Yoga, once viewed in a stereotypical light, has become an extremely popular form of calisthenic exercise in recent years. With nothing more than a yoga mat and some blocks, the practice of yoga has been highly touted as both a way to centre one’s mind, as well as sharpen and condition the body. Yet given its benefits and popularity, what goes on in a yoga class isn’t exactly common knowledge.
If you’re a beginner and the names of poses such as Tadasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Vrksasana sound completely foreign to you, read on to get the full breakdown of what to expect in a basic yoga class for beginners.
Classes for Beginners at Yoga Lab
One of the classes offered at Yoga Lab is the Yoga Basics class – which focuses heavily on adjusting postures while stressing the importance of form and alignment. In addition, the Yoga Basics class provides a variety of options for each grade of a practitioner. Not limited to just beginners, the class is also suited for experienced participants who are aiming to perfect and polish their fundamental techniques.
After mastering the fundamentals of the Yoga Basics class, novice yoga practitioners can advance forward to the Yoga Essentials class. Although not as intense and physically demanding as a Dynamic Flow class, the Yoga Essentials is the perfect middle ground as you work on your form and alignment. Geared towards moving mindfully with your breath while tempering your body and fostering resilience, discipline and mental focus, the Yoga Essentials class offers the opportunity for amateur and experienced practitioners alike to refine fundamental techniques.
Basic Yoga Poses
Each bearing names that might sound complex at the start, these different yoga poses are crucial in every class and are the foundation of warming up your body. Of course, different levels will feature different poses in various difficulties, but the point of each pose as it flows from one to another is to limber up various physical regions while scaling in intensity. Here are some yoga poses that you will come across in our yoga basics class.
1. Downward Dog
One of the most common poses associated with yoga, the Downward Dog (otherwise known as Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a foundational yoga pose that is equal parts strengthening and stretching. By lengthening through the entire body, and in particular the upper and lower back, Downward Dog is fantastic for those of us who spend plenty of time sedentary and sitting down. Furthermore, Downward Dog also helps develop strength in the wrist, shoulders, and back muscles by shifting the weight of the body onto the aforementioned areas.
Be particularly careful about any past injuries in the shoulder, neck, or wrists as improper execution of Downward Dog can serve to exacerbate those conditions. The goal of Downward Dog is to fully stretch the body to the point of sensation, not pain.
2. Warrior 1, 2, 3
Usually referred to as the Warrior Sequence, Virabhadrasana 1 to 3 is a flow of yoga poses that helps strengthen the legs and core while improving flexibility. Each pose of Warrior focuses on a different facet of the body and slowly builds in intensity. Starting with Warrior 1, the pose aims to open up the heart and strengthen the core through a wide-legged stance. Alignment is key here as the practitioner escalates into a slow gradual backbend, stretching the lower back muscles.
Progressing onto Warrior 2, this pose also adopts a wide-legged stance while bending forward on the front knee and placing more of the weight towards the legs. The focus shifts towards the quads and hips and practitioners slowly sink down into the pose. Finally, Warrior 3 ends off the sequence on a more demanding note with the pose requiring practitioners to square their hips and place their weight onto one foot while tilting their backs parallel to the ground. Properly done, this pose emphasises strengthening core muscles and keeping proper back alignment as the rear leg kicks off the ground.
Chaturanga, or a Low Plank, is part of a flow that helps increase arm and wrist strength while toning the abdominal regions. Not too intense on the body, the execution of Chaturanga might seem similar to a push-up but with some distinct differences. The shoulders in Chaturanga are usually beyond the wrists and the elbows are hugged into the sides of the body. This yoga pose drills in the importance of alignment while stretching out the body from the upper back down to the calves, keeping most of the effort locked into the core of the body.
Now that you know the names and concepts behind some of the yoga poses in a basics class, it’s time to put your knowledge to practice. Visit our website to sign up for a group basics class at Yoga Lab today!