Health & Wellness

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Common yoga poses to know

The popularity of yoga has grown considerably in recent years. Though yoga may trace its origins to ancient India, nowadays this popular approach to balancing the mind and body is practiced all over the world.

For those who want to give yoga a try, it helps to be familiar with some of the basic poses one can expect to encounter at the gym or yoga studio. While few can master the following poses on their first day, beginners should know that if they commit to regularly practicing yoga, these poses will get easier over time.

• Chair pose: This is a bended position pose in which the knees are bent over the ankles. Arms are up, and the torso forms a right angle over the thighs. Beginners can experiment with moving the feet closer together for a more advanced pose. Do not extend the knees over the toes and rest on the heels.

• Child's pose: This is a pose for rest and stretching. Get in a kneeling position with toes touching and hips and knees spread apart. Extend the arms overhead on the floor and lower the forehead to the ground.

• Downward-facing dog: This is an inversion that opens up the entire body and can stretch the spine and the back of the legs. The back should be straight and the tailbone should be pulled away so your body forms a "V" shape.

• Forward fold: When performing a forward fold, you are bending over from the waist. Having a straight spine is more important than having straight legs.

• Mountain pose: Mountain pose is perhaps the most basic of all the poses and also one that is quite important, as it aligns the spine with the rest of the body and grounds you. Lift your thighs and lengthen through the waist, drawing in the navel. This serves as the basis for other poses.

• Tree pose: Tree pose is an introduction to balance poses. You stand on one foot as the other lays nestled against the thigh on the standing leg.

• Warrior one: This pose places a leg forward into a right angle in which the knee is over the arch of the foot. The back leg is extended into a 45-degree angle behind the body. Arms are raised above the head. Both hips should be facing forward.

• Warrior two: Warrior two is similar to warrior one, but the arms are stretched in opposite directions parallel to the floor. Turn the head and look out over your arm in the direction you are facing.

Various poses may be covered in beginner yoga classes, and beginners unfamiliar with certain poses can simply pause and observe their fellow classmates if they are unsure of certain poses. Always begin slowly and breathe when working through these poses; consult with a yoga instructor to help develop proper form.