Develop balance, strength, and flexibility
Sara Eve Alarie
Everyone can do yoga! Discover some simple beginner poses for a healthy New Year.
Are you ready to set an intention for your health? Visit a yoga studio or practise our suggested yoga poses at home to increase vitality and balance. Yoga is something that everyone can do—it’s about tuning into your body and mind. Benefits of yoga Relaxation In yoga, you bring your attention to your breath and this can help elicit a relaxation response, or a calmness of mind and body. Improved sleep A study from Harvard found regular yoga practice may improve sleep quality. Several studies of older adults have shown that practising yoga can improve sleep duration and quality, anxiety, tension, well-being, and quality of life. Physical changes Yoga helps develop balance, strength, and flexibility. Spending time tuning into your body can help you become clear about your fitness goals. A gentle wake-up A morning yoga practice is a great way to ease into your day. Wake up 15 minutes early for a quick yoga practice and you’ll feel grateful that you started your day on a note of health. Tips for getting started Remember that how you feel in the posture is more important than how you look in the posture. Everyone can do yoga. Take introductory lessons Consider signing up for a four- or five-week series of introductory lessons to learn directly from an experienced and trained teacher. Learning with other beginners may help you feel more comfortable in instructor-led classes. Try not to focus on everyone else in the class. If your mind wanders, try to focus your mind on your breathing and to other sensations in your body. Eliminate distractions If you’re practising at home, find a space as free from distractions as you can manage. Even squeezing in a five-minute practice will provide benefits. Seek health care advice Seek advice from your health care practitioner before starting any new exercise program. These poses are not recommended for people who are new to yoga and have blood pressure issues or for women who are pregnant. Pause before you begin Take a few quiet moments to remind yourself why you are trying these poses. What are you trying to bring into your life? Ease? Strength? Flexibility? Balance? Relaxation? Lightness? Set an intention to bring one of these areas into your practice. Yoga talk You might hear these common terms in a yoga class.
|drishti||a focused gaze; keeping your gaze on one spot can help you balance your body and calm your mind|
|hatha yoga||usually gentle classes to bring balance; the word comes from the Sanskrit words ha (sun) and tha (moon)|
|mantras||syllables, words, or phrases that are repeated to create transformation; a type of prayer|
|mudras||symbolic gestures made with the body or hands; for example, bringing the hands together in prayer is known as Anjali Mudra|
|namaste||often said among yoga class participants at the end of a class, it’s the recognition of the light in each of us|
|Om||said to be the universal sound, om has four parts: ah-oh-m-silence; may be chanted at the end of yoga practice|
|pranayama||breath awareness; focusing on our breathing is important in yoga practice|
|props||aids such as blocks, blankets, bolsters, or straps that are used to make yoga poses more comfortable|
|Shavasana or Savasana||often the final relaxation posture during a class, also known as Corpse Pose|
Mountain Pose or Tadasana
Practice tip: Is your mind busy? Try mentally repeating “my spine is limber” on your inhalation and “my thoughts are clear” on your exhalation. Downward Dog Pose or adho mukha Svanasana
Practice tip: Is your mind busy? Try mentally repeating “my body is strong” on your inhalation and “my mind is focused” on your exhalation. Triangle Pose or Trikonasana
Practice tip: Is your mind busy? Try mentally repeating “my body is relaxed” on your inhalation and “my mind is still” on your exhalation. Tree Pose or Vrikshasana
Practice tip: Is your mind busy? Try mentally repeating “my mind is still” on your inhalation and “my body is balanced” on your exhalation. Note: If this is too challenging, you can also try Tree Pose lying on your back to begin.