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Welcome to your yoga posture guide!
What You Need:
A Towel Or Strap
A Cushion Or Pillow
A Few Tips To Get You Started:
Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that does not restrict your movement in any way.
Try to practice around the same time every day.
Choose a practice area that is flat and fairly quiet.
Do not eat a heavy meal before practicing.
Rest any time you feel dizzy or faint and then come back to the practice at another time.
Using props like blocks or straps will help you to build flexibility over time.
Be patient with your practice, flexibility takes time.
Have fun! Put together poses that feel good in your body and play around with the movements you do on your mat.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means to join or unite. Yoga as a practice has many aspects, in this guide we will focus on Asana (postures).
Asana is a series of movements done alone or strung together as a Vinyasa (flow). These postures are meant to be linked with your breathing.
How To Practice
Practice each posture slowly and with control. Bring a deep focus in to your breathing. Feeling a slow and controlled breath. Hold each posture for 5 full
rounds of breath. Allow yourself to relax completely while you practice.
Begin each practice with a warm up in order to avoid injury. Use modifications provided as you build up your flexibility and strength. Listen to your body, if
certain postures feel uncomfortable or cause pain, discontinue doing them
until a later time.
While most postures can be practiced on their own, a well rounded practice will
include postures in the following categories:
1. Warm Up/Standing Postures
2. Forward Folding Postures
3. Back bending Postures
4. Side bending Postures
5. Twisting Postures
6. Closing/Cool Down Postures
Warm Up Postures
Across most styles of Yoga there are postures which are meant to warm up the body. These postures create movement and connection within the body and the breath.
Surya Namaskar A is the main series of postures which are used at the beginning of any yoga practice. Surya Namaskar literally translates to Sun Salutation, aptly named as the movement generates heat in the body when practice is linked with breath.
See below images for the standard movement script with breath. From standing inhale to lift arms overhead, exhale hands draw to the center of your chest. Inhale arms sweep over head, exhale forward fold hands release to the mat. Inhale half forward fold (spine elongates from base through top of head), step back to high plank, exhale lower down to low push up. Inhale upward
facing dog, exhale, hips lift downward facing dog. Hold in down dog for five breaths and repeat several times until body heat is increasing.
Urdvha Hastasana (Inhale)
Standing Forward Fold/
Half Forward Fold/Ardha Uttanasana (Inhale)
High Plank/Chaturanga Dandasana
Upward Facing Dog/Urdhva Mukha
Downward Facing Dog/Adho Mukha
Svanasana (Exhale and breath for 5 breaths)
Sun Salutations are a great way to warm up the body but can also be a practice in themselves where you repeat the above actions any number of times. When being incorporated into a longer asana practice it is best to start with 2 to 3 rounds and eventually work your way up to 5 rounds.
If at any point you begin to feel dizzy discontinue the practice and take a seat until you begin to feel better.
Many postures in a yoga practice are considered standing postures. Included in this are several of the warm up postures as well. Standing postures not only build strength, they also help gain balance, and add an aerobic element to a yoga practice. Try holding your standing postures
for 3 to 5 rounds of breath or approximately 30 seconds.
Tadasana - Mountain Pose
1. Stand with feet together.
2. Allow your weight to distribute
evenly across both feet.
3. Bring the hands together at the
center of the chest.
Benefits & Tips:
• Assists in finding balance.
• Acts as a starting point for practice
and most standing postures.
Vrksasana - Tree Pose
1. Standing in Tadasana, begin to shift your weight
into the left foot.
2. Slowly lift your right foot away from the ground and
gently place it on the inside edge of your left leg.
3. Press down firmly through the standing leg.
Bring hands to rest together at the center
of the chest.
4. Repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits & Tips:
• Increases balance and coordination.
• Strengthens the quadriceps and stretches
the hip flexors.
• Can be done against a wall if balance is
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