If you have ever been curious about beginning a yoga journey, but maybe have felt intimidated by the poses, types of yoga, or stretches, don’t be! Yoga can seem nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before. But once you take a class, you will quickly come to realize that the class consists of the best parts of a great workout: stretching, strengthening, and relaxation.
A common misconception is that yoga isn’t great for endurance, but the truth is adding a yoga class to your routine will improve your cardiovascular health while, at the same time, increasing muscular strength.
It’s also important to remember that practicing yoga is for everyone and there’s never a limit to how much you can learn. There are classes and poses specifically designed for beginners that allow you to dip your toes in the water and gain confidence slowly.
In this article, we are going to give you a beginner’s look at the best yoga types, poses, and stretches. By the end, we hope you’ll see that no matter what your yoga level is, there is a place for you.
The Best Types of Yoga for Beginners
Here are the new five best types of yoga if you are a beginner. It’s important to let your yoga instructor know that you are a beginner as modifications can be made for each of these yoga types in order for you to have the best, most engaging experience.
Hatha yoga is always recommended for beginner yogis as it’s considered a gentler form of yoga. It is, traditionally, a slower-moving class where you hold each pose for a few breaths while maintaining a focus on improving posture.
Vinyasa is a great yoga to practice if you are already a lover of movement. Runners and HIIT enthusiasts tend to favor this type of yoga as it links movement and breath in a dance-like way.
Yoga and Meditation
If you’re a beginner (but, let’s face it, any level can benefit from this class) and you want the amazing mental benefits of yoga, this class is for you.
Yoga and meditation classes focus heavily on mindfulness practices through low-impact exercises designed to calm the mind and reduce anxiety, depression, and even pain. Many of the poses we will be discussing in this article are done in a yoga and meditation class. These include:
- Child’s Pose
- Downward Facing Dog
- Plank Pose
- Four-limbed Staff Pose
- Tree Pose
- Triangle Pose
If you’re a person who thrives on routine, this yoga class is a great way to introduce yourself to yoga. Ashtanga yoga classes teach you to flow and breathe through each pose. This class is great if you want to challenge yourself or you feel like, despite being a beginner, you can handle the movements.
Restorative yoga is always a great place to start when you’re dipping your toes in the world of yoga because anyone can do it.
This type of yoga taps into the parasympathetic nervous system and is great for people with anxiety. Props like blankets, bolsters, and pillows are available to make sure you’re leaning into the poses as comfortably as possible because they are typically held for longer periods of time in order to experience deep relaxation.
Best Yoga Poses for Beginners
Yoga poses, or asanas, tend to be the most intimidating part of yoga if someone has never taken a class before. The poses vary by experience level and can often be modified for beginners.
Yoga poses can be done at home. However, if you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to take a class with an experienced licensed yoga instructor in order to make sure that you are performing these exercises accurately in order to prevent injury.
Here are the seven best yoga poses for beginners!
Child’s pose is a well-known pose in the Yoga world and beyond for good reason. It works to stretch the neck, spine, and hips and is generally low-impact which is great if you are a beginner. You can also add props for modification.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is a great pose for relieving lower back pain. If you struggle with wrist pain, you can modify this pose by placing your elbows on the ground and lifting your hips up and back away from the shoulders.
Plank pose builds strength in your core, shoulders, arms, and legs. Like a traditional plank exercise, you can also modify this pose by placing your knees on the floor.
Cobra pose is great for strengthening back muscles and increasing spinal flexibility. In order to stretch your chest, shoulders, and abdomen, focus on keeping your belly button away from the floor.
Tree pose is a fantastic, low-impact exercise that improves balance along with strengthening of the core, and ankles, thighs, spine, and calves. While in this pose, your instructor will have you focus on your breath which is a great way to practice relaxation.
Bridge pose works to strengthen your chest muscles as well as your back and neck. This pose is fantastic for people who sit most of the day and can be modified with props if you have a bad lower back.
Arguably the most relaxing pose is corpse pose which allows you to feel the weight of your body on the mat giving you ample opportunity to focus on your breathing. This pose can be done by almost anyone and is a staple in meditative yoga.
Best Yoga Stretches for Beginners
The benefits of stretching are increasing as we see an increase in injuries, stiff muscles, joint pain due to a lack of flexibility and daily muscle stretching.
Triangle pose is a standing pose that stretches your hips, hamstrings, calves, and chest while also working to strengthen your knees, quads, and ankles.
Cat/Cow pose is a great pose when warming up the spine and is a great option for some lower back injuries.
Seated Forward Bend
Seated forward bend is a great flexibility exercise for improving your hamstrings and promoting a healthy spine.
Upward Facing Dog
Upward facing dog works to improve your shoulder and lower back strength while engaging the core and opening the chest.
Best Beginners Yoga in Chicago
If you are in the Chicago area and are looking for a great beginners yoga class, contact us today and Yoga Now Chicago! We are here to help you find your passion in yoga and offer many different classes that can provide exactly what you are looking for!