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How to do yoga at home starting from scratch
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How to do yoga at home starting from scratch

7 yoga poses for beginners with great benefits to do alone

Yoga is an ancient discipline that has its roots in India. By yoga we mean a set of practices that aim to improve the spirituality of the individual through physical exercise and mental concentration.

The term Yoga comes from the word Yuj which means "to unite" and in fact this practice requires the involvement of the physical, mental and spiritual plan of each of us.

In a broader philosophical sense, thanks to the union of these three planes of which yoga is the medium, the consciousness of the single individual can join the universal divine consciousness. 

If practiced consistently, yoga has an extremely beneficial action on our mind, deeply affects our body and also helps us in our emotional sphere by offering us greater self-control in life situations as it improves our awareness of ourselves.

This discipline presents various degrees of difficulty and different levels of dynamism by virtue of which it can be followed by anyone and at any age.

In fact, there are many types of yoga ranging from the more focused on meditation such as Karma yoga to the more dynamic ones such as Ashtanga yoga and Power yoga that act more on the physical side.

Benefits of yoga

Yoga, in its various expressions, contributes to our well-being by promoting concentration and removing the recurring thoughts of our daily life.

On the physical level, yoga improves the flexibility of the body (by acting on muscles, ligaments and tendons), tones the muscles and fights both insomnia and different types of pain such as back pain or muscle aches.

Since it is based on slow movements, yoga is able to burn excess body fats faster, thus also having a slimming as well as toning action.

When to practice yoga

The greatest beneficial effects of yoga are achieved if it is practiced daily for 15-20 minutes rather than intensively a couple of times a week.

Generally it is preferable to do yoga in the morning on an empty stomach or in any case at other times of the day away from meals, while it is to be avoided in the evening when you are very tired or when you put strain on painful parts of the body with inflammation or wounds.

Hatha yoga: the foundation of yoga to begin with

To start from scratch and approach the world of yoga, a type of yoga based on breath called Hatha yoga or "Yoga of strength" is usually recommended, which is the most similar to traditional Indian yoga.

In Hatha yoga, "strength" is understood as mental and physical effort; in fact it aims at bodily and mental relaxation by coordinating physical exercises and respiratory rhythm, thus allowing to eliminate daily stress.

From a practical standpoint, this translates into a series of slow movements and more static positions focused on muscle stretching, which Hatha yoga prefers over positions that involve more intense physical exertion.

The postures of yoga are called asanas in Sanskrit; the duration of each asana is measured by the number of breaths (pranayama) and generally, for beginners, each asana must be maintained with a duration of 3 deep breaths.

7 positions to do yoga alone at home

To derive significant benefits from yoga, it is necessary to make it a habitual daily practice that we can carry out comfortably at home independently.

We do not recommend practicing yoga alone if you have painful areas of the body or if you are pregnant; in these cases it is always good practice to consult your doctor before doing any type of physical activity.

First, you need to choose a place in the house where you feel comfortable (preferably illuminated by natural light) that will become the corner of your daily yoga routine.

Wear comfortable clothing that does not tighten and allows you to make movements without difficulty.

Then equip yourself with a non-slip mat made of a material that can insulate you from the cold of the floor and that does not make you slip (prefer those in cork or bamboo as they are natural and eco-sustainable, but a classic PVC mat is fine too) .

If you have never done yoga before and do not have any knowledge of the various asanas, you could opt for a free trial lesson at a specialized center and write down the exercises performed and then reproduce them at home.

Alternatively, on the web there are many tutorials even for beginners that explain step by step the asanas and sequences to follow such as the "Greeting to the Sun", a sequence of 12 yoga positions to be performed for warming up or in the morning to energize the body and mind.

In this article we present 7 extremely easy positions with which you can begin your journey towards the yoga universe.

Balasana - Child Pose

The Balasana or Child pose is one of the easiest asanas to perform and is essential to reach a state of relaxation when you are taken by anxiety and stress.

Yoga - Balasana - Posizione del bambino

It consists in sitting on the heels stretching the back without taking the hands off the mat until the forehead rests on the ground, maintaining the position with a regular breath.

A similar position, but performed with the arms forward and the hands joined as a sign of devotion, is called "Dharmikasana" or "devotional position" or "folded leaf position".

Marjariasana e Bitilasana - Cat pose and cow pose

It is a dynamic asana which is the combination of two asanas: Marjariasana (cat pose) and Bitilasana (cow pose).

