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Yoga Poses for Beginners

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga Poses for Beginners

Beginning your Yoga Journey? Here is a list of 5 yoga poses for beginners to start with.

Many of the things we do for fitness today involves rigorous strength training, such as weight training, running and cardio, but all of this comes at the expense of flexibility and the mental relaxation and mindfulness that yoga provides.

Along with the physical benefits of yoga, the breathwork involved in yoga allows our body to obtain the most benefits out of each physical posture we do.

If you find yourself intimidated to start your yoga journey, or maybe you’ve just been out of touch with your yoga practice and would like to start again, here are a few yoga poses for beginners you can try the next time you’re on the mat.

Finding yourself intimidated to start your yoga journey, here are a few yoga poses for beginners you can try the next time you’re on the mat.

Seated Forward Fold

A seated forward fold is a relaxing yet active stretch that improves flexibility as well as lengthens the spine and stretches your entire body. This pose helps relieve a lot of the stress that we hold in our bodies along with providing a gentle stretch to all the big muscle groups in our body.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

Even though this is a foundational yoga pose, a lot of yoga practitioners struggle with this pose. If you find yourself unable to reach your feet with your hands, rest your hands on your shins as you fold forward with your palms facing upwards as you keep your focus on lengthening your spine.

Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog is a wonderful foundational yoga asana that strengthens and stretches our entire body. This pose can sometimes feel challenging but over time with repetition, one can achieve all the great benefits that this pose offers.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This asana offers a deep stretch to our upper body as well as lower body. To start with, keep your knees bent and keep your attention on lengthening through the spine. You can also walk out your feet to engage both your legs individually.

If this pose feels challenging for you, try a puppy pose to start out with. Bring your knees down to the ground, and stretch your arms forward while lifting your hips and arching your back.

Bridge Pose

Bridge pose is a chest opening yoga asana. It is typically performed towards the end of a yoga session. It provides a gentle stretch to the back and one can reap the benefits of an inversion without physically being upside down.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This pose can be strengthening as well as restorative. While the more advanced variation involves interlacing your fingers underneath your back, you can also place your palms flat on the ground next to you to provide more stability. Lift your hips and place a bolster, cushion or yoga block directly underneath the sacrum to provide support to your lower back.

Triangle Pose

Triangle pose is a standing pose that is great for both advanced as well as beginner yoga practitioners as this asana has many variations one can use. It’s a great pose that improves both your physical and mental health.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

If it’s challenging to reach the floor with your hand, you can reach for your shin or your knee. Another variation is resting your elbow on your knee to provide more stability and support.

Child Pose

The child’s pose is a gentle beginner pose. Even though this pose may feel like rest, you’re actively engaging your back as well as your hips to achieve a gentle stretch throughout your body. It works as a great stretch to warm up your body before getting into more advanced poses. It also gives you the chance to reconnect with your breath.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This pose can be very calming and restorative. You can keep your knees together or separated depending on whichever pose feels more comfortable to your body. To achieve even more relaxation, place a cushion or a bolster underneath your chest for additional support.

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Want to learn more about yoga?

Our online yoga classes and memberships are completely beginner-friendly, with up to four live yoga classes each day suitable for new starters to yoga.

How do I stay motivated to practice yoga?

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

How do I stay motivated to practice yoga?

Staying motivated to get on yoga mat in the winter months

In the hustle-bustle of our everyday lives, when days go past and we find ourselves busy and surrounded by work deadlines, responsibilities, family or kids. It can get pretty hard to find the motivation to practice self-care and wellness, even when we know that yoga can help you feel better, but that’s precisely why it’s so important to care for our own mind and bodies all the more. Maybe you’ve always had a regular yoga practice but lately things have been busier than usual and you’ve fallen out of your daily yoga routine. Having a daily self-care routine can help bring balance into our lives with some simple lifestyle changes.

Now we’re into deep winter it can be even harder to get onto our mats. The dark cold mornings can dampen our motivation to get moving and the darker the evenings get the more we’d rather be under a blanket on the sofa than exercising at all.

It’s important to remember that a daily yoga practice can help keep you in a positive headspace, as well as helping you stay healthy and fit. Here are some ways you can make some active changes to your life by taking your attention inward. These tips can help you keep focused on maintaining these lifestyle changes by keeping yourself motivated.

