Yoga began as a spiritual practice well over 5,000 years ago. Since then cutting edge modifications mixed with traditional breathing techniques have made this ancient art form one of the most beneficial workouts for a healthy mind, body and spirit. When you begin practicing yoga, you will notice a gradual increase in flexibility, but also general body strength, as well as overall muscle growth and an increase in your ability to focus. A yoga workout promotes total body healing, as well as mental health.
Meditation for Beginners
Meditation helps you focus, relax and prepare your breath for a more deep focus when practicing yoga. A beginner’s meditation will help you to set your ego aside, which is one of the most important tasks in yoga.
- Begin in Sukhasana or Easy Pose. Close your eyes. Clear your mind. Focus on the world around you being blank, get rid of all thoughts. Imagine everything white, and then Nothing should come to mind.
- Take a deep breath in and relax your face; exhale. Breathe deep and relax your ears, on the exhale relax your chest. On the following breath relax your shoulders, then your arms, your chest again, until you’ve reached your toes. Breathe deep for 15 to 20 seconds concentrating on breath going into your diaphragm. On the final exhale open your eyes and slowly move into your first yoga pose.
For more in-depth meditation, once you master the basics, check out the comprehensive 14-day guide by Mark & Bill from VUmind Meditation Training.
Beginner Yoga Moves
- Sun Salutes: Stand in Mountain pose with both feet about six inches apart from one another. Balance your weight into both sides of your body, and press your heels evenly into the mat. Raise your arms up toward the sun alongside your ears. Lengthening your entire body, bend slightly back. Breathe deep, expanding your chest, open and lift your upper chest. Exhale to standing forward bend, then inhale bend your legs and reach your arms up over your legs into chair pose. Lengthen your arms, press your belly button to your spine, and ground your heels. Hold for ten seconds. Inhale bring your arms back down to your side into Mountain pose.
- Downward Dog: Fold your upper body back into standing forward bend. Breathe deep and relax your body into the mat even further. Place your hands on the mat, palms down and walk them out until your body forms an upside-down “V”. Roll your bum back and up toward the ceiling. Press your feet firmly to the ground Flex your chest toward the mat as you inhale deeply.
- The Snake: On the exhale walk your hands out in front of you, and go down onto the mat into a push-up. Lay your body flat onto the mat, inhale, and push your upper body off the mat, expanding your chest and face toward the ceiling. Breathe in deep. On the exhale push your body off the mat in one smooth motion and return to downward dog. Repeat for a total of three combined poses.
- Child’s Pose: Kneel onto the mat, keeping knees hip width apart, feet under your bum. Fold your upper body over your thighs. Place your arms out on the mat above your head, palms down, with your face to the mat. Don’t be afraid to give your arms a good stretch here for about five to ten seconds each. Relax into the floor for 30-45 seconds; concentrating on releasing your chest to the floor with each exhale.
End your beginner’s yoga session in the Sukhasana pose for an additional three to five-minute meditation.