This article explains the very basics of yoga 101 poses everyone needs to know in 2022, and we will also explain, how you can start doing yoga from the comfort of your home.
Yoga has its origins in ancient Indian spirituality that sought to bring the body and mind into harmony. Yoga is a deep-rooted lifelong practice that can be used for both physical fitness and mental relaxation. The word Yoga means connection or union. It’s a mind-body practice that incorporates physical postures, breathwork, and meditation. Yoga has been practiced for centuries.
Today, the practice is more popular than ever. The many benefits of yoga include improved flexibility, strength, and control. Yoga was originally practiced in India, and its first recorded practice was in the Vedas. The purpose of yoga is to unite the mind and body or to bring about a state of perfect, calm bliss. There are many schools of yoga, but the most commonly practiced in the United States is Hatha yoga.
Hatha is a combination of physical postures, breathing, and meditation. The primary aim of Hatha yoga is to keep the body healthy and to maintain a balance between the body and mind. The Hatha yoga postures are designed to promote flexibility, strength, and centering. There are many benefits of Hatha yoga, such as improved health, stress relief, increased flexibility, and more.
(Also Read: Putting Mindfulness in Perspective)
Table of Contents
I. Yoga 101 #1: Yoga and Yoga Poses: The Beginner’s Guide
Yoga poses are the physical postures that are part of Hatha yoga. The poses are designed to stretch and strengthen various parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, torso, neck, and head. There are many different types of yoga poses.
Some examples of yoga poses are the sun salutation, the warrior, and the tree. There are also different types of breathing exercises that are used in yoga. Breathing exercises are used to focus your attention, bring about a state of calmness, or for relaxation. There are breathing exercises for strength and power, focus and concentration, self-awareness and insight, relaxation, and sleep.
Yoga is a very powerful practice that can be used to achieve many things. Yoga is a combination of physical and mental exercises that have been proven to bring about a state of perfect calmness. If you want to be healthy, have more energy, or just want to be at peace with yourself, then integrate yoga into your daily life.
II. Yoga 101 #2: Beginners Yoga/ Yoga for Beginners
Most people see yoga as a form of physical activity that involves some unusual or silly body movements. If that’s the case, then what is yoga if it’s not about the movements of your body?
Well, yoga is a form of physical and mental exercise. It is a physical activity that involves discipline, mental control, breathing techniques, and physical wellbeing. In simpler terms, yoga involves some physical moves, which are combined with mental control and meditation.
It celebrates what experts call the mind-body connection. You may have heard that people who have serious illnesses such as cancer tend to heal more quickly if they maintain a positive attitude. This phenomenon has been studied many times, and it proves that it is possible to affect your physical health if you learn to control your mind.
A female yoga practitioner is known as a Yogini while a male yoga practitioner is known as a Yogi. You may think of these terms as titles that apply only to master practitioners, but you may certainly refer to yourself as a Yogi or Yogini if you practice yoga regularly.
So how did it come into being? While yoga has gained in popularity in recent years, the truth is that the practice of yoga dates back over 5,000 years. It was first developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, which was based in Northern India.
The term “yoga” was derived from the word Yuj which means to join, to yoke, or to control in Sanskrit. When you think of it in terms of the body, mind, and soul, yoga portrays the joining of the physical body, mind, and soul or spirit. It may also be helpful to think of yoga as a connection, a way of strengthening every part of you by joining them all together into one.
One of the best things about practicing yoga is that it benefits your entire being. When your mind and soul are strong, it strengthens your body. When your body is strong, it strengthens your mind and soul. The bottom line is that practicing yoga can help you to reap a wide array of benefits that can improve your health.
So how is practicing yoga going to benefit you? Let’s discuss some of the benefits that you stand to gain through this practice.
We have established at this point that yoga transcends physical movement, and includes mental and spiritual exercises as well. It works your body, mind, and spirit at the same time. This means that the benefits of yoga practice will be more than just some physical health benefits. Let us examine some of the benefits of yoga practice.
