Downward Dog

If you’ve never tried yoga before, the whole thing might seem a little bit strange to you. A lot of beginners or prospective yogis are skeptical of the level of exercise that’s really involved, and fail to understand just how refreshing regular yoga sessions can be for body, mind, and spirit. Even that phrase I just wrote – referencing body, mind, and spirit – may well cause some readers who aren’t avid yoga fans to roll their eyes.

This is perfectly normal. Plenty of people question the benefits of yoga, or even whether yoga is suitable for both sexes! But if you’re looking for a new way to exercise, a way to stay more relaxed, or just something you can do to better your overall lifestyle, I’d bet that you’ll get into yoga if you try it. And to do that, you don’t even need to join a class or start a program with a yoga app (though ultimately these would be good ideas). Instead, all you need to do is dip your toe in with some simple, easy poses that will introduce you to some of the common benefits of practicing yoga.

Downward Dog

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is sometimes presented as a “weak” or “lazy” pose, and it’s true that it tends to constitute something of a break in the midst of a routine. If you’re unfamiliar, this is the pose in which you’re on your knees and you sit back on your heels, forehead toward the floor, and stretch your arms out (actively) in front of your, on the floor. But here’s the thing, as one post defending the pose stated: it feels amazing, and is there to rejuvenate and bring back your energy. If you take a break from reading this article and drop down at this very moment for 30 seconds of Child’s Pose, I’m betting you’ll feel more physically relaxed. If you do it in the middle of a stretching routine or after cardio, that feeling will be amplified. And you’ll begin to get a sense for the feeling of deep relaxation and physical relief that can come from yoga.

Sama Vritti

Sama Vritti sounds like the name of an advanced routine (or a special attack in Street Fighter, if that’s more your speed), but in reality it’s about as simple as it gets. In fact, I can’t describe it much better than one article already did, saying it basically requires you to count as you inhale and exhale. That article was pitching a few yoga-related breathing techniques to avid gamers as effective means of calming emotions and centering focus, and Sama Vritti is indeed ideal for these things. It’s about adopting a straight but relaxed posture, closing your eyes, and inhaling and exhaling for equal counts through your nose. And that’s literally it! If you’re rolling your eyes again, go ahead and give it a try for two whole minutes. You might be shocked how much more relaxed you feel afterward, and again, you’ll get a feel for some of the easily attained benefits of yog

Downward Dog

Downward Dog can be taught and explained in different ways. But generally speaking, it’s about getting on all fours, straightening your arms and legs, and then slowly walking your feet forward until your body is in something of an upturned “V” shape, or something close to it. You then hold for a set number of breaths or seconds, ideally pressing your hips and rear toward the ceiling and getting in a good stretch. There are two things you’ll quickly notice trying this pose as a beginner. The first is that it’s harder than it looks, particularly if you aren’t very flexible. The second is that you’ll improve extremely rapidly. And that’s why this is a perfect beginner pose. The difference in how your body handles it from your first to your fifth and then 10th session of Child’s Pose can be remarkable, and serves as an excellent snapshot of the general improvements in strength and flexibility you can make with regular yoga practice.