For those who would like to strengthen and tone their body, and boost their mental wellbeing through yoga, here are seven simple beginners’ positions to try.
Based upon poses that promote improved control of the mind and body, yoga’s focus is on strength, flexibility and breathing. It can also help with weight loss, maintaining a balanced metabolism, and improving cardio and circulatory health.
Try these basic positions:
Stand with feet together and press down through all ten toes as you spread them open. Engage your quadriceps to lift your kneecaps and lift up through the inner thighs. Draw your abdominals in and up as you lift your chest and press tops of the shoulders down.Feel your shoulder blades coming towards each other and open your chest; but keep palms facing inwards. Imagine a string drawing the crown of the head up to the ceiling and breathe deeply in for five to eight breaths.
Downward facing dog
This pose strengthens arms and shoulders, tones core and waist, and brings blood flow to the brain.Move on to all fours with wrists under your shoulders and knees under hips. Tuck toes under and lift your hips up off the floor as you draw them up at back towards your heels. Keep knees slightly bent if hamstrings are tight, otherwise try and straighten out your legs while keeping the hips back. Walk your hands forward to give more length if you need to. Press firmly through your palms and rotate the inner elbows towards each other. Hollow out the abdominals and keep engaging your legs to keep the torso moving back towards the thighs. Hold for five to eight breaths.
From all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your legs up off the mat. Slide your heels back until you feel you are one straight line of energy from head to feet. Engage the lower abdominals, draw the shoulders down and away from the ears, pull ribs together and breathe deeply for eight-10 breaths.
Stand with feet one leg’s-length apart. Open and stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees. Engage quadriceps and abdominals as you hinge to the side over your right leg. Place your right hand down on your ankle, shin or knee and lift left arm up to the ceiling. Turn your gaze up to the top hand and hold for five to eight breaths. Lift up to stand and repeat on the opposite side.
Start with feet together and place right foot on your inner left upper thigh. Press your hands in prayer and find a spot in front of you to hold in a steady gaze. Hold for eight to 10 breaths then switch sides. Make sure you don’t lean in to the standing leg and keep abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed.
Stand with legs three to four feet apart, turning right foot out 90 degrees, left foot in slightly. Bring hands to hips and relax shoulders. Extend arms out to sides, palms down. Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle. Gaze over right hand. Stay for one minute. Switch sides. Repeat.
Start on all fours then bring knees and feet together as you sit back to your heels and stretch arms forward. Lower your forehead to the floor and let your body release. Hold for as long as you wish.A spokesperson for NetVoucherCodes.co.uk who researched positions, said: “Increased flexibility, muscle strength, respiration, energy and vitality are just some of the benefits of practising yoga regularly.”