I hope you enjoyed my last yoga blog! How did you find the poses?
I’m going to jump straight into the second instalment of this series with 5 more yoga poses for beginners to try!
Some of these are easy and the others are only a slight step up from the last 5, but who doesn’t like progress?!
Great for: Relaxation, gently stretching the lower back – part the knees for an extended stretch.
Start on your knees, sitting back on the heels. Slowly lower your head to the floor, resting your forehead on the ground. Place your arms by your side and let the weight of your upper body open the shoulders and upper back.
Breath deeply and rest. Use this pose to relax in and take time out from a pose if it’s too intense
Want more of a stretch? Part the knees keeping the feet together or at least close to one another, lower the chest to the floor and stretch your finger tips away from you for Extended Childs Pose.
Great for: Strengthening the shoulders, arms and torso as well as the wrists and spine.
Starting on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders, step one foot back at a time to a straight leg. Be sure to keep your core and lower back engaged to avoid sinking into the lower back.
For a great plank, protract the shoulders (push into the palms so the upper back rounds slightly)
*Quick Tip: You should be able to move from your plank straight up and back into your Downward Facing Dog without bringing the hands or feet closer to one another. If you manage this, you know you have the perfect position for both poses.
Chair Pose and Revolved Chair Pose
or Utkatasana & Parivrtta Utkatasana
Great for: Stretching shoulders and chest, strengthens ankles and thighs, opens the diaphragm. Adding the twist stretches the lower back and glutes.
Start in Mountain pose, standing straight with feet together and flat on the floor, hands by your side.
Inhale and extend your arms up towards the ceiling. As you exhale, imagine you’re sitting down onto a chair and push your hips back accordingly. Keep those arms up and if it’s comfortable to, look up between your palms.
Want more of a stretch? Bring the hands to prayer in the centre of the chest. Rotate your torso to the right, bend at the hip slightly to allow the left elbow to sit on the outside of the right knee and use that elbow to push yourself round to the right even more. This is your Revolved Chair Pose. Hold for at least 5 breaths, then repeat on the left.
Wide Legged Forward Fold
or Prasarita Padottanasana
Great for: Strengthening the back of the legs, said to help headaches, symptoms of depression and fatigue
Take the feet as wide apart as is comfortable for you (the wider they are, the easier the pose becomes) and turn the toes in 45′ or so.
Deep inhale and on the exhale, bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight (pic 1)
On the next exhale, take the hands to the floor in front of you. Bend the elbows and imagine you’re trying to reach the top of your head to the floor. If you get there, brilliant! (pic 2)
Want more of a stretch? Clasp the hands behind your back and squeeze the shoulder blades together and pull your arms up as much as you can, as if you were trying to touch the floor over the top of the head. I’m not quite there yet due to a previous shoulder injury..! (pic 3)
Warrior II / Reverse Warrior
or Virabhadrasana / Viparita Virabhadrasana
Great for: Stretching the chest, groin and shoulders, strengthening legs and ankles, aids balance
From Mountain pose, step the left foot back so your feet are a little more than hip width apart. Make sure the side of the left foot is inline with the short edge of the mat and turn your hips and torso to be inline with the long, left edge of your mat.
Bend the right knee forward and really lean into it. Raise the arms up and extend the fingers away. Check that both of your arms are lined up and that neither are drooping down.
Next, check that your right knee is pointing forward. Avoid the knee falling in towards the big toe.
Hold this pose for 5-10 deep breaths.
Want more of a stretch? From your Warrior II, turn the palm of the right hand up towards the ceiling and raise your arm up, whilst lowering the left to your left leg. Stretch the right fingers away from the body and feel your right ribs expanding, this is your Reverse Warrior.
Keep that right knee bent and check your foot and knee alignment!
Step the feet back to mountain and repeat on the left.
Hopefully the poses over these two blogs are enough to get you practicing and enjoying yoga. Remember, it’s not all about cool contortions and balancing on one arm. It’s about connecting and listening to your body. Enjoy the process and let me know how you get on with the poses!