An asana is basically a still posture which is designed to stretch the body and awaken the mind. Any posture is done within your body’s limits and its natural alignment without causing harm or pain. The fact that you may not be as flexible or graceful as anyone else is not what matters. What is important is you start yoga, enjoy the benefits of regular practice, and make it part of your life.
Your breath is what will bring your yoga to life. Good breathing technique is reassuring, calming, and healing. Even in a still pose the breath is never stagnant. When you are concentrating on your breath there is an awareness of cleansing, lightness, and mental clarity, whilst the holding of the breath is dulling the sensations and restricting the body’s natural rhythm.
Awareness of the breath will draw the mind to the present moment and allow you to focus.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior pose 1).
This pose works the arms and legs, strengthens the back, and opens the chest.
Stand with the legs about 1.2 meters apart. Turn your right leg and foot inwards about 60 degrees so you do not twist your knee. Then step to the left with the foot straight ahead, then turn the body so that you face over the left leg. Bend your left knee to about 60 degrees, and with your back straight press the back heel down to straighten the knee. Take your arms out to the sides, turn the palms up and raise the arms overhead to join the palms. As you breath deeply, feel the stretch of the chest and abdomen. Stay in the pose for 10 breaths and maintain awareness of your posture throughout.
Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior pose 2).
This pose gives self-reliance and independence and the raised head, fearlessness.
Take a wide stance so that when the arms are stretched out the hands are above the feet. Turn your right leg and foot inwards about 60 degrees, so you do not twist your knee. Then with your left leg and foot straight ahead, slightly turn the body so that the left shoulder is over the left leg. Bring you hands onto your hips and compare them for height if they are not the same make an adjustment so that they are. Bend your left knee at 60 degrees so that you can only see your big toes, this keeps the knee over the ankle.
Balasana Child pose.
Child pose is useful when you need to rest in your practice.
Sit on your heels with your knees together. Fold forward over your thighs, and rest your forehead on to the floor, if possible. You can always rest the head on a pad if that is more comfortable. Then either place your hands in front of you like the picture or the arms can extend backwards so that the hands are near the feet.
Vrikshasana Tree pose.
This is a balancing asana which is designed to straighten the spine, strengthen the thighs, calves, and ankles.
Stand with your feet together, inner ankles and inner knees touching. Shift your weight onto your left foot. Bend your right knee and move it out to the side whilst bringing the sole of the right foot up to the inside of the left thigh. Depending on your flexibility you may not get your foot up to the thigh that is OK, just work on your balance and upright posture. Then bring the hands to the centre of the chest with palms together.
Stay in this pose for 10 breaths, finding length on each inhale and rooting down with each exhale.