English Name: Warrior I
Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana I
Yoga Level: 1
Benefits: Stretches the shoulder, stomach, groins, chest and lungs, strengthens the arms, muscles in the back, shoulder, thighs, calves and ankles.
How to do it: Start by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Exhale deeply, step your right foot forward. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other. Stretch your fingertips and focus on all of your energy on your arms. Draw the coccyx in and make sure your back is straight. Turn your left foot in at a 45 to 60 degree angle and make sure your right foot is 90 degrees to the right. Align the right heel with the left. Exhale and rotate your torso to the right. Arch your upper torso back slightly. Breathe.
With your left heel firmly anchored to the floor, exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Keep your arms strong, lift your ribcage away from the pelvis. Ground down through the back foot. If you can, bring the palms together. Keep your head in a neutral position, gaze forward and look up at your hands. Breathe, smile, enjoy.
Stay in this pose for thirty seconds and work towards holding it for a minute. To come up, inhale, press the back heel firmly into the floor and reach up through the arms, straightening the right knee. Turn the feet forward and release the arms with an exhalation, take a few breaths. Next, turn the feet to the left and repeat for the same length of time. When you’re finished return to Mountain Pose.
English Name: Mountain Pose
Sanskrit Name: Tadasana
Yoga Level: 1
Benefits: Tadasana is a standing pose, it can improve posture, strengthen thighs, knees and ankles, reduce flat feet, it can firm the abdomen and buttocks and can relieve sciatica.
How to do it: Mountain Pose seems like an easy pose but there is definitely more to it. Start by standing in the middle of your mat, or at the end, which ever you prefer. Stand with the bases of your big toes touching and have your heels apart slightly, so that your second toes are parallel. Spread your toes and the balls of your feet, place them softly on the mat.
Rock back and forth and side to side and gradually reduce the swaying until you are standing still. Make sure that your weight is evenly distrubuted through your feet. Firm your thigh muscles and lift the knee caps. Lift the inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches of the feet. Imagine a line of energy starting at your feet and going all the way up to the crown of your head. Breathe. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor.
Press your shoulder blades into your back, widen them and release them down your back. Inhale deeply. Lift the top of your sternum towards the ceiling. Exhale deeply. Soften the throat, the jaw, the tongue, your eyes. Enjoy the pose. Feel the earth beneath your feet and stand strong. Hold this pose for thirty seconds to a minute and breathe easy. Tadasana is the starting position for all standing poses but it is useful to practice this pose on its own as it improves balance which is required for other asanas in yoga practice.
English Name: Child’s Pose
Sanskrit Name: Balasana
Yoga Level: 1
Benefits: Child’s pose gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. We don’t usually breathe into the back of the torso, so this pose allows you to do just that. Child’s pose calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue, it can also relieve back and neck pain.
How to do it: Sit on your mat, get comfortable. Kneel on your mat, touch your big toes together and sit on your heels. Slowly separate your knees as wide as your mat and exhale. Lay down your torso between your thights. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis, life the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. You should be able to feel the weight of your shoulders, pull the shoulder blades wide across your back.
Even though Child’s pose/Balasana is a resting pose it still has many benefits and can me nice when followed by any asana. Stay in child’s pose for thirty seconds, or a few minutes if you wish. Beginners should be able to do this pose but if you have a difficulty sitting your heels, you can fold a blanket and place it between your thighs and calves. To come out of the pose, lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.
Yoga Vocabularly: Asana – a posture adopted in performing hatha yoga.
Variation: Extended Child’s Pose – Same pose but with extended arms in front rather than at your side.