What are Asanas?
Asanas are postures a Yogi (Male) or Yogini (Female) practitioner holds themselves in for many reasons including physical exercise, where they are sometimes referred to as “yoga postures” or “yoga positions”, or for specific health purposes. These types of Asanas place the physical body in positions that cultivate awareness, relaxation and concentration.
The word Asana appears in many contexts referring to a static physical position. However, its traditional usage is specific to the practice of yoga and that’s what we will be focussing on today, or more specifically – The best Asanas for beginners.
3 Yoga Asanas for Beginners
1.) Navasana – Boat Pose
Description: Lie down, face down in a supine position with legs together and stretched, and your arms to your sides. On inhalation, raise your legs, while keeping them straight, stretching your foot and your toes outward. Raise your body while keeping your back and neck straight, stretching your arms parallel to the floor, keeping your body as close to a 45 degree angle as possible. Hold for 15 seconds and on exhalation, slowly return to the supine position. Repeat 5 times, taking a 15 second break between each hold.
Benefits: Strengthens abdominal muscles, legs and lower back. Navasana is said to relieve stress, improve digestion and aid the lower abdominal organs: kidney, thyroid, prostate and intestines.
Common postural errors: Using the next to lift. Tips: Make sure your back and neck remains in a straight line.
2.) Bhujangasana – The Cobra Pose
Description: From a prone position, place your palms under your shoulders and legs flat to the floor. On inhalation slowly raise your chest up, bending backwards as much as possible and hold for 10-15 seconds. On exhalation bring your body back down to the prone position. Repeat 5 times, taking a 15 second break between each hold.
Benefits: Strengthen the spine, stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, firms the buttocks, and relieves stress and fatigue.
Common postural errors: Overarching the neck and lower back. Tips: Keep your gaze directed down at the floor and focus on bringing movement into the area between the shoulder blades.
3.) Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Description: Lying in a prone position, make sure your legs are stretched together and arms lie beside your torso at either side. Bend your knees so your feet move forward and use your hands to grasp your ankles. On inhalation lift your head and bend backwards, stretching your legs as far as they can go and hold for 15-30 seconds, breathing normally. On exhalation bring your body back to the prone position. Repeat 5 times, taking a 15 second break between each hold.
Benefits: Strengthens back and abdominal muscles, Stimulates the reproductive organs, Opens up the chest, neck and shoulders, Tones the leg and arm muscles, Relieves stress and tiredness, Relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation, relief from headache.
Common postural errors: Backward extension of the spine should be achieved with the back muscles, not by the arms.