1. It Helps in Weight Loss
When many of us think of exercise, we think first of aerobic exercise – the kind of exercise that increases our heartbeats, makes us breathe harder, and requires a great deal of energy to do.
Yoga cannot be regarded as an aerobic exercise, although there are some very athletic types of yoga poses such as the power yoga, the kapal bhati, and the sun salutation poses that, when done properly, can increase your heartbeat, make you sweat, and help burn excess fat in the body.
What that means is that if you are looking for a low-impact way to burn extra calories and lose weight, you should consider making time to engage in yoga moves daily. The benefit of doing yoga poses is that they improve your balance and build muscle.
The higher the percentage of muscle you have in your body; the more calories you will burn even when you are sitting still. The good thing is that you don’t need to spend hours on your yoga moves to get results. Simply doing 20 minutes of yoga per day can help you achieve your desired result in a short while.
Besides weight loss, these athletic yoga poses are also good for people with some serious health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For a diabetic, yoga helps to make the body cells to be more sensitive to insulin to regulate the blood sugar level. People who have high blood pressure can benefit because yoga decreases stress and can help improve circulation.
2. It Encourages a Holistic Wellness
Holistic wellness or fitness transcends physical fitness. It involves the emotional and mental wellbeing of your body, mind, and soul. In other words, it is a kind of wellness that considers your whole being. A person who has holistic wellness is healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are well equipped to handle any challenges that life sends their way.
The physical postures, meditations, and breathing techniques are also known as pranayama give you holistic fitness. Holistic fitness or wellness gives you inner peace and leads to self-realization in the long run. It can improve every aspect of your life, including your work and your relationships.
3. It Helps to Reduce Stress
Many people today are in a constant state of stress. The stress of any kind, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response is something we share with all animals.
It helps to protect us when our lives are in danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. These hormones work to increase our heart rate, speed up respiration, and give us the mental clarity required to get out of a dangerous situation.
The problem with the human stress response is that it is not able to differentiate between a real physical threat, such as a charging bear, and non-life-threatening stress such as that caused by an argument with someone we love or a high-stakes meeting at work. The physical reaction is the same.
Over time, having a surplus of stress hormones in the body can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and more. One way to cope with and reduce stress is by engaging in yoga.
This is because the physical poses and breathing techniques associated with yoga serve as a coping mechanism for your body. Doing yoga helps to trigger a response that offsets the fight-or-flight response, something known as the relaxation response.
It reduces your body’s production of stress hormones and stimulates the release of feel-good hormones such as serotonin. In addition, yoga helps to relax your body and reduce tensions in the muscles while supplying fresh blood to your brain to keep you vitalized.
Therefore, if you are stressed after your day’s activities, you can engage in a quick 20-minute yoga session to help you relax and have a good night of rest.
4. It Helps You Build Better Relationships
Research has shown that couples that engage in yoga tend to have stronger, healthier relationships than people who don’t do yoga. This is because yoga helps to clear your mind, thus helping you to make better decisions on sensitive matters in relationships. It can also help to increase your awareness of your own body and your partner’s body, thus increasing physical intimacy.
The stronger your mind-body connection is, the less likely it is that you will respond negatively to stressful situations. You will be less likely to snap at your partner when you are feeling stressed, and more likely to be able to listen calmly and respectfully even amid a disagreement.
Therefore, you can try to get your partner to join your next yoga practice and watch how much it can do to improve your relationship.
5. It Helps to Build Your Immune System
The immune system is your body’s defense against things like infection in disease. In many cases, when left to its own devices, your body can heal itself. However, when the immune system is compromised it can cause a variety of problems.
Many factors can weaken or compromise the immune system. For example, factors such as pollution in the environment and eating the wrong foods can impact it, as can a lack of sleep – or prolonged and chronic stress. When your immune system is compromised, your body loses the strength to fight against diseases.
