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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

12 Yoga Exercises for Beginners to Try at Home

12 Yoga Exercises for Beginners to Try at Home

You’ve heard of the many benefits of yoga but don’t know how to start?

If you’re new to yoga, you might have this misconception in your head that yoga poses are hard to attain. You might also worry about coordinating the beautiful art of inhaling and exhaling while you’re practicing certain poses.

Well, it’s not yoga that’s difficult. It’s just your obsessing mind. And, therefore, take a deep breath, clear your mind of any resistance and expectations and start off reading this article with a free mind.

Yoga is comprised of 300 poses and it’s definitely not easy to be able to master all of them. If you’re randomly picking up a complex one while leaving the simplest one behind, it might seem impossible. Thus, start by choosing the simplest ones, keep yourself regular with the practice, and let your body adapt to the increasing difficulty levels of yoga poses with the steady flow.

Give yourself enough time to master the basics and challenge yourself with the difficult once slowly. That’s all!

So, if you worry about what are the best yoga poses you can start with and easily practice without a yoga teacher, I’m here to help. Here are 12 best yoga poses that you can do at home:

1. Easy Pose

This is a perfect pose to begun any yoga routine. It is one of the simplest yoga pose and the name literally means pleasure pose.

It is done by crossing the legs while sitting so that feet are below knees with back straight and hands rested on the knees with palm up or palm down.

This asana relaxes the body and tones back which becomes stronger and steadier.

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2. Mountain Pose

This is a perfect beginner’s pose for practicing at home. This helps in defining the body posture for next level and complicated poses.

This yoga pose begins with standing firm, keeping back and head straight, firming thigh muscles by lifting knee caps, keeping hands parallel to body and lifting bodyweight on toes and maintaining the position for 7-10 seconds before releasing.

The biggest benefit of mastering this posture is that it is the starting point for standing asanas and can be practiced easily at home as a part of morning or evening routine.

It helps in improvement of body postures, regular practice keeps thighs & ankles stronger, makes spine more agile and regulates digestive, respiratory, nervous systems.

3. Downward Facing Dog

This yoga pose looks similar to the posture of a dog bent forwards, hence the name meaning down-face-dog-posture. This is a very easy to learn pose and beginners can practice it daily with zero side effects.

Start with standing on all four limbs and then lifting your hip to straighten the arms and legs. Shoulders should align with hands and feet should be in line with hips, keeping them straight. Finally, turn your gaze to your navel and hold the posture for few seconds before releasing ad coming to initial position on all four limbs.

This asana strengthens abdominal muscles, improves circulation and digestion, tones hands & feet and decreases anxiety.

4. Cobra Pose

This is a highly recommended pose for the beginners as it helps in building up stamina for higher level postures and tones the upper body.

It starts with laying on the stomach and placing the palms of hands beside shoulders. Then raising the upper body gazing the sky. Once a comfortable height is achieved, press thighs, hips and toes against each other and hold the posture for few seconds before releasing and coming back to same posture of laying on the stomach.

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This asana strengthens spine and tones organs in lower abdomen. It stimulates digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. It opens up lungs and heart and helps in stress release.

5. Warrior Pose

This yoga pose is one of the most graceful asanas in yoga and adds beauty to practice. It has direct benefits to arms, legs and lower back.

It starts with placing right foot 3 feet in front of left and turning your right foot 90 degrees while keeping center of heels aligned. Then, lift the fully stretched arms sideways until they are parallel to the ground. Now, move the arms further up joining the palms at top of the head. Release and repeat the pose with left leg in front.

This asana boosts self confidence, improves walking posture and eases stressed shoulders.

6. Bound Angle Pose

The name of this yoga pose means reclining bound angle. It is beneficial in deep relaxation.

The pose starts with laying flat on the ground on back and bringing feet close to groin. Then opening up knees until they touch the ground and pressing palms downwards stretched towards feet. Before releasing, hug the knees and roll from side to side.

It stimulates kidneys, bladder and heart and blood circulation. It also stretches inner thigh and groin muscles.

7. Chair Pose

Chair pose starts with doing a chair pose, then slowly raising the arms parallel to the ground and bending the knees to mimic a chair until thighs comes almost parallel to the ground. Hold this pose for as long as possible and then release back to chair pose before relaxing the body.

This pose has more physical benefits than spiritual. It strengthens ankles, calves, thighs and spine, reduces flat feet and stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm and heart.

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8. Skull Shining Breath

This is a beginner’s yoga breathing exercise. It can be done sitting or standing.

It begins with placing right palm on stomach, inhaling passively and exhaling aggressively. Repeat the process for 25 to 30 times. Then increase the number as many as one is comfortable in.

This exercise reduces back and neck pain, opens up chest & lungs and rejuvenates blood circulation.

9. Bellows Breath

This is a yoga breathing exercise for the beginners.

