Basic Yoga Asanas for Beginners: Benefits and Contraindications
by MedPlus Team, January 20, 2021
Yoga has recently become a very popular and significant means of achieving a healthy and positive lifestyle. People have started realizing the benefits of yoga worldwide, and many have already made it a permanent part of their lifestyle. There are various types of yoga asanas or poses available, designed and meant for beginners to professionals. If you are new to yoga, starting with simple Yoga asanas for beginners is the most reasonable option for you. And that’s exactly what this article will guide you with.
But first, what exactly is yoga?
Yoga is usually defined as a practice of breath control and relaxation along with physical exercises (commonly known as asanas) and meditation. Performing an asana is basically to sit, stand, or lie down in a comfortable position steadily for a short or an extended period, which depends on our capability to remain in that asana. This capability improves when we perform simple yoga asanas regularly.
Why should I perform yoga?
A few of the most common benefits of basic yoga poses include:
- Lowers stress levels
- Boosts body metabolism
- Increases body flexibility
- Helps develop confidence
- Naturally boosts immunity
- Improves digestion in the body
- Reduces anxiety; elevates mood
- Enhances increased motivation & ability to focus
Some basic yoga asanas for beginners
Though few of the basic yoga poses for beginners can seem a little intense in the beginning, you tend to become comfortable with practice. While there are 100s of asanas that exist, let us see our top 8 picks for beginners:
1. Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose
It is one of the basic yoga asanas for beginners. Stand with your feet apart (distance between feet to be more than shoulder-width gap). Then, move your right foot out at 90 degrees while still keeping the leg closer to your torso. Keep your feet pressed to the ground, and make sure to have equal pressure on both feet. Inhale deeply and while exhaling, bend your right arm & touch the ground with your right hand while your left hand goes up in the air. Keep in check that your body is bent sideways instead of backward or forward. Keep taking deep breaths while you are in this position. Repeat the same procedure on the other side.
It helps in reducing excess body weight, strengthens legs and arms, and helps in improving digestion.
It is one of the standing poses of yoga that extends into an inverted position hence should be avoided if you suffer from high or low blood pressure, any back injuries, or migraines.
2. Naukasana or the Boat Pose
Lie on your back on a mat (flat, hard surface) and keep your feet together with your hands on the side. Then, take a deep breath and softly lift your chest and feet off the ground as you exhale. Further, stretch your arms in the direction of your feet. Hold this position till you feel a little amount of tension in your abdominal area or around your navel as the muscles present there begin to contract. Come back to the ground as you exhale and relax.
This asana tightens your abdominal muscles and tends to strengthen your upper back as well as your shoulders.
3. Vrikshasana or the Tree Pose
Place your right foot on your thigh. The sole of your foot should be flat & firm. Make sure to keep your left leg straight and firm as you try to find balance. Now, inhale and raise your arms over your head & slowly join your palms. Keep your spine straight and take deep breaths. Then, exhale and bring your hands down gently. Also, bring your right foot on the ground. Repeat the same procedure with the other side.
Vrikshasana improves the strength of your back and legs and tends to improve your balance when practiced regularly for a substantial amount of time.
4. Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose
Lie down on your stomach with your toes flat and your feet together. Keep your hands near your shoulders. Then, as you inhale, straighten your arms and lift them along with your waist and head. Ensure to keep your elbows unbent and put equal pressure on both of your palms. Tilt your head backward and keep your shoulders away from your ears. Exhale as you return to the former position.
The cobra pose improves blood circulation and strengthens the lower back and muscles of your arms. It also increases the flexibility of your spine.
If you suffer from a hernia, headaches, back injuries, or have recently undergone any abdominal surgery, avoid this asana. Also, do not perform this asana if you are pregnant.
5. Sukhasana or the Comfort Pose
Sit down on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your left leg and place it beneath your right thigh and take your right leg and place it beneath your left thigh. Place your hands on your knees. Keep your spine straight. Close your eyes and relax your body as you breathe in and breathe out deeply.
It calms your mind and enhances your peace of mind. It also helps in improving body posture. Along with mental and physical benefits, it also helps in getting in touch with your spiritual side.
An advanced version of this pose would be the Padmasana. We will shortly have an article on this.
6.Balasana or the Child’s Pose
Bend your knees and sit on the ground on your heels. Your hips should rest upon your heels. Now, lower your head on the ground and bring your arms on your side as your hands rest near your hips. Press your chest and thighs together and breathe slowly.
Closed eyes while listening to the sound of your own breath is the best way of performing this yoga pose for beginners.
This pose is mentally, physically, and emotionally relaxing. And usually used as a bridge between 2 poses especially in cases of advanced yoga asanas.
7. Chakrasana or the Wheel Pose
Lie down on your back on the ground. Fix your hands firmly on the ground as you raise the middle part of your body up in the air. Raise it as high as possible. Your body must appear as a semi-circle. Then, keep your head downwards in between your arms. Chakrasana is an inverted pose yoga that should be performed for only a few seconds in the beginning and with increasing practice, you may perform it for 2-5 minutes; as per reasonable discretion.
It cures back and kidney pain. It also helps in stimulating the thyroid and pituitary glands.
8. Shavasana or the Corpse Pose
Lie down on your back on the mat. Keep your legs straight and keep some distance between your arms and your torso. Loosen and relax your limbs. Now, breathe in deeply and breathe out continuously. Keep your eyes closed and think that your body is becoming loose. Feel complete relaxation for 10-15 minutes. Everyone can perform basic yoga poses like Shavasana very easily. It takes minimal effort and provides many benefits.
Shavasana is a relaxation pose and hence relaxes the entire body. It cures many psycho-somatic issues. It improves memory and concentration and increases memory levels.
Weren’t these yoga poses for beginners simple and great? Nevertheless, when you self-practice, it is always best to follow precautions and note the contraindications for every yoga/gym exercise you do. And nothing as good as getting in touch with a professional yoga instructor!