If you have only started doing yoga, here are 10 easy basic yoga poses that you will soon become very familiar with.
Everyone has to start from the beginning, even the seasoned yogis who get into challenging yoga poses and inversions. Everyone began from basic yoga poses, then build their strength and flexibility from there. So do not feel self-conscious or embarrassed that you are unable to balance well or complete an inversion. However, to speed up your familiarity of yoga, here are 10 basic yoga poses that are easy to achieve.
Mountain or adasana
This is the starting position for all standing poses. It helps you to be grounded, and provides stability and confidence.
- Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart, and your toes parallel to each other.
- Ground yourself with your feet using your big and small toes and both sides of the heel. Feel your leg muscles engage.
- Look straight ahead, take a deep breath and let your shoulders loosen so that the shoulder blades are rested.
- Focus on your breathing—inhale and exhale deeply.
Crescent Moon or chandrasana
This pose lengthens your body as it strengthens the side abdominals and intercostals. It gently warms up the shoulders and hips, while at the same time enhancing balance through your feet and legs.
- From the Mountain pose, bring your hands up towards the sky and lock your fingers.
- Stretch your body up towards the ceiling.
- Lock your elbows and try to minimise the gaps between your arms and ears. Inhale and lean back a little to open up your chest and rib cage.
- Exhale and slowly bend your body at the waist to the right. Keep your chin up.
- Slowly inhale, and return to an upright posture.
- Repeat the bend to the left.
Standing Forward Bend or usttanasana
This provides a good stretch to the hips, calves, and hamstrings while activating the abdominal muscles, thighs, and knees. It assists in relieving tension in the back, neck, spine, bringing about relaxation.
- From the Mountain pose, bring your feet together. Bend your knees slightly and feel the weight centred on the balls of your feet.
- Inhale and stretch your arms over your head. Slowly exhale while bending forward at the waist. Hold your ankles with your hands.
- Keep your neck long and relaxed.
- Breathe in and out deeply, and hold for 5 seconds.
- Bring your hands to your hips. Inhale and raise your upper body up to an upright posture.
Downward Dog or adho mukha svanasana
This pose is a resting pose that helps you in transitioning in to other poses. It tones the hands and feet, and elongates the spine. It also helps calm the nervous system, and stimulate the digestive system.
- From the Mountain pose, move into the Standing Forward Bend but instead of holding your ankles, place your hands on the mat shoulder-width apart.
- Ground your palm and fingers.
- Take a deep breath, and step backwards with one foot first followed by the other, creating an inverted V-shape with your body.
- Balance your weight your feet. Your heels can be fully flat on the ground if it feels more comfortable for you.
- Hold this pose until you transition into the next pose. Wiggle your toes to warm up your lower limb muscles.
Warrior I or virabhadrasana
One of the most recognisable yoga poses, it conveys strength and empowerment. It tones the lower body and core, facilitates the internal rotation of the legs, opens the chest, and provides uplifting energy as it is being done.
- From the Downward Dog position, bring your right foot forward and place it between your hands. Ensure that your foot is not in the centre, but slightly closer to your right hand.
- Distribute your weight evenly between both feet then roll your upper body in to an upright position.
- A good tip is to reach your right hand backwards and grab your left inner thigh such that you tilt your body more to the right.
- Once you are standing stable, slowly reach both hands up towards the sky.
If you wish, you can move into Warrior II—twist your upper body to the left but keep looking ahead while simultaneously bringing both arms down to stretch out from the side of the body, ensuring that arms remain parallel to the ground.
This is a strengthening pose for the back, shoulders, arms, chest, and abdominals, as it tones the butt. It also provides relieve from stress, improves digestion, and elevates your mood.
- From Downward Dog, bend the knees so that they touch the mat and lower your chest to the mat.
- Keep both palms firmly planted on the mat while both feet face the sky.
- Exhale and straighten your arms while you lift your chest above the ground and straighten your legs so that the front thighs touch the mat.
- Look upwards and engage your core muscles.
Plank or uttihita chaturanga dandasana
Tone the abdominals and core area, increase flexibility, improve your posture and balance, and reduce back pain.
- From the Mountain pose, lean forward and touch the ground with your hands, bending your knees as much as you need to.
- Once all your hands and feet are flat on the ground, step your legs back one at a time. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet.
- Ensure that your hands are perpendicular to the ground and shoulder-width apart. Pull your abdominal muscles in so that they do not sag but do not let them rise to form an arch.
- Engage your leg and arm muscles. Hold your core and take a few deep breathes.
Standing Back Bend or anuvittasana
This pose opens the front of the body, and aids in strengthening the cardiovascular, endocrine, and respiratory systems.
- From the Mountain pose, ground yourself with your feet and stand square with your shoulders relaxed.
- Bring your hands together in the front, then raise them above your head as you tilt your head back to look up at the sky.
- Inhale and lift yourself up tall through the crown of your head, focusing on pulling your abdominal muscles in and keeping the core strong.
- Exhale and arch your body backwards slowly. Settle as far as it is comfortable. You can keep your neck straight, look forward or let your head fall back.
- Hold for three to five breaths. As you slowly return to Mountain pose, use your palms to support your back and core.
Child’s pose or balasana
This is a pose that gives a restorative and nurturing feel. It lengthens the spine with its gentle stretch, while at the same time releasing tension in the back, shoulders, and chest. It also gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. When in this pose, you will feel a sense of calm in your mind and body. Breath steady and strong as you hold the pose.
- Sit with your knees apart and butt resting on your heels. the back of your feet should be facing up with the front of the toes flat on the ground.
- Sit up straight and lengthen your spin through the crown of your head. Inhale deeply.
- Exhale and bend your upper body forward so that your torso rests between your thighs and your forehead touches the ground. Close your eyes.
- Stretch your arms out so that they are at the side of your head, and place palms facing flat down on the mat.
- Let your upper back expand as you relax your lower back. Allow the tension in your neck, shoulders, and arms to drain away.
- Hold for a minute or longer.
Corpse pose or savasana
This is one of the most difficult poses, as many people struggle to find peace within them to relax—the art of relaxation is tougher than it seems. This pose creates the conditions for you to slowly enter a relaxed state, and it becomes a good starting point for meditation.
- Lie on your back on your yoga with legs and arms stretched out from the body at a 45-degree angle. Your feet should turn out and your palms are facing up.
- Close your eyes and breath from your core, pushing your muscles out as you inhale. Inhale for five counts, then exhale for five counts.n.
Once you have these 10 basic yoga poses down, you can quickly and easily move on to more challenging yoga poses. Keen to show off what you have mastered? Head to SOULSCAPE 2016, Singapore’s Most Iconic Mindful Movement Festival. See you there, and we shall do these 10 poses together!