If you often wonder what is it about yoga that makes it so popular, you’re not alone. There is a lot of curiosity surrounding this ancient Indian tradition, which started out as a part of Hindu philosophy. After Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga in the West in the 1890s, its reach and popularity have soared further, mainly due to the fact that the benefits of yoga exercises live up to the hype that surrounds them.
Yoga is considered a way to unite the body and the mind. It is not only an effective way to achieve mental peace and spiritual awareness, but also a great way to exercise the body and keep it fit.
Yoga has a wide range of poses with varying levels of difficulty, to suit the abilities and fitness requirements of different individuals. Yoga exercises not only improve overall health, they can be used to cure specific ailments, as each yoga pose (asana) targets a different part of the body. They even help reduce stress and manage chronic medical conditions.
According to a 2009 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, doing yoga twice a week for two months significantly reduces the levels of depression.
Yoga Exercises – Four Poses Simple You Can Try Today
When you’re just beginning with yoga, it may be difficult to attempt many of the asanas unless you have high flexibility. Thankfully, there are certain simple asanas that even beginners can attempt easily and well. Here are some of them.
Often called the child’s pose, this asana will help you stretch your thighs, ankles, and hips, to increase their ability for movement. It can also give you relief from mild back pains.
- Begin this pose by kneeling down on the floor.
- Slowly lower yourself till you’re sitting on your shins.
- Keep your feet touching each other.
- Bend forward till your tummy is resting on your thigh.
- Bend further ahead and allow your forehead to touch the floor, without lifting your pelvic region.
This pose is great for improving your posture and increasing your height.
- Start by standing upright, with your feet close together and flat on the mat.
- Ensure that you’re neither leaning forward nor backward and your body weight is evenly distributed.
- Move your quads forward and allow your knees to rise a bit. Then pull your belly inwards as you stand on the tips of your toes. Raise your arms and stretch them outward to their fullest extent.
- Hold this posture for a few breaths.
- Slowly return to the original position and repeat the pose.
This pose will stretch your hamstrings and improve your flexibility.
- Begin this asana by standing upright on the mat.
- Bend forward slowly and let your hands rest by the side of your feet. This will immediately feel like you’re stretching your hamstrings.
- Repeat this pose a few times. Each time, ensure that you’re bending from the lower back in such a way that you can feel the expansion of your spine.
This poses helps strengthen your abdominals and stretches your spine.
- Kneel down on the mat or floor.
- Bend forward slowly and place your palms on the floor, mimicking the posture of a cat.
- Take a deep breath in and as you inhale, curve your spine outward.
- Hold your breath and this posture for a few seconds.
- As you exhale, bend your back inwards.
- Repeat this asana a few times.
Yoga exercises are designed to activate the muscles in the body and unite the resulting energy with the mind. As you become familiar with these basic poses, you can gradually attempt more sophisticated positions.
Like with any other fitness regime, it is always advisable to consult your physician before adding yoga to your exercise plan. Learning from an instructor is also recommended, as this can ensure that you’re getting firsthand information about every aspect of yoga exercises, such as proper alignment, breathing techniques, and posture benefits.