This means that you are vulnerable to many different diseases and ailments ranging from the flu and the common cold to other serious illnesses.
Yoga helps to boost your immune system by stimulating your lymphatic system to release toxins from your body. In addition, it helps to boost the release of oxygenated blood to your vital body organs to make them work better to fight against antibodies in the body.
Another thing to keep in mind is that chronic stress can wreak havoc with your body’s inflammation response, which is part of your immune system.
In normal circumstances, inflammation can help your body fight infection. However, when your immune system is out of balance, you can end up with chronic inflammation. Left unchecked, it can cause various health problems including inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
6. It Helps to Boost Your Energy
Many people feel tired all the time. They sleepwalk through their days, lacking the energy to do the things they want to do. There are many different reasons for our chronic sleep deprivation. Constant exposure to electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and smartphones can impair our ability to sleep.
Stress renders the sleep we get restless, and we wake up feeling just as tired as we did when we went to bed. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone – and the good news is that a few minutes of yoga practice may be what you need to reclaim your energy.
Most advanced yoga poses to make you breathe fast, and this stretches your chest muscles and allows more air to fill your lungs. This sends the much-needed oxygen into your blood, which in turn, revitalizes your body and increases your energy levels.
In addition, as I mentioned earlier, yoga 101 poses also help to reduce the stress-causing hormones, and whenever the cortisol level is low, there is always an energy boost. After doing yoga, you will feel more alert both mentally and physically.
III. Yoga 101 #3: How to do the Yoga?
One of the main questions I get asked is How do I start doing yoga on my own? For me, my home practice is where creativity thrives. Of course, being in a studio with an amazing teacher for adjustments and alignment help is invaluable—but having a place in your home to let go and breathe is very sacred.
With that in mind, I’d love to share a few things that have made a difference in making time for myself on the mat over the years. That’s not to say I’m always consistent—it’s a major commitment to show up every single day. It’s so important not to beat yourself up for missing a day (or several). Just make sure you make it back and begin again.
A. Set up a dedicated space for your mat
I have designated a corner of my home with a corner mirror, a basket of mats, a foam roller, and blocks. I also have candles on a table with a plant. This corner lives as an instant yoga studio for me when I roll out my mat. Holding a space within your home that gives off good, inviting energy will make you yearn to be sitting in that very corner on your mat.
B. Start with a brief meditation and intention
Sit in easy yoga 101 pose or accomplished pose (or any comfortable seating position) and take a few minutes to ground, center and focus inwards with one of our meditations. You may also want to set an intention, goal, or prayer for your practice at the beginning of meditation.
C. Good Music
I find that sitting in silence for a few minutes or more (depending on the amount of time allotted for practice) and then turning on music inspires me to move. Music can help drop you deeper into the moment, and your breath becomes part of the music. Choose songs that speak to you and are slow and relaxing. The Dreamy Vibes playlist on Spotify is one of my absolute favorites.
D. Just Move
I think it’s important to let go of the expectations of what your practice is supposed to look like. If you know a few poses, you can start with those. Remember a yoga 101 pose you loved in class? You can incorporate that into your time on the mat.
Some days, restorative practice will be needed, while others you may feel you want to do a more physical practice. If anything hurts, pull back and acknowledge the fact that you need to do less that day.
When you draw a blank on the next pose you want to do, come back to Downward Dog and breathe. Then, begin to move into any posture that feels good to you at the moment. Keep your breath in sync with your movement, and make sure to keep symmetry in mind—mirror both sides of your practice for the left and right sides of the body.
E. Use basic and beginning level postures
The next post/article on Yoga 101, here on ProKensho.com will help you to find out the best poses to start. Start with one of our warm-up sequences and then try one of our basic yoga 101 pose sequences and these simple postures: seated twist, cat, dog, down dog, child, cobra, mountain, triangle, forward bend.
(Related: Yoga 101: Yoga Poses for Beginners)