This combination has beneficial effects for the spine and in general for the whole back.

Yoga - Marjariasana e Bitilasana - Posizione del gatto e posizione della mucca

It consists in placing yourself on all fours on the mat with hands and knees firmly aligned and first arching the back downwards, bringing the chin towards the chest (Marjariasana) and then moving on to arch the back upwards, bringing the head and gaze towards the high (Bitilasana).

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - Upward dog pose

The Urdhva Mukha Svanasana asana (or upward dog pose) is often present in the Sun Salutation sequence and consists of bending backwards by lifting the torso and pelvis while holding the arms that must be close to the body.

To do it correctly, you need to have your hands open and the backs of your feet stretched out on the mat.

Yoga - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - Posizione del cane a testa in sù

The upside-down position of the dog serves to lengthen the spine, increasing its flexibility and at the same time improving the strength of the arms.

It is very useful if we lead a lifestyle that leads us to spend many hours at the computer in the wrong position.

Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward dog pose

The Downward dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is also often included in the Sun Salutation sequence and, like the Upward dog pose, is practiced to straighten the spine and lengthen the legs; in this case forming a triangle with the mat.

Yoga - Adho Mukha Svanasana - Posizione del cane a testa in giù

To perform it, you begin by kneeling on all fours, aligning the hips with the knees and keeping the arms at shoulder height; from this position, slowly push the butt upwards with the hands and the tips of the feet, lifting the knees and extending the legs.

We keep our head down and breathe regularly.

Virabhadrasana - Worrior pose

The Virabhadrasana asana symbolizes the spiritual warrior we have within us and who bravely fights against the adversities of life.

Also called the Warrior pose, it is ideal for increasing self-awareness on a spiritual level as well as on a physical and mental level.

From a physical point of view, it tends to strengthen the muscles of the legs, ankles, chest, abdominals and arms due to the twisting to be performed and the maintenance of the arms extended.

Yoga - Virabhadrasana - Posizione del guerriero

The execution of this position is carried out in a polar way, i.e. first on one side and then on the other and consists of several steps:

Let's stand facing the short side of the mat. We bring the right leg backwards by a fairly wide step and stretch the arms upwards, extending the fingers of the hands well.

Then, we rotate the right foot 90 ° towards the long side of the mat aligning the arch of the right foot with the heel of the left foot.

We bend the left leg aligning the knee to the ankle and we extend the right leg so as to make it as parallel as possible to the floor.

At this point the feet must be completely placed on the ground and together with the legs they form a solid and stable base with the weight of the body distributed evenly.

We then twist the torso (which initially faces the short side of the mat with the arms up perpendicular to the floor) and rotate it very slowly towards the wide side of the mat, simultaneously bringing the arms horizontally at shoulder height in a parallel position to the floor.

This sequence is the fusion of the asanas Virabhadrasana 1 and Virabhadrasana 2.

Viparita Karani - Inverted pose

The Viparita Karani asana (also called the inverted pose) is a panacea for clearing the mind, relieving the back and improving our circulation.

It is a "passive" position because thanks to the presence of the wall it does not involve any physical effort.

Yoga - Viparita Karani - Posizione invertita

Performing this position is very simple, just lie down on the mat bringing your butt as close as possible to the wall and raise your legs perpendicular to the floor keeping them together along the wall.

The arms can be stretched out on the floor high along the head, open horizontally at shoulder height or low along the hips.

A variation is to open the legs to form a V if the wall you are leaning on is wide enough to allow it.

This position is very comfortable and it is normal to feel some tingling in the legs.

The maintenance time of the asana varies according to our will from 1 minute up to 15 minutes. However, a minimum duration of a few minutes is recommended if you are a beginner.

Vrksasana - Tree pose

The asana Vrksasana or Tree pose is ideal for increasing our sense of balance and our posture. It consists of balancing on one foot.

This process of achieving stability on one foot requires a lot of calm, stillness and concentration.

Yoga - Vrksasana - Posizione dell’albero

To begin with, we put our feet together on the mat, choosing a support foot and spreading the toes well to be able to support ourselves better.

We then place the other foot on the supporting thigh, shifting all the weight of the body onto this leg.

At this point, we join our hands that we can hold at chest height or bring up with our arms outstretched trying to stay aligned.

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