Basic Yoga Poses

 

Before beginning a yoga workout it is important to know your body. Be able to identify what postures your body is currently unable to master. Do not try to force a pose because you are likely to use bad form, and you will not benefit from the pose. The following poses are just a few of the numerous possible poses. These postures are not to be rushed through. Practice balancing, meditating and breathing in these poses. After mastering these you can expand your knowledge and capabilities by taking a yoga class.

Padmasana
The lotus or padmasana pose. In this posture the body is meant to resemble a lotus flower in the fact that the body will be ideally perfectly symmetrical. Sit with your legs crossed. Your left foot should rest on your right thigh, and your right foot should rest on your left thigh. People often come to this pose to focus on meditation.

Trikonasana
Trikonasana or triangle, and it is used to teach your body to maintain a sense of direction. Your right foot should be facing forward while your left foot is turned out. While keeping your body facing forward, slowly bend and reach to your left foot with your left arm. Do not be concerned about reaching your foot. If you need to, you can rest your left arm on your shin. Extend your right arm straight toward the sky, and slightly turn your head to face your right hand. Remember to breathe deeply during the entire yoga workout. Then be sure to repeat the triangle on the other side in order to balance your body.

After you master the triangle you can move into the revolved triangle. The revolved triangle involves you switching the position of your arms and twisting your torso. Your right arm should reach toward your left foot, and your left hand should extent to the sky. Your head should follow your arm that is facing the sky.

Parshvakonasana
Parschvakonasana, also known as the side angle stretch, is similar to the triangle; however, this time you are going to bend your leg that is turned out. If you are bending your right knee, bend and place your right hand on the floor on the right side of your right foot, and then extend your left arm up and over your head. Make sure to keep your right foot turned out. Tilt your head again slightly toward the sky. If you can’t reach the ground, place your hand on your thigh. Hold the posture and breathe. Then repeat the pose on the other side.

Yoga Trikonasana

Are you choosing the correct Yoga class?

ashtanga-yoga-samakonasana

Are you choosing the correct Yoga class?
Article by Cris C.

WITH SO MANY STYLES OF YOGA AVAILABLE, IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FEEL CONFUSED ABOUT CHOOSING THE ‘RIGHT’ YOGA CLASS AND TEACHER.

Seeking a qualified instructor can be challenging, you have to trust your gut on some levels but on other levels there are certain basic qualifications for excellence if you want good results from the yoga practices you are learning. Be mindful and aware of your special needs and what it is you need to bring yourself into balance and try not to follow what the ‘latest yoga trend’ or even your ego may suggest.

Remember, yoga is about bringing harmony and balance to your mind and body. I am often asked by beginners in my class about how to evaluate a yoga teacher? The following items are usually listed in a teacher’s bio and are a good place to start the winnowing process. Is he or she certified? By whom? How long has she been teaching? How old is he? This last question is an important factor that is often over looked as experience is acquired with time not by qualifications.

As yoga has proliferated, so have yoga injuries. Part of the intrigue is also what makes it risky:

Increased flexibility is helpful for everyday living, and the ability to stretch can produce breathtaking forms. However, uncontrolled flexibility can result in muscle strains—or worse. For example, overstretched ligaments result in the destabilization of the structure, such as a knee joint. Common yoga injuries include hamstring pulls, sacroiliac dysfunction, rotator cuff injuries, strained lumbar vertebra, and medial collateral/lateral collateral ligament damage in the knees.

Alignment is crucial in posture work, as is an understanding of how to stabilize joints through strength while muscles are being stretched. It is time well spent to do some research on a potential teacher and the ‘right’ yoga class for you.

Some teachers or teachings may be too athletic for you, as some forms of yoga are highly athletic or Yang, such as Ashtanga and Bikram yoga. If you have an injury or illness, a Yin or gentle practice is essential until you are strong and your health is vibrant again and you are energetic enough to approach a more physically challenging or Yang practice.

Ask around as most teachers will invite you to try a class first for free without expecting you to pay for a several week session in advance. A knowledgeable and experienced teacher is not necessarily one who has a certificate or a pretty body and a peaceful demeanour or a fancy studio.

A master may be quite old, having practiced an entire lifetime, or quite young having been introduced to a lifetime of yoga as a child in a family that has practiced daily. One thing for sure, a good teacher will stimulate your mind and instil in your heart a deep and enduring respect for the depths of yoga. You should feel challenged but not so much so that you do not have ample opportunities to make progress quickly.

A good yoga teacher, remember, should be able to give masterful instruction of any of the postures she/he teach, move people toward the practice of kindness. Treat people kindly as she/he presents material to them. Care about others. Care about this world. Be a defender and protector and devotee of this earth. Teachers communicate and raise consciousness. Stay well-informed. Empathy and compassion are absolutely necessary.

Like the saying says, when you are ready, the teacher will appear. If you are truly seeking a real teacher, a real teacher will appear. Remember though that they, like you, are human and that the ultimate and true teacher is you, your intuition and your inner guidance which discerns all teachings and learns what you need to know for your own purpose, path and connection with source and all others.

So take what serves you from each teacher you meet respectfully and leave behind that which does not serve you personally. You are allowed to be discerning. Listen to the voice within and follow it as it will always guide you in the right direction. Namaste’

NB: This article was written by the author Cris Chi  for the elephant journal and published on May 16 2012