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Yoga Poses For Beginners

The health benefits of practicing yoga are constantly discussed by fitness gurus and scientific researches alike: practicing yoga has been linked to reducing stress, increasing flexibility and helping heal back pain. The benefits cannot be ignored and yet for beginners who are new to yoga, unrolling your mat in a class full of pros can be intimidating. If you are brand new to yoga, there are certain poses that you can learn that will help you feel more comfortable in your yoga class or at home. 

The most important thing to understand about yoga is that most of the benefits arise from the focus on your breath and your bodies abilities, not about how well you can do a fancy pose. Therefore practicing these simple poses a few times a week will have you confidently practicing yoga and reaping its multiple benefits. 

Upward Salute
This is the perfect move to get you centred and build a foundation for the rest of the moves you will be learning.
How to: Start in a standing pose. Inhale, and stretch the arms alongside your ears reaching for the ceiling

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
How to: Fold forward over the legs. If your hamstrings are tight or the floor feels far away, bend the knees. Keep the spine lengthening towards the earth by reaching towards the floor, pressing your shoulder blades towards into your chest. Relaxing the neck, breath out to initiate the pose. 

Plank to lowered plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
The plank pose is a great starting point for any yoga beginner. 
How to: Stack your shoulders over your wrists and stand strongly on the balls of your feet, pressing your heels back in space to energise your legs.
To tailor this pose to meet your growing strength or to respect an injury, put your knees down on the ground for more support underneath so you can grow the pose organically overtime.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)  
This is a great beginners pose to counteract the effects of sitting for hours at a desk from an office job. 
How to: Lie face down on the ground with the tops of your feet pressed towards the floor. Place your hands underneath the elbows or slightly forward and press down into the floor. Lift your chest away from the floor and roll your shoulders away from the floor so that the chest can open.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)
This posture is considered foundational to the yoga practice. As a beginner you may feel as though your heels cannot reach all the way to the floor, again it’s not about making it look perfect just as long as they are reaching towards the floor. 
How to: Starting from the cobra’s pose, tuck and curl your toes under and use the strength of the arms to push the hips up and back. Strengthen through the arms, pressing your hands into the ground. 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This posture is excellent for resting or for coming back to centre and equilibrium. This pose is also great before bed to work out the kinks, or any time you need a mental break and stress/tension relief. 
How to: From a kneeling starting position with your knees on the floor, sit your hips back to the heels and ground your forehead to the mat (or pillow/blanket) and let your entire body release. 

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