beginner yoga exercises 

You've had a look around my website and now you would like to start with

Mindful Energizing Yoga!

Well, good for you, on this page you find beginner yoga exercises.

1. Before you start read my 12 tips on safe yoga practice.

2. Start with the recharging exercises by Paramhansa Yogananda. Increase your energy level first!

3. Warming-up exercises: I give you a selection for starters

Cat and cow movement to warm-up the spine.
Three variations from easy to intensive.
1. Sit down on your hands and knees.
Breathe out and bring your pelvis forward, arching your back  bringing your navel towards the spine and tucking your head and chin in.
Breathe in bring your buttocks upward, swaybacked and your head is upward.
Repeat for 20 seconds to 1 minute then switch sides.

Warming-up of abdominals
To give you the necessary strength in most asanas and to relieve your spine.
Several variations from easy to intensive
1. Side crunches:
Lie on your back ,supine, now bring your knees towards your chest. Bring your right hand behind your neck and your left hand and arm are alongside your body, without touching the ground. Breathe in and come upward in a side crunch and bring your right elbow to touch your left knee, breathe out go back with complete back resting on the floor. Repeat for 8 or 12 or 15 times
Switch sides

2. Side crunches with extended leg:
Lie on your back ,supine, now bring your knees towards your chest. Bring your right hand behind your neck and your left hand and arm are alongside your body, without touching the ground. Breathe in come upward in a side crunch and bring your right elbow to touch your left knee meanwhile your right leg stretches out.  Breathe out go back with complete back resting on the floor and legs on chest. Repeat for 8 or 12 or 15 times.
Switch sides

3. Core abs scissors
Lie on your back ,supine, breathe in and  bring your legs upward in an angle of 30° with the floor, stretch your legs and open them, breath out  your legs to cross like scissors . Breathe in and open again, breathe out and close like scissors.
Repeat for 8 or 12 or 15 times.

Warming-up of hips.
This is important for almost all asanas, we want to enhance the flexibility of our hips.
Lie down on your back (supine)
Bring your feet to your chest
Grab your knees with both hands, left hand on left knee and right hand on right knee.
Breathe out and push your legs into the chest
Breathe in and make a circle with your two legs, knees to the outside, to the back, try to encounter the maximum of opening you can have. Then breathe out whilst your circles ends inside and to the front.
Repeat the exercise for 20 seconds to 2 minutes
Change direction: knees point to the inside-back-outside-front.


4. Beginner yoga exercises (asanas):

This is a selection of asanas for persons who have little experience with yoga.

If you already are experienced, select your poses on the asanas page, you find all families of yoga positions represented. Click further on the asanas names.

Tadasana: standing mountain pose

start in Tadasana and go to Vrikasana (underneath) use Tadasana after every standing pose to interiorize the effects of the asana.

You are standing up with your feet frontal hipbone width apart. (close to each other) Distribute your weight correctly over your two feet and anchor yourself on heels, big toe and fifth toe. Your legs are tensed up, your knees aren’t blocked, they are relaxed.
Your gluteus is tensed, your abdominals are activated. Bring your shoulders up and move them downwards again, you’re looking in front of you  (eyes open or closed) and there is a figurative  cord that comes out of the center of your head that stretches you upwards (you stretch your spine). Breath normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes

Vrikasana base

Vrikasana calf

Vrikasana:  tree pose
From Tadasana, (mountain pose , neutral asanas) , put your weight on your left foot.  Focus on big toe’s, fifth toe’s and heel’s contact on the ground.
Fix your eyes on one point in front of you for balance.
Open your right hip, your right knee goes to the right side and bring your heel against your left leg. The toes of the right foot remain on the floor.
Bring your hands in “pronam” the praying mudra in front of the heart.
Tighten your buttocks and activate your abdominals.
Position your foot where you want it
-it stays with toes on the floor

or
-bring it at calf level


Breathe in; Bring your hands up above your head, palms of hands against each other
Breathe out; Relax the shoulders, coming down a bit with the arms and bend the elbows.
Stay here for 20 sec to 1 minute and breath slowly and deeply; stay active, try to keep on lengthening yourself through the spine.

Exit:
Breathe in; stretch high with the arms,
Breathe out make a gracious circle around you and put your right foot back on the floor.
Loosen the left leg that supported you; close your eyes for a moment and feel the energy in your body
Switch sides.

