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Yoga is a practice for anyone of any age looking to strengthen the body and generate clarity of the mind.
To get started with your yoga journey, you’ll need a yoga mat, strap, blocks and an open mind to begin your practice.
Most people like to take a class to start their practice. Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers offer many yoga classes for the beginner. Check out these classes, to name a few: Yoga 101, Yoga for the Inflexible and Peace and Calm Meditation.
As you build a regular yoga practice, you could start with the following nine yoga poses. As with any exercise program, you should get clearance from your physician before you begin. Try to move slowly through each pose by holding the pose for a few deep breathes (inhale and exhale though the nose). Remember to breathe and rest if needed.
Gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and relaxes your spine, shoulders and neck.
Start on your hands and knees. Sit back on your heels. Bring your big toes together and separate your knees a little wider than your hips. Lay your forehead on the mat and lay your arms palms up comfortably on the sides of your thighs or over head as pictured. As you breathe, focus on relaxing the muscles of the spine and lower back.
Works on toning the core, shoulders, arms and legs.
Start on all fours. Shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Index fingers pointing forward as your fingers are spread wide. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then spread them away from the spine as you spread your collarbones away from the sternum and look straight down to the floor. Keep your body and neck in alignment.
Strengthens the back muscles, increase spinal flexibility and stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders.
Keeping your arms bent, press your chest toward the ceiling. Yoga classes typically end with this pose. It allows for a moment of relaxation, but some people find it difficult to stay still in this pose. However, the more you try this pose, the easier it is to sink into a relaxing, meditative state.
Stretches the hamstrings, calves and feet arches while strengthening the shoulders, arms and back.
Inhale and exhale as you focus on evenly distributing your weight through your palms while lifting your sitz bones (sitting bones) back and away from your shoulders.
Improves balance and strengthens your core, ankles, calves, thighs and spine.
If needed, place one of your hands on a wall for support. Place your foot on your ankle or calf. Place hands together in front of your chest or raise your hands in the air.
Stretches hamstrings and calves.
Use blocks if you cannot reach the floor. Reach arms overhead, sweep your arms down on either side of your body to come into a forward fold from your hips with your fingertips in line with the toes. Press your palms flat to the mat if you can. Slight bend in the knees. Engage your quadriceps muscles and draw them up. Let your head hang.
Builds strength in the legs and stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves, spine, chest, shoulders.
With your legs split, place front foot pointed forward with your heels inline and your back-foot angles forward. Engage your front thigh muscle as you reach forward past your front toes. Lower your right hand down onto your shin, ankle or block. The shoulders are stacked as you open your chest, reaching your left fingertips toward the ceiling while keeping your shoulder rooted in its socket. Look toward your arm on top or stay neutral. Keep knees softened. Repeat on other side.
Seated Half-Spinal Twist Pose
Increases the flexibility in your back, while stretching the shoulders, hips and chest.
It can also help relieve tension in the mid-point of your back. Sitting tall through your spine, place one hand on the floor behind you and bend the knee on that same side toward your body. Before twisting, make sure you are sitting tall. Place your elbow on the outside of the bent knee.Look over your shoulder and breathe. Repeat to the other side.
Your yoga session is not complete without the most relaxing of all poses, the Corpse Pose.
Lay on your back with straight legs, allowing your legs to fall open to either side. Relax your arms to the sides away from your body with palms facing upward. Shoulders are tucked into the mat. Relax into the pose and release any effort of holding on to the position. Let your face relax and allow your body to sink into the mat. Breath naturally for about 5 minutes. Bring your thoughts back to your mat if your mind starts to wonder.
Come out of this pose slowly by wiggling your fingers and toes to awaken your body. Reach overhead and pull your knees into your chest. Roll over to one side into a fetal position for a few more breaths. Come into a sitting position.
Our Fitness Centers offer a variety of yoga classes for every skill level. Search yoga classes.
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