5 Basic Yoga Poses with alignment principles by Linda Prosché
Whether you have just stepped on the mat yesterday, last year, or have been practicing for a long time, can you honestly say you understand the fundamental principles of these 5 basic yoga poses? Let’s get you some HELP with a little information here and then, please join me in my upcoming yoga workshop, YOGA BASICS 101 for more in-depth info and fun!
Just like no teacher is the same, no studio is the same either. With two Yoga Therapists on staff certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists, we use alignment-based principles in these top 5 poses to help you connect to your body and breath.
There is nothing super fancy about it. You just get on the mat, put your limbs in the right place and take a shape. And then you start to breathe and you begin to feel your internal receptors, like cogs in a wheel, begin to connect……Ahhh… the magic just starts to happen! Try out these poses and experience the magic for yourself.
The Sanskrit names have been added behind the English translation so you can begin to recognize their association to one other. It’s not necessary to be a Sanskrit scholar to enjoy yoga, but eventually, you may be interested in knowing more.
To start, sit in a comfortable position elevating the hips above the knees using a folded blanket. Listen to your breath. Direct your attention to the inhale and exhale for several rounds. Now, let’s add some postures:
1. Child’s pose (Balasana): This kneeling forward bending pose creates a stretch in the low back and a place to rest and practice deep breathing. As a beginner, this is always an option whenever you need a break or, if a downward facing dog is too challenging. *A great pose for gently releasing low back tension! Place a block under your forehead for additional support
2. Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Coming out of child’s pose, curl toes under, hip-width distance and on the exhale straighten both legs. Shift the hips back and lift the armpits, belly, and ribs up. This pose is considered an inversion and an extension. It strengthens the arms, core and stretches the backs of the legs. Your weight should be evenly distributed between the wrists and shoulders and your heels press to the floor. Bending the knees allows the back to lengthen. *Brain Boost – This is a mild inversion and refreshes the blood in the brain, it helps to clear your mind of chatter and tension!
3. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana): On exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands, keeping the right knee aligned over the heel. You may find it helpful to place a block under each hand to elevate the upper body. Lower your left knee to the floor or blanket and relax the top of your left toes to the floor. Feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin as you breathe gently. (Once completed, step back and then step the right foot forward) Then, relax in pose #1 or #2. *Body Boost – This is one of the best poses to open the hips after sitting!
Baby Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Lie down on the floor, belly down with hands under your shoulders, elbows bent. On the exhale, press the pelvis to the floor and move the low belly to the back of the spine for stability. On the inhale, draw shoulder blades together and down. Lift your chest forward using your back muscles and less your arms. Keep your elbows bent, close to the body and focus on the arch of the upper back. Stay relaxed in the back of your neck by keeping your chin slightly down. Come down slowly and repeat or shift your hips back into the child pose.*Body Boost – This is a great pose to improve your posture by opening the chest and strengthening in the upper back
Corpse Pose (Savasana): This pose is usually at the end of a sequence. Lie on your back, arms resting gently by your sides, palms face up. “Give in” to gravity and let it support the process of resting, “letting go” and turning your focus inward. The breathing technique for this final pose is to direct your attention to the natural rhythm of the inhale and exhale. Notice if it has changed from the beginning of this practice. Rest for several minutes. Feel yourself slipping into a deeply peaceful state. * Body, Breath Brain Boost – The perfect pose to release stress in the entire body. Start with 3-5 breaths in each pose and then gradually increase to 5-10 breaths.
To jump-start your commitment to yoga or to continue your practice in an environment of committed yogis, SIGN UP for YOGA BASIC101 workshop on Saturday, September 15th, 1:30-3:30 pm. bring your mat, waterbottle and we have all the props. We also have available Sienna’s Comprehensive Asana Guide to continue to help you refine your alignment.
Master your basics and then check out Yoga Mountain’s special class offers and membership specials. We want to help you get on your mat, find your teacher, and start enjoying our yoga community.
Linda Prosché C-IAYT, E-RYT500