End in Tadasana

Ardha Chandrasana: half-moon pose

From tadasana bring your feet close to each other and your hand palms towards the front. Breathe in and bring with a gracious circle your hands up above the head, lengthen the arms and let the thumbs be interlaced, palms still towards the front, lengthen yourself. Breathe out and bring your upper body to the left, bring the hips towards the right. Your heels lightly touch the floor and your complete body makes a beautiful side bow. Relax the shoulders and flex the elbows. Tighten your buttocks and activate your abdominals.
Don’t lean forward or backward, if you would put two glass panels, one in front and one behind you, you would stand straight between them. Stay here for 20 sec to 1 minute and breath slowly and deeply; stay active, try to keep on lengthening yourself through the spine.

Exit:
Breathe in come back to the center by stretching the arms towards the sky and coming on the tips of your toes. Breathe out and make a gracious circle around you and come back in Tadasana.
Close your eyes for a moment and feel the energy in your body
Switch sides.

End in Tadasana

Padahastasana:  jackknife pose
A position in two phases:

Phase one: from tadasana , breath in and with a gracious circle bring your hands upward above your head and lengthen your body. Exhale bring the gluteus backward and bend forward from the hips with a straight spine and neck aligned to spine.your hands are next to your torso with palms up. Stay here for 20 seconds to 1 minute and breath naturally.

Phase two: bend downward,  your abdomen contacts your upper legs and grab with your hands your toes, ankles or calves, with your elbows relaxed to the inside. You can reach your maximum extension in 2 or 3 breath, bending more whilst exhaling. You do this best without curving the spine; if your spine curves to much then flex your knees a bit. Lengthen your muscles by reaching for the sky with your buttocks whilst your feet are pressing on the floor. When you have reached the maximum of your forward bend breath out and abandon yourself  in the pose. Breath normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes.

Exit:
Relax your  hands, bend your knees , breath in press your feet on the floor ans use your abdominal muscles to come upward vertebra by vertebra bring your arms up above your body and as last your head comes back in its neutral position, and your arms come down again in their neutral position. You are in tadasana, relax for a few moments.

End in Tadasana

Exit if you have knee problems:
It might be better to bend down on the floor then lay down in Shavasana (supine ) to relax a few moments

Adho Mukha Shvanasana:  downward dog pose

Come on your hands and knees, your hands a bit in front of your shoulders (not vertically underneath them). Knees aligned with your hips.
Breath out and come upward straighten your legs pressing  your toes in the floor, then bring your heels down to the floor. Bring your straight arms in alignment with your torso, biceps next to your ears. You are an inverted “V”
Press palms and every finger firmly into the floor. Breath normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes.
Exit:
Breath in, lengthen the spine, breath out and bring the knees back to the floor and bring your hands on your thighs or come
in a counter position balasana;  child pose if you desire and relax for a few moments.

Salabhasana: locust pose
Lie down on your belly (prone). Your arms are next to the sides of your body and your forehead is against the floor. Press your pubis against the floor, to do this with comfort you can put a blanket under your belly, breath in and raise your arms , legs and torso from the floor bending backwards, use the muscles of your legs, arms, torso and back to do this. Your neck is in alignment with your spine, don’t close the cervical vertebras.
Breath normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes.

Exit:
Breath in and lengthen, stretch your body , breath out and relax in the prone pose

Variations , you practice all three, so do 3 repetitions
- You can have your arms alongside your body, like described above
- You can open your arms at shoulder height, like an airplane
- You can bring your arms in front of you and raise them, like Superman.

phase 1

Phase 2

variation

Ardha Matsyendrasana: seated torsion

Phase 1:

From dandasana; bend the knees and put your right knee on the floor under the left knee, placing the foot next to the left hip on the floor. Your left knee is in front of your belly button. Put your left foot next to your right knee on the outside (right).
Sit straight on both sit bones. Put your left hand on the floor behind you near to your holy bone, your right hand is on your left knee.

Phase 2
Shoulders are on the same height. Breath in lengthen or stretch the spine upward, press you left hand to the floor, breath out and start to rotate to the left first phase only the lower back. Repeat for the middle and then a third breath for your upper back, throat and head. You can bring your right hand on your heart or on your thigh. Breath normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes.

Exit:
Breath in lengthen the spine, breath out  and rotate back to center with your head, throat and upper back, then middle and finally the lower back.at the end bring your knees to the chest and embrace them while lengthening the spine. Sit in dandasana to interiorize the effects of the position, then switch sides.
 

