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There is much you can learn from a competent teacher, but yoga is also well suited to solo exploration.  For some, finding classes that work with working out with groups is intimidating.  Always keep in mind though, that whether you choose to study under a teacher in a group class or practice on your own using these blogs as a guide,  yoga is an intensely personal discipline.

 

Dedicated Space

 

There’s no need to call in a carpenter to build you a home yoga studio.  Your goal is to simply reserve a quiet space withing your home – a space in which to retreat  for your yoga.

 

Make the World Go Away

 

The greatest challenge of practicing yoga on your own at home, rather than at a studio, lies in learning to shut out all the potential distractions.  Your phone, computer, television and family
can prevent you from concentration.  When practicing at home you therefore need to create a space in which you can block out those distractions.  Designate a room or area where you will always practice.  Make a schedule for time every day, five days a week.  The great thing about yoga is that you don’t need a lot of space – just the length of your yoga mat.  When traveling, you can pack your mat in your suitcase and roll it out whenever you are.

Yoga calls for very little equipment – just take a look at the increasingly popular outdoor yoga classes conducted in many parks.  Students have little more than a towel and yoga mat, and sometimes participants perform directly on the grassy surface with no equipment at all.

To begin your home practice, you need only a cushioned surface on which to work.  A thick towel, blanket, or rug will serve the purpose of protecting your back and joints during many seated and reclining poses, but purchasing a yoga mat is a wise decision – especially for standing and inverted poses that require you to shift your feet or hands.  Relatively inexpensive, it quite different from a Pilates mat or a padded gym mat.  A mat designed specifically for yoga is thin and sticky, so that you have traction to grip the floor with your hands and feet.


Clothing

 

During your yoga session, you want to focus on your movements and your breath – not on whether your too snug waistband is digging into your stomach as you fold over in Wide-legged froward bend or if your too loose shirt is flapping over your face when you try a shoulder stand.  These days, there are so many choices for yoga gear, but the key factor is ease of movement – look for comfortable form fitting tops and pants.  Ones that do not restrict or interfere with your movement.  Layering is also a good idea; for instance, wear a long sleeved hoodie over a tank top for your warm up session and then shed it as your core temperature rises during your practice.  You can always slip it aback on during your cool down poses.

Yoga calls for no special foot gear – in fact, leave off the socks and shoes.  Practicing in bare feet will help you ground your hands and feet into the floor.

 

 

Body awareness and Flexibility

 

We all have different levels of natural flexibility.  Strength and Flexibility are two traits that as humans, we need to work on constantly.  Don’t feel that you can’t take a yoga class or
begin working at home because you’re not flexible!  This is why we call yoga a ‘practice’.  Every one of us has a tendency toward either being more flexible or having tighter muscles, and in yoga you’re trying to find that balance between your strength and your flexibility.  Your body and mind are constantly changing and evolving – every time you come to your mat, you will feel different than you did the last time you did yoga.  That is what makes the yoga practice interesting.  You may do the same poses time and time again, and yet each time you’ll find something new to work on.  An advance practitioner is not necessarily someone who can come into the most challenging pose; being advanced is having the body awareness and control to work on each pose.

 

 

 

 

Here are some beginner-friendly yoga positions to help you ease into the awesome art of yoga.

 

 

 

 

1. Mountain Pose

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits: Improves posture, sense of center, mental clarity; solid breathing exercise

How to: Simply stand—feet hip-width apart, weight spread evenly—with your arms at your sides. Then breathe slowly and deeply at an even pace, keeping your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. You can move your hands and arms as you focus; some people take a prayer position or reach up to the sky for a stretch.

 

 

2. Downward Facing Dog

 

 

 

Benefits: Encourages full-body circulation; a great stretch for calves and heels

How to: Get on all fours with hands and knees shoulder-and-hips-width apart. Walk your hands forward and spread your fingers wide for stability. Curl your toes under

and carefully press your hips upward so your body looks like an inverted V with your knees slightly bent. You can get a stronger stretch by keeping your heels on the floor; “walk your dog” by alternately pressing your heels down.

 

 

3. Warrior Pose

 

 


YOGASMOGA - Free Shipping to USA & Canada js-progressive-image js-pinnable xs-col-12 xs-block img–loaded aligncenter” src=”https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr01/2013/7/9/9/enhanced-buzz-orig-16793-1373377363-35.jpg?downsize=715:*&output-format=auto&output-quality=auto” alt=”Sanskrit: VirabhadrasanaBenefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs and anklesHow to: Stand with your legs three to four feet apart. Turn out your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly. Keeping your shoulders down, extend your arms to the sides with your palms down. Lunge into your right knee 90 degrees; keep your knee over your foot and don’t let it go past your toes. Aim your focus over your hand for as long as you like then switch sides.” width=”414″ height=”254″ data-src=”https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr01/2013/7/9/9/enhanced-buzz-orig-16793-1373377363-35.jpg” data-mobile-src=”https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr01/2013/7/9/9/enhanced-buzz-orig-16793-1373377363-35.jpg” data-crop=”61.44″ data-mobile-crop=”61.44″ data-span=”1″ data-bfa=”@o:{ignore:[bfaBinder]};” data-pin-media=”https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr01/2013/7/9/9/enhanced-buzz-orig-16793-1373377363-35.jpg?downsize=715:*&output-format=auto&output-quality=auto” data-loaded=”1″ />

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles

How to: Stand with your legs three to four feet apart. Turn out your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly. Keeping your shoulders down, extend your arms to the sides with your palms down. Lunge into your right knee 90 degrees; keep your knee over your foot and don’t let it go past your toes. Aim your focus over your hand for as long as you like then switch sides.