Sit with back supported by a wall or chair, keeping the back straight. Breathe in with nose and breathe out with mouth making a ‘AH’ sound. Once comfortable, breathe out with mouth closed. Practice 3 to 4 sets of 10 breaths.

This exercise increases oxygen content in blood, opens up congested nose & chest, improves appetite and is good for abdominal muscles.

10. Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is one of the deep breathing yoga exercises which stimulates and strengthens the entire respiratory system. This helps to calm your sleep, relax and rejuvenate your mind.

It is performed by sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine. Close the right nostril with right thumb, right ring finger close to left nostril rest of the fingers pointed to the sky. Inhale and exhale with left nostril then with right nostril by closing left one with ring finger and releasing the thumb. Repeat the process back and forth for 15 to 20 times.

11. Plank Pose

To begin, lie on the ground with stomach down, place palms beside shoulders, rising up the shoulders while keeping the entire body straight. Hold this pose for 15 to 20 seconds.

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This pose helps in stamina and strength building. You can learn more about this pose benefits here: 7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

12. Corpse Pose

This yoga pose is highly recommended for mind and body relaxation.

It is one of the simplest asana which is done by laying flat on the ground, facing upwards and relaxing the body. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes.

This pose is easy to do, reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Yoga doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It’s simply meant to make you feel free, powerful, and capable in all aspects of life. It is something you should be able to do without pushing yourself too hard.

Start trying these 12 yoga exercises at home and become healthier mentally and physically.

Featured photo credit: Form via unsplash.com

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Deep Shikha

A passionate health blogger and founder of Healthifying World

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

As a general rule, everyone wants to have a sexy and strong body, but no one wants to put in the work. We see a whole lot of excuses being thrown around every time fitness is mentioned, and it’s frightening that only about 3% of people in the US subscribe to the healthy living philosophy.[1]

That being said, have you ever stopped to think about why all these people fail to get in shape? Sure, there are some who are lazy, some with legitimate medical issues, and the readily available cheap junk food doesn’t help, but I think there is something more to it.

People are pressed for time, scared, and confused. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Most people either can’t make it to the gym, don’t have a lot of money to drop on long-term membership fees, don’t feel comfortable exercising around others, or they simply don’t even know what to do when they do get to the gym.[2]

Well, with a few useful tricks, some good information, and a bit of determination, you can create all the right conditions for building an impressive physique without ever leaving the house. Here’s a few things to have in mind:

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Fixing your posture and getting limber

The biggest issue most beginners have when they start working out is the fact that their bodies are so used to sitting scrunched up in front of a screen that they have trouble moving around freely. The human body can be amazingly limber and assume all kinds of positions, but for most people, this is going to require extensive work.

Start by gradually improving your posture over a few weeks, using small exercises, more ergonomic furniture, and just being mindful of how you stand, walk, and sit.[3] You can combine this with a short and sweet stretching routine, done about twice a day, to get your body ready to perform the basic exercises correctly.

Learning the basic movements

While there’s a lot of science behind both getting stronger and getting leaner, it can all be boiled down to a few core concepts and a number of the most effective exercises. Here are the best movements for overall development that you’ll need to master (you can find examples of how to perform all the exercises mentioned here on Bodybuilding.com):

  • Squats: the king of all exercises, the squat builds most of your leg muscles with an emphasis on quads and glutes, if you go nice and deep like you should. It can be a good core and thoracic extension exercise if you hold some weight in front of you, as in the Goblet and Zercher squat variations.
  • Lunges: a great exercise for the quads and glutes that also targets the hip extensors. It also teaches you to keep your balance.
  • Pushup variations:[4] the pushup is so versatile that some call it “the poor man’s gym”. The standard close grip pushup works the triceps, front shoulders, and chest, while wider variations put more emphasis on the chest. Raising your legs pushes the focus towards the shoulders and the upper chest, while the handstand pushup is predominantly a shoulder and triceps exercise.
  • Dips: another great exercise for the lower chest and triceps, this is an incredibly fun movement that can slap mass on you quickly when done correctly.
  • Pull-ups and chin-ups: grab a bar, hang from it with arms almost fully stretched out, and then pull yourself up until your chin raises above the bar. This is a fairly straightforward, yet difficult movement that builds a big back, biceps, and forearms. Position your hands facing the head for more bicep activation, and go a bit wider with palms facing away from you to target the lats better.
  • Rows/inverted row: a horizontal pulling motion that will add slabs of meat to your back and while improving that often lagging back head of the shoulder muscle. It even improves posture by strengthening the spinal erectors to an extent. You can bend over with the back straight and row a weight from the ground, with one or both hands, or you can grab the underside of a horizontal bar, feet on the ground, and pull yourself into it.
  • Glute bridges: a great way to really isolate and work the butt. It also gets the hamstrings, which are often neglected by people working out at home.
  • Floor hip extensions: a good addition that also focuses on the glutes and hamstrings, resulting in well-toned and balanced legs.
  • Calf raises: the calf is a small muscle but an important one, especially for the ladies who want to look great in heels. It’s also easy to just throw in at the end of the workout.
  • Planks, leg raises, and ab wheel rollout: of course, the abs need some attention too, but go for planks, hold for time, side planks, hanging or lying leg raises, and ab wheel rollout for the best results.
  • The Superman: the spinal erectors need to be strong if they are to keep your back healthy, balance out those abs, and keep you nice and tight during most of the other exercises on the list, so definitely give this one a go.

