Type ‘Yoga Poses’ into google and you’re bombarded with images of lycra-clad gymnasts folded up like paper clips.
So, it’s hardly surprising that many beginners get scared off before they even begin. Which is such a tragedy, given that yoga is actually designed for ‘every body’.
The word Asana (often referred to as ‘posture’) simply means ‘seat’ and is defined in the classical yoga texts The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as a place ‘to be seated in a position that is firm but relaxed’.
In fact, the original purpose of asana practice was to prepare the body for sitting in meditation; by loosening up the joints and opening up the subtle energetic channels.
Sadly, the true essence of this ancient practice has become lost, with a disproportionate (& largely, media-driven) focus on the aesthetic side effects of yoga poses; such as flexibility, core strength and the famed ‘Yoga Body’.
And while weight loss might be a welcome by-product of yoga poses, it barely scratches the surface of their potential to transform your body, your mind and your life.
Discovering beginners’ yoga poses
The best yoga teachers are not those that impress you with amazing choreography (although classes like this can be a lot of fun!), but the teachers that help you to find your ‘seat’. A place where you feel steady, firm and comfortable, right where you are at that moment.
Yoga poses are essentially a vehicle for realising a sense of ease throughout your life.
And behind the facade of yoga gymnastics, in reality, there are hundreds of basic yoga poses that are simple, accessible and enjoyable for beginners. You’re never too old to practise yoga, you don’t need any special skills and there are lots of modifications on offer if you have an injury. There are even specific pregnancy yoga poses that can help prepare women for the birth of their babies.
Yoga really is a practice for life and you’ll discover that many seemingly easy yoga poses can have a profound impact on your health and wellbeing,
So, where to begin?
While any good teacher will be able to give you simple yoga pose instruction, getting to grips the basics can prove challenging in a dynamic class of 50 students.
So, if you are new to yoga, it is well worth setting up the foundations for your practice.
Here at BodyMindLife, our Essentials classes are designed to teach you the key movements over a nine-week programme – each week has a different focus; from learning Sun Salutations to balancing poses, and make starting a yoga practice easy.
You begin at the very beginning, learning about the importance of the breath and how props can be used to make yoga poses easier. Then you work step-by-step through the most common beginners’ yoga poses, such as Tadasana (the mountain), Virabadrasana (warrior) and Trikonasana (triangle) before moving into easy backbends and twists and the simple yoga sequence Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun).
Classes are taught in workshop style, so there’s plenty of opportunity for demonstrations and questions and each yoga pose is broken down into easy, bite-sized chunks.
With this kind of introduction to yoga, you’ll quickly fall in love with the practice. And even as a beginner, you’ll soon find that you’ve mastered the basic yoga poses and are ready to start playing in an Open yoga class.
Check out our Essentials classes on the yoga classes timetable