When you hear the word yoga, what pops into your head? If you imagine a freakishly in-shape woman with her legs bent over her shoulders like a pretzel, you are not alone.
People who do yoga regularly have a reputation for being flexible and super chill, but many of them didn’t start out that way.
When you wipe away all the cryptic sanskrit yoga jargon, over-the-top upscale studios, or nauseatingly complicated poses, you can see how yoga really is for everyone.
In a nutshell, yoga is simply the combination of breath control, meditation, and movement through specific body postures. And by beginning a simple yoga regimen, anyone can begin to see positive results, says yoga instructor Elaine Hernandez Martins.
Benefits of Yoga Practice
Health benefits of practicing yoga, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Increasing flexibility
- Building strength
- Improving balance
- Enhancing respiratory functioning
- Aiding digestion
- Alleviating head pain
- Lowering your levels of the stress hormone cortisol
Practicing poses will also lead to a deeper mind-body connection.
As you learn to do yoga poses, you may begin to become more aware of your breath and the way your body moves during the exercises. This attention to your breath moving through the body is really the foundation of a mind-body connection. This is how yoga turns physical exercises into a way to become more mindful, and aids in developing a meditation practice.
5 Yoga Poses Anyone (Even You!) Can Do
If you want to try a few beginner postures at home before heading to the studio, check out these five poses that provide all of the yoga health benefits without any potentially embarrassing or dangerous mishaps.
Whether you are overweight or fit, young or old, strong or weak, yoga is accessible to you. All you need is a chair and some floor space.
“With every movement, try and move slowly, remembering to breathe as you move. Try and hold the poses for at least 10 slow breaths,” Martins says.