelous!
Remember, it’s wonderful to be a beginner! So if you’re intimidated by your local studio or your friend trying to teach you to stand on your head, this flow is for you. No frills, but set the foundation to learn a little bit about yoga.
This does NOT need to be complicated, but a lot of times it seems like it is. People get overwhelmed by the fact that sitting cross-legged is uncomfortable – and guess what? THAT’S NORMAL. It’s not really that comfortable. Here are a couple of alternatives:
- Sit on the heels
- Sit on a block, pillow or bolster to rise the hips over the knees
- Sit against a wall
Always be sure to broaden through the chest – think about engaging the back muscles so the shoulder blades come towards center. Reach through the crown of the head to lengthen the spine.
Bring shoulders directly over the wrists, or slightly behind if you have any wrist pain. Hips come over the knees. REACH through the crown of the head so the spine stays long. Activate the core by sucking the ribs in.
Similar to table top, shoulders over wrists and hips in line with the shoulders. Press into the ground to round through the upper back. Feel your hands firmly rooting into the ground. Press the heels away from you as you engage through the legs. Continue to suck the ribs in to engage through the core.
Moving directly from plank pose, simply shift your hips back coming into an upside-down letter V.
BEND THE KNEES to keep the spine long. Do not focus on simply bringing your heels to the ground. Spine long, people!
Like plank, deeply root into your hands as if you’re trying to stretch the mat away from you. Keep the shoulders strong and ribs sucked in. Keep the neck in a neutral position as you gaze towards the knees.
Ahh, the pose that, I believe, deters people from starting yoga. The “I can’t touch the ground” excuse. Sound like you? If so, have faith! I have something for you, because, trust me, you don’t have to be bendy to do yoga.
Start in a standing position and place the hands on the hips. Push the hips back as you begin to move the chest towards the thighs. Here’s the kicker: GO AHEAD AND BEND THE KNEES. Starting bringing the chest towards the thighs, rather than just trying to round the upper back to bring the nose to the knees.
Let me guess, by bending your knees, you’re able to touch the ground now? 🙂
But you don’t even have to do that. The fingers can certainly rest on the ground or the shins, or you may grab opposite elbows to hang a bit heavier… because it feels good.
Starting to lift up by hinging at the hips, come to a neutral spine. Reach long through the crown of the head to keep the spine lone.
Tip: There’s NO rule that says you need to keep your fingers on the ground. Move them as high up the leg as you need!
Plant the hands underneath the shoulders and lower down onto the belly. Bring the hands underneath the shoulders and curl the toes under, zipping the legs together. Feel yourself root into the ground with the pelvis and gently peel the chest off the ground by using the strength of your back.
See if you can lift the hands off the ground!
Lowering the hands down from Baby Cobra, press the upper body up through a table top position and sit the hips back to the heels. A bit note here: if the heels seem like a long ways away, then grab a towel or blanket to place underneath the hamstrings. This brings the heels closer to you.
Reach the arms out long, rest the forehead on the ground and relax the upper body over the thighs. Option to bring the arms by the sides if that feels better.
Another note – this pose is ALWAYS an option instead of downward facing dog. Don’t let any other teachers tell you otherwise. 😉
Pressing up from child’s pose come to a comfortable seat (see note above!). Reach the arms up, keeping the shoulders soft. Start to shift the shoulders to face the left and drop the left arm behind you and the right hand to the left knee. Shift the gaze over the left shoulder if it feels good on the neck. Repeat on the other side.