On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining. Shift the weight toward your toes. Straighten your arms and lift your chest away from your thighs to make a flat back.
Like any sport, yoga requires a specific understanding of technique. It takes focus and attention to set up a yoga pose correctly, work within the pose, and then safely move out of it. Yoga instructors typically use the term “alignment” when referring to form. Correct alignment is when your bones are stacked and stable. This prevents injury because the muscles are working with the bone structure, rather than being pulled too much in one direction or another. When the muscles and bones are in correct alignment, you can typically go deeper into the pose without fear of injury, breathe more deeply, and receive more benefits from the posture. The 15 yoga videos for beginners below will help you achieve proper alignment in each pose so you can start feeling like a yoga pro in no time.
Instructor Amira Freidson told us that a standard-size yoga mat is 68 inches long — just long enough for someone who’s five-foot-eight. To make sure you’re not too cramped during practice, check to see if your whole body fits on the mat while lying down with your face towards the ceiling. While there are no benefits to using a too-small mat, extra-large mats may be good for working on your flexibility: Instructor Giovanna Abraham says, “For more experienced yogis who have been practicing for 2-5 years, a longer mat would definitely be helpful — for instance, in giving them greater space to extend deeper into their poses.”
Let’s be real: Being bound to our desks is kind of a bummer. Thankfully, this routine targets the area that suffers the most. Yep, we’re talking about the hips. Yoga instructor Sonia Doubell leads a slow and steady sequence that includes poses to target hip flexors and relieve tension, like a low lunge with little pulses and pigeon pose. She also encourages you to feel at ease—a welcome reminder for the work-hard, play-hard set. (via Grokker)
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