In celebration of 'World Yoga Day' which takes place on 22nd February we have put together a simple introduction to a few popular Yoga poses so you can give this a try at home or even in the office. With the fresh spring air and sunshine bringing with it longer days we might even take to the garden for a real hit of good endorphins!
The benefits of yoga stretch from physical to mental and those who practice regularly may see dramatic improvements in muscular strength, flexibility, quality of sleep and mental well-being. If you’ve been thinking about trying something new why not take a moment to yourself and give yoga a try?
Before we begin, make sure you set up in a calm environment, take a good few deep breaths and clear your mind of other things…
1. The Mountain Pose
Begin by standing tall with a straight spine, big toes should be touching. Place your arms at your side with palms facing outward. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds, working your way up to a full minute.
Benefits: Improves your posture and balance while strengthening the muscles in your lower body.
2. The Forward Bend
Remain in Mountain Pose but with your hands on your hips. Take a deep breath in then bend forward from your hips, not your waist as you exhale.
Your hands can be placed by your feet, grasping your ankles if you are really flexible or simply keep your arms folded.
Bend your knees slightly should you need to and ensure you are keeping them soft. Hold for 30 seconds and work toward holding the position for a full minute as you progress.
Benefits: Strengthens your lower body and loosens tight muscles in your legs whilst being very calming so this is a good way to relax.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
This pose takes a little more effort and may be challenging for some, so work towards improving your form. Assume a kneeling position on all fours, knees should rest directly below hips, hands should be slightly forward of your shoulders with fingers spread.
Next inhale deeply and as you exhale lift your knees from the mat, keeping them bent as you raise your buttocks upward. Slowly straighten your knees and as with all poses focus on keeping them soft. Your head stays between your outstretched arms.
You are likely to be on the balls of your feet so as you practice this pose more aim to get your heels to the floor.
Stay in this position for at least one minute, working your way up to two or three minutes.
Benefits: Excellent for working many muscle groups across your upper and lower body and will help you with balance and flexibility.
4. Plank Pose
As you have just completed Downward Dog you should begin this pose following on from your current position. First inhale deeply and lower your body so your torso is now in a flat position, arms resting directly above your hands.
You should be looking down toward the floor whilst holding this post for 30 seconds.
Benefits: Plank Pose will tone your entire abdomen as well as strengthen your arms and spine.
5. Low Lunge Pose
Lastly this pose will challenge you so again keep working towards getting this right. This pose works best when transitioned to from Downward Dog. As with all yoga movements begin with a deep breath in and ensure to exhale whilst performing the movement.
Bring your right foot between your hands, keep the knee straight over your heel.
Then, lower your left knee to the floor and slide it back so you feel the stretch in the front of this leg.
Hold Low Lunge Pose for a minute if you can and then return to Downward Dog to repeat this on your other side.
Benefits: Releases any tension in your hips as well as stretching hamstring, quads and groin muscles. Regular practice will build strength in your knees.
You can read more about World Yoga Day here.
International Yoga day falls later in the year in June so why not make it your aim to have these moves perfected by then?
Alternatively, we offer a wide range of holistic mind and body classes across our Health Clubs at Hand Picked Hotels. Find your nearest health Club here.