It's important to remember that a daily yoga practice can help keep you in a positive headspace, as well as helping you stay healthy and fit

Here are 12 easy steps to help you stay motivated to practice yoga this winter

1. What's holding you back?

Bring your attention to what is holding you back from your yoga practice. Journaling can be particularly helpful here. For example, If you have unstable work hours and that’s keeping you from having a set time for your yoga routine, it may be helpful to do your yoga practice before a particular meal like breakfast or lunch. Bringing awareness to the obstacles keeping you from your routine can make it easier to find solutions.

2. Make getting started quick and easy

Try to make the process of getting started with your practice as quick and efficient as possible. If your home environment allows, keeping your yoga mat handy and in your sight can help you keep motivated. Try and keep your practice space clear so there’s no distractions deterring you from getting started.

3. Have your mat rolled out

If you like to practice yoga early in the morning when you wake up or before bedtime, lay your mat down in the night before you go to bed so that you’re ready to hop on it whenever you wake up. Having your mat rolled out and ready to go can also act as a visual reminder 

4. Start a spiritual diary

Start a spiritual diary where you can write about your health and well being, things that may be clogging your mind, your sleep routine, emotions, etc. If you don’t enjoy writing long entries, you can even start a small bullet journal highlighting the things you wish to achieve daily or the asana’s that you want to try, or anything that inspires you to want to practice yoga. Writing is a great way to bring your thoughts out into the world so that you can act on them. You can have your journal by your bed so that you can write before you go to sleep, or in the morning when you wake up.

5. Decide on your practice days

Decide on the days you would like to practice yoga. Start with 3 to 4 days a week and you can progress to more in your own time depending on your work-life schedule and your personal health goals.

5. Set a Sankalpa or use affirmations

Sankalpa or affirmations are positive statements and intentions that can help you overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them either in your mind or out loud, they can help change and rewire your thoughts to help you channel your energy in a particular direction. Set an affirmation to help make your yoga practice a natural part of your lifestyle. You can even sit and meditate on it for a few minutes daily as part of your yoga practice.

If you want to know more about how to set a Sankalpa read exactly how to do get started with our Kundalini Yoga Teacher Viriam

7. Start a challenge

Give yourself a yoga challenge to get you started! It can be anything from doing a 20 minute practice every day, to maybe being able to do an asana that you struggle with and want to work towards. Challenges like these are an awesome tool to keep you motivated to reach small goals.

8. Reward yourself more

Give yourself a reward for achieving your goals, or completing a challenge you’ve set for yourself. Even if it’s something as small as doing a yoga practice today, rewarding yourself can help you want to do more of it in order to achieve it.

9. Treat yourself to some new yoga goodies

Speaking of rewards, why not give yourself a new yoga mat, or some yoga blocks, or some new clothes for your practice? Maybe signing up to a new yoga class online can help inspire you to get on your mat again.

10. Try a completely new style of yoga

If the reason you’re practicing less and less everyday is the fact that your practice is getting boring for you, or maybe it’s getting too easy from doing the same asana’s or meditations repeatedly, try something new. Maybe you can try new breathwork exercises, yin yoga or try some restorative yoga. Move your practice around to help you find that excitement in your practice again

11. Short yoga practices still count

If you can’t manage a full 90-minute practice, that’s okay, keep your practice short! Even a short 15-30 minute practice can help you get the benefits of a full yoga session. Try to focus on a particular muscle group that may need a good stretch. Bringing your attention to your breath even for short bursts of time can help you feel more balanced throughout the day. 

Over on the Ālaya Yoga platform we’ve got loads of great express classes on our live schedule as well as in our video back so you can practice anytime.

12. Use social media as inspiration

If you find yourself scrolling through instagram or twitter on the daily, why not use that to your advantage and follow some of your favourite yoga practitioners to help you gain inspiration. You can even join one of the many yoga challenges available online. You can post about your yoga journey every once in a while to help keep you motivated. Try following some of our favourite social media yogis like Mark Robberds or Deepkia Mehta for some great yoga inspiration and the occasional challenge.

Let Alaya Yoga help you stay motivated

We’ve got loads of yoga motivation for you over on the Alaya Yoga app, including loads of express classes and challenges. If you’re not already a member you can try 10 days completely free.

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What is Holistic Yoga?

