Yoga has been gaining popularity in the West since the 1890s - and for good reason. Working both your body and your mind, yoga offers a holistic experience with an abundance of benefits such as improved mental health, increased flexibility, and a healthier cardiovascular system. That’s not the only reason that yoga has become so popular, though. Unlike many other fitness routines which require either prior experience or equipment, nearly anyone can do yoga anywhere. If you’re interested in kicking off your fitness journey by incorporating yoga into your daily life, here are five beginner-friendly poses - known as asanas - that you can do at home.
Also known as the Mountain Pose, Tadasana is one of the easiest standing asanas. It is the foundation of all other standing asanas, which is why it’s a great place to start. This pose is great for improving your posture and helping you begin or rest during your routine. Stand with your feet firmly planted, weight distributed evenly and heels slightly apart. Lengthen your spine and allow your arms to hang, palms facing out.
Known in the West as the Extended Triangle Pose, Utthita Trikonasana, while more difficult than Tadasana, is another great standing pose. Starting in Tadasana, spread your legs apart - almost like you’re going down into a split. Reach one hand to the floor while lifting the other into the air and rotate your torso towards the hand extended into the air. If you can’t fully reach the floor, no worries, go as far down your leg as you can.
Janu Sirsasana, or Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, is a sitting pose that, like Utthita Trikonasana, can be altered to fit your current skill level and degree of flexibility. This pose is beneficial for a variety of mental and physical problems such as fatigue, menstrual discomfort, and even anxiety and depression. It also helps stimulate digestion and your liver and kidneys. Sit with both legs in front of you. Bring one leg in so that the sole of your foot is resting against the inner thigh of your other leg. Then, bending forward, reach towards the toes of your extended leg.
This asana, also known as Legs Up the Wall, can easily be altered for a deeper stretch by placing a yoga block under your hips. Viparita Karani is a simple supine pose. To do it, lay on your back near a wall and simply rest your legs on the wall, fully extended with your hips elevated and your spine lengthened. This pose offers a variety of cardiovascular benefits such as improved blood flow and reduced swelling.
A prone pose, Bhujangasana, or Cobra pose, is a great for stimulating your organs and reducing fatigue and stress. It also strengthens your vertebral column and improves your overall flexibility. It’s also extremely easy, making it perfect for beginners. To complete this asana, lay prone with your hands planted down beside you. Slowly lift your upper body, leaving your hips and legs flushed to the ground. Look straight head and breathe slowly.