Well done in completing Week One of my Beginner’s Yoga Class!
Learning something new can be quite effortful and there was a lot of information for you to digest. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you remember very little from the practice. That is why I have put this blog together so you can refer to the information when you wish.
Sanskrit Word of the Week:
Pronouced: Nah – mes – stay
When to use: In yoga, we use ‘Namaste’ to finish a class with our hands at heart centre and it is a sign of mutual respect. It means ‘the light in me, honours the light in you’.
It can also be used as a greeting (Hello & Goodbye)
Yoga Style of the Week
Hatha Yoga is a slower style of yoga where you can hold the asana’s for a little longer (e.g 5 breaths). Although the style is traditionally slower, it does not mean it is any easier. You have time to connect to your breath, explore and perhaps get a little deeper in to each asana. This is my favourite kind of yoga and is the style of Yoga that we are doing on this course. If you see Hatha Yoga on a time table, expect a slower pace, lots of floor work and an opportunity to relax and destress.
Did you know?
The muscles in between each rib are called the Intercostal Muscles. They help the ribcage expand as you breathe. These muscles, exactly like the other muscles in your body, can also become tight and stiff when not used fully – i.e when we constantly take short, shallow breaths. Not being able to take full, deep breaths because our Intercostal Muscles are tight can cause anxiety. Moving the spine and our bodies in yoga can help free up these muscles and may help reduce this anxiety.
After the initial relaxation phase and some light mobilisation, we went into some Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). You can find the version we did in the practice on my YouTube channel. Use the link below if you would like to go over this to build your confidence or have a practice.
Below are the seven main asana’s (poses) that we practice in week 1 of my Beginner’s Yoga Course. You will find a photo of each asana and a few details on how to do them and their benefits.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Dog
- Weight equally distributed between all four points: hands and feet
- Bend your knees to get your hips higher but do not let the knees cave in
- Gently pull your belly button to the spine to support you keeping a flat back
Stretches and strengthens arms, shoulders and legs. May also be calming and stress relieving for some.
2. Ardha Bhujangasana / Mini Cobra
- Keep the shoulders back and down
- Root the hips and feet into the floor- squeeze your bum
- Use your back muscles to lift the breast bone off the floor, your hands supporting
Strengthens back, bum and legs, Stretches the front body and hips flexors.
3. Uttanasana / Forward Fold
- Take your feet as wide as needed
- Take a bigger bend in the knees to straighten the back and feel more comfort
- Think about pushing your heels into the mat and lifting your hips to the sky
Strengthens and stretches the legs. Some find this pose helps with digestion as well as helping reduce anxiety.
4. Ardha Vasisthasana / Half Side Plank
- Press the outer edge of the foot into the floor as well as the shin and top of foot of the bent leg.
- Lift hips high, knit navel to spine
- Bottom hand can be directly under shoulder or slightly in front
Strengths core, shoulders and legs. Stretches the side body.
5. Vibradrasana II / Warrior II
- Press both feet firmly into the mat, weight spread equally between them
- Aim the front knee towards the little toe
- Keep the shoulders back and down, look at the front hand
Strengthens the legs and core. Stretches the groin. Will help to build stamina.
6. Ardha Matsyendrasana / Half Fish
- Legs are the secondary focus for us as beginners, focus on the spinal twist instead
- Breathing in: Reach up tall with the crown of the head to create space in the spine
- Breathing out: Gently twist from the sternum, don’t over stretch your neck
Mobilises our mid back and keeps spine healthy. Can help with digestion and detoxing.
7. Baddha Konasana / Cobblers Pose
- Lift the hips higher (sit on pillows) to relax the knees if needed
- Relax shoulders back and down away from the ears
- Ground sit bones into the mat, while reaching up tall with the crown of the head
Stretches the groin, legs and (if folding forward) lower back. May stimulate internal organs