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

What is Holistic Yoga?

Yoga as a holistic health practice

The general understanding our society has about wellness is that it solely relies on physical health. While our physical health is an important part and contributes immensely to our overall wellness, our mental and our spiritual health is just as important but it is often overlooked.

The true meaning of yoga is “union”, and it’s this very union of our mind and body that makes yoga different from other forms of physical health practices. Yoga is a holistic science that embodies the union of our physical, mental and spiritual health. It can help us achieve mental equilibrium, as well as providing numerous health benefits for our body. Yoga as a practice encourages a lifestyle that focuses on balance, harmony, positive thinking and health. This is holistic yoga.

Asanas, breathing exercises and meditation are all part of, and essential to a complete yoga practice. This focus on the breath while performing asanas can help us achieve a sense of calmness during the practice that affects both our physical and our mental wellbeing, while also enhancing the benefits we would otherwise achieve without breathwork being a part of the practice. This is also one of the key elements that sets yoga apart from other physical workouts.

Asanas, breathing exercises and meditation are all part of, and essential to a complete yoga practice.

Holistic yoga for the body

Yoga consists of asanas that we hold for extended periods of time while we bring our focus to our breath so as to find a sense of calmness in our body that can help us relax deeper into each pose, and this process can also help calm our mental state so that our mind can catch a break from our otherwise busy and hectic everyday schedules.

This benefits our physical bodies and health in multiple ways. Just to name a few –

Yoga improves our overall flexibility, strength and mobility.

Yoga can help keep your lungs healthy and strong, thereby improving your oxygen intake and breathing.

It can help manage illnesses such as chronic arthritis. Gentle yoga can help people who have weaker muscles or suffer from tender or swollen joints.

It improves the health of our heart and is often recommended by medical professionals especially for people who’ve suffered from cardiac arrest.

• Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have more energy throughout the day.

• Like most forms of physical exercises, yoga can help boost the production of two hormones in the body essential to cultivating happiness – Oxytocin and Endorphins.

These are just some of the many health benefits that yoga provides.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have more energy throughout the day.

Yoga for mental health

Breathwork and meditation are an important facet of a yoga practice. Breathwork paired with asana’s can help us achieve the full benefits of yoga and this alters our everyday moods and our mental state for the better.Yoga is great for people who suffer from insomnia. It can help regularize our sleep patterns. A small practice before bedtime, or a small meditation can help people fall asleep more quickly and have a more restful sleep.

We face stress regularly in our day to day lives and yoga can help manage both stress and anxiety as well as prevent panic attacks before they occur.

A regular yoga practice can increase the size of our hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory. This in turn also affects the neural connections in our brain. These factors are especially important for older people as age can lead to degeneration of the brain over time.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from depression as well. A regular yoga practice can lead to people living happier lives and having a more positive outlook overall as it allows our minds to take a break from all the chaos that surrounds us and encourages us to find harmony and calmness within our own self.

When we practice asanas and breathwork daily, our focus and concentration gradually increases outside of the practice in our day to day activities as well.

Yoga affects our mental health in various ways, and positively reinforces our daily moods and outlook towards life.

Union of the mind and the body

Breathwork and meditation are an important facet of a yoga practice. Breathwork paired with asana’s can help us achieve the full benefits of yoga and this alters our everyday moods and our mental state for the better.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from insomnia. It can help regularize our sleep patterns. A small practice before bedtime, or a small meditation can help people fall asleep more quickly and have a more restful sleep.

We face stress regularly in our day to day lives and yoga can help manage both stress and anxiety as well as prevent panic attacks before they occur.

A regular yoga practice can increase the size of our hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory. This in turn also affects the neural connections in our brain. These factors are especially important for older people as age can lead to degeneration of the brain over time.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from depression as well. A regular yoga practice can lead to people living happier lives and having a more positive outlook overall as it allows our minds to take a break from all the chaos that surrounds us and encourages us to find harmony and calmness within our own self.

When we practice asanas and breathwork daily, our focus and concentration gradually increases outside of the practice in our day to day activities as well.

Yoga affects our mental health in various ways, and positively reinforces our daily moods and outlook towards life.

Ready to try a holistic approach to yoga?

Join our team of expert teachers who are all trained to teach holistic and traditional yoga. Try 10 free days of Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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