Yoga is an excellent low-impact exercise that provides incredible health benefits regardless of your size! This ancient discipline is not only good for your physical health but also your wellbeing as a whole. If you’ve always been interested in yoga, but you don’t know where to start, keep reading for some great beginner moves to try.
Benefits of Yoga
First, let’s take a look at some of those incredible health benefits:
Getting Started with Yoga
The best way to start a yoga practice is to sprinkle yoga into your daily life. Little pieces of yoga throughout the day will bring you huge benefits with ease:
- Deep belly breathing at a red light or during commercial breaks
- Standing in mountain pose (see below) while your coffee brews or when you have something cooking in the microwave
- Gentle seated twists (see below) in front of the computer as it starts up
You can experience many health benefits just by taking a movement and holding it a little while longer, while reaching a little farther, even if you are mostly sedentary.
If you’re not ready to join a class or follow an at-home yoga practice quite yet, see the three basic movements below to start slowly integrating yoga into your routine.
Yoga for Everyone!
3-Part Deep Belly Breath
This can be done anywhere and in any position – seated, standing, or even lying down. Breathe through your nose, softening your diaphragm. Inhale deeply, expanding your lungs from bottom, middle, to top. On the exhale, release from the top, middle, to bottom. Go slow and enjoy expanding your lugs while you improve your cardiovascular exchange. This move is great for stress reduction – especially at the doctor’s office!
Simple Seated Twist
Sit so you’re not touching the back of your chair, with your feet comfortably apart and planted to the floor. On an exhale, reach across your body with your right hand to your left knee or leg. Your left hand should go back and you can support it with the seat or the back of the chair. Keep the energy of your hips grounded as you feel the twist deepen from your hip to the top of the head. Your eyes should look left in the direction of the twist. Breathe in shallow breaths that don’t interfere with the squeeze. Keep your belly relaxed. Hold this twist with your spine tall, even though it’s in rotation. Coming out, inhale back to the center and twist your body to the other side. Twists are great to stimulate and cleanse all the organs and soft tissues of the torso.
Standing Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet at true hip-width apart. We often believe our hips are farther apart than they really are. Reach in from the front and find your hipbones. Place your feet directly below your hips (it’s okay if your thighs squeeze!). The important thing is to honor the alignment of your frame, not the flesh. Set your feet so the outside edges are parallel. This will make you feel a little pigeon-toed, causing your knees to be soft (never stand with locked knees). Engage both your abdominal and gluteal core. A gentle press of the shoulder blades will open your heart center and give you a feeling of lightness. You can stand like this anywhere and no one will even know you’re practicing yoga.
Integrating yoga into your daily life can bring you awareness, happiness, and improved health. You will grow closer to your body and begin to see subtle changes more and more each day. Start small with yoga and learn how your body reacts to certain movements and practices. It’s a learning process, so don’t be hard on yourself and enjoy the journey!
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