 

4. Tree Pose

 

 

Sanskrit name: VriksasanaBenefits: Improves your balance; strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles, and spineHow to Take mountain pose. Then shift your weight onto your left leg. Keeping your hips facing forward, place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh and find your balance. When you’re there, take a prayer position with your hands. To kick it up a notch, reach your arms up as you would in mountain pose. Be sure to repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Improves your balance; strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine

How to:  Take mountain pose. Then shift your weight onto your left leg. Keeping your hips facing forward, place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh and find your
balance. When you’re there, take a prayer position with your hands. To kick it up a notch, reach your arms up as you would in mountain pose. Be sure to repeat on the other side.

 

5. Bridge Pose

 

 

Benefits: Strengthens your chest, neck, and spine; great warm-up for more intense backbends

How to: Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides. With your knees bent, press your feet into the floor as you lift your hips. Then clasp your hands under your lower back and press your arms down for support. Lift your hips until they are parallel to the floor as you bring your chest to your chin. Rookie mode: try pillows under your head and/or hips.

 

 

6. Triangle Pose

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits: full body stretch; strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles; relieves backache; well recommended for pregnant women.

How to: Take warrior pose on your right side without lunging into your knee. Then touch the inside of your right foot with the outside of your right hand. Reach up to the ceiling with
your left hand. Turn your gaze toward and past your left hand to stretch your back. Don’t forget to repeat it on the other side.

 

7. Seated Twist

 

Sanskrit name: Ardha matsyendrasanaBenefits: gives you an amazing stretch, especially after long hours sitting at the office; works the shoulders, hips, and neckHow to: Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh. Bend your left knee keeping your right knee pointed toward ceiling. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you to stay stable and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Twist to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen. Be sure to keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Do this on both sides.

Benefits: gives you an amazing stretch, especially after long hours sitting at the office; works the shoulders, hips, and neck

How to: Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh. Bend your left knee keeping your right knee pointed toward ceiling. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you to stay stable and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Twist to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen. Be sure to keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Do this on both sides.

 

 

8. Upward Facing Dog

 

 

Sanskrit name: Urdhva mukha svanasanaBenefits: Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and wristsHow to: Lie facedown on the floor with your thumbs under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor. Tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Keeping your shoulders down, push up and lift your chest off the ground. Relax and repeat.

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists

How to: Lie facedown on the floor with your thumbs under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor. Tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Keeping
your shoulders down, push up and lift your chest off the ground. Relax and repeat.

 

 

9. Pigeon Pose

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits: opens up the shoulders and the chest; great quad stretch

How to: Start in a push-up position, your palms under your shoulders. Place your left knee on the floor near your shoulders with your left heel by your right hip. Press your hands to the floor and sit back with your chest lifted. You can also lower your chest closer to the floor for a stretch. Try it on the other side.

 

 

10. Crow Pose

 

 

 

Benefits: Strengthens your arms, wrists, and abs; more of a challenge, but a great trick to pull out at parties

How to: Get into downward facing dog position. Then walk your feet forward until your knees touch your arms. Carefully, bend your elbows and lift your heels off the floor. Rest your knees against the outside of your upper arms. Keep your abs engaged and legs pressed against arms.

You can leave your toes on the floor or if you’re a pro, lift them off and hover. To do this, try to keep tucked tight, with your heels close to your butt. When you’re ready, push your upper arms against your shins and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis to help you with the lift.

 

 

11. Child’s Pose

 

 

Sanskrit name: BalasanaBenefits: lets you relax and breathe into your back; stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles; relieves back and neck pain.How to: Sit upright comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you. Extending your arms forward, lower your chest to your knees as close as you comfortably can. Hold the pose and breathe into your torso. Exhale and release to get deeper into your fold.

Benefits: lets you relax and breathe into your back; stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles; relieves back and neck pain.

How to: Sit upright comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you. Extending your arms forward, lower your chest to your knees as close as you comfortably can. Hold the pose and breathe into your torso. Exhale and release to get deeper into your fold.

 

Practice these and you’ll be a pro in no time!

 

 

 Jodie xxx

 

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  1. I took yoga years ago. Since I moved to Florida, I’ve been rather busy and have to watch the money. I have a yoga mat and taking yoga at home is a great idea! The poses here are a great start for me. I can always add to the poses. I don’t need any special clothes and the idea of practicing yoga whenever I want is intriguing to me.

    • The best advice I can give you to fit yoga into your lifestyle, is to get in the habit of doing a small routine as soon as you get out of bed and start your daily routine. You will be amazed at how much easier your day is 🙂
      Jodie

  2. I have wanted to try yoga and, your common-sense approach tells me that this could be an important benefit to my health and well-being.

    I suffer from back and leg pain and, based on what you are saying…it looks like if I may be able to relieve some of it, especially with the Triangle Pose and the Child’s Pose.

    Is it true that yoga can also benefit our immune system, too?

    Great information! Thanks!

    Jim

    • Yoga is amazing for the immune system Jim! Please give it a try. I recommend for you to go to a professional teacher firstly as you need to be shown the correct way to look after your body without pushing it with your back and leg pain.

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