Variation:
If bending your knees and putting one leg next to your body is very uncomfortable to you, do the following:
From Dandasana bend you left knee, bringing the left foot towards the left buttock. Now put your left foot over your right  leg on the floor.
Sit straight on both sit bones. Put your left hand on the floor behind you near to your holy bone, your right hand is on your left knee.
Shoulders are on the same height. Breath in lengthen or stretch the spine upward, press you left hand to the floor, breath out and start to rotate to the left first phase only the lower back. Repeat for the middle and then a third breath for your upper back, throat and head. You can bring your right hand on your heart or on your thigh. Breath normally , stay here for 30 sec to 3 minutes.
Exit:
Breath in lengthen the spine, breath out  and rotate back to center with your head, throat

 Viparita Karani:  simple inverted pose
Lay a cover on the floor, lie down with your shoulders 1 inch under the border of the cover, this will protect your cervical vertebras. Make sure that your shoulders, arms and hands can lie on the cover.
Lie your arms alongside your body, hand palms downward. 

Breathe in and bring your legs up vertically to form an angle of 90°. Then breathe out and lift the gluteus up by pushing your arms and hands on the floor; bend your arms, put your elbows on the floor and support your pelvis and weight with your hands. Role the shoulders downward one at a time, elbows are at shoulder width. Your thorax should make an angle of 45° with the floor. Bring your pelvis backward, it pushes into your hands.
Breathe in lengthen yourself from your pelvis to the toes of your feet. Your feet are above your head.

Exit:
Breathe in bend your pelvis and bring the knees in direction of your face. Breathe out, lay your hands down and roll back, slowly vertebra per vertebra downward on the floor and lie your legs down.
Do a counter position ex. bring your knees to your chest and rock from side to side a few times. Do this whilst you are interiorizing the effects of the position.

Variation on the wall:
If you don’t have strong abdominals or if your body weight is relatively high or if you have chronic neck problems; you can practice on the wall and still have all the benefits of  inverted positions.
Put your yoga mat 1,5 foot from the wall, fold your blanket in 4 and put it near the wall and on your mat. Roll down on the cover by sitting down with your back against the wall then lay your back on the floor by rolling over and putting your feet against the wall, your buttocks is near the wall.
Put your feet completely against the wall, bend your knees. Put your arms alongside your body, hand palms are downward.

Breathe in push your feet against the wall and your hands and arms against the floor bring your pelvis upward. Breathe out and roll your shoulders one by one more under your body. Let your hands support your pelvis and elbows are on the floor. Now let your feet come off the wall on by one and tense and lengthen your legs your feet are above your head.

Exit:
Breathe in put one foot at a time back on the wall with bend knees.  Breathe out bring your pelvis back on the floor; Stretch your leg on the wall, out your hands horizontally next to you on either side (cross).  Do this whilst you are interiorizing the effects of the position.


5. Mindful meditation;

you've earned a meditation to relax and interiorize the effects of your session!

Body scan
You can do it: standing, seating or lying down (supine):
You choose your body as the object of your mindful approach.
You want to give “open and caring attention” to yourself.
1. Close your eyes, give attention to your breathing, breathe naturally.
you might find your brain wanting to regulate your breathing, become aware of it and then go back to the natural breathing.
2. Where do you feel it the most? (nose, belly, chest…), stay here a bit. As you become more relaxed your breathing will be localized in your belly.

3. Follow your complete inhalation and your complete expiration.

4. Concentrate on a part of your body, feel it, observe it…let the “open and caring” attention then fade away (ex: foot, calf, upper leg, buttock, belly, lower back, …)

5. Go to a next part of your body, and show the same interest in feeling and observing it with open and caring attention.

6. Continue…(scan at least 12 body parts )

7. Finally observe your complete body with the same “open and caring” interest.

8. Produce joy;  by smiling…

9. During the body scan your mind will wonder off to other points of interests…that is typical you can consider it as part of the body scan. I repeat to be “open and caring” bringing your mind back to the body scan.

10. In the beginning your mind will “judge” or “evaluate” what you are doing as positive or negative. Remember your mind wants to create a bond with experiences. Just continue with “open and caring” attention.

11. Start doing it lying down for 9 minutes.
12. Slowly come back to your surroundings and proceed with your activities.



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