Take a few weeks to just get the form down pat on all these movements and make sure that you are doing a full range of motion and slower, deliberate movements. Don’t just bounce all over the place. Establish and build momentum. You can use a good bodyweight strength training program to make sure you hit all the muscles, keep progressing, and get enough time to recover.[5]

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How to progress on bodyweight exercises

Now, if you want to have a great and lean physique — and this goes for ladies as well — you need to build some muscle to give your limbs that lovely shape you are after, before you can lose the excess flab, and expose that Greek statue of a body. Don’t try to combine endurance work with your strength exercises. Focus on building strength with the exercises above and dedicate some time every other day for things like swimming, jumping rope, or cycling to burn some calories and improve your cardio.

Okay, so the main question is, how does one progress on bodyweight exercises, short of gaining more weight to make them more challenging? Well, there’s a few things you can do. The first thing to do to challenge yourself is to add more reps.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that when you can easily perform 15-20 reps of an exercise and still have a few reps left in the tank, it’s time to make it more challenging by doing one of the following:

  • Add an additional set. If you started at 3 sets of 5-6 reps and you’re now comfortable with 3 sets of 15-17 reps, then you can simply throw in a fourth set into the mix.
  • Do it slower. Busting out 20 quick reps isn’t quite the same as doing 10 slow and controlled reps, where you can even add a short pause when your muscles are fully relaxed before contracting them for the next rep.
  • Shorten the rest period between sets. 60-90 seconds is the sweet spot for resting between longer sets of 10-20 reps, but when things get easy, you can shorten this rest period progressively by 10 seconds, until you are only resting about 30-40 seconds between sets, to make it more difficult before moving on to a more challenging variation or adding weight.
  • Move on to a more difficult variation. When you get comfortable, focus on a variation of the movement that provides a bit of a challenge, e.g. one arm on ball pushups and then single arm pushups, pistol squats, and so on.
  • Add some weight. While you might not have access to barbells, you can always get a fairly inexpensive dumbbell set, a few different sized bags filled with sand, a backpack with some rocks, and even big water bottles and milk jugs will do the trick, just as long as you keep adding weight.

Work hard on your form, then try to go as hard as you can each session without overdoing it. I’d say stop a rep short of failure and rest until you feel you can go for another full set.

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Determining the type of cardio you need to do

Cardio is not that difficult to figure out and it basically boils down to a few simple rules, depending on your shape and goals:

  • If you’re skinny and want to get sexy and muscular: Do light and steady cardio, like a brisk walk for an hour, 5-6 minutes of jump rope here and there, or even just 10 minutes of shadow-boxing or dancing every day. Don’t let it cut into your calories too much.
  • If you’re a little overweight and want to lose 10 pounds or less and build muscle: It’s the same as the previous example, just add 2-4 more intense sessions of running, swimming, circuit training a week into the mix to cut the weight first. Revert to the previous example once you have lost the weight and recenter your focus on building muscle.
  • If you’re seriously overweight and your main concern is cutting 20+ pounds: Again, it’s the same as the previous example, only you can go with even more intense workouts, or daily moderate cardio sessions of about 20-30 minutes for a while. Once you’ve lost most of the weight, revert to the previous example, and then to the first example when you’ve shed all the extra pounds you’d like to get rid of.

You can choose any activity that you like, from jump rope, cycling, and swimming to hiking and and other high-cardio sports.

A look at diets and keeping them reasonable

As far as the diet goes we’ll keep it extremely simple:

  • Try to eat diverse vegetables with every meal
  • Eat fruit, seeds, and nuts instead of sweets
  • Go for lean meats instead of processed meat and cooked food instead of fast and fried food
  • Start counting your macro nutrient intake[6]
  • Cheat if you must, but keep these meals small, few, and far between

As long as you can stick with the program for about 80% of the time, you’ll be on your way to better health and an amazing body!

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DIY home gym basics

Some essentials that can help you get better results at home include:

  • A dumbbell set
  • Pull-Up bar
  • Ab wheel
  • Big ol’ sturdy bags filled with sand

You can do tons of great exercises with these simple tools, but if you can’t shell out for them right now, good alternatives include five gallon milk jugs filled with water, a bunch of books stacked in a backpack, using a friend/partner to lay on you, push, or pull to provide extra resistance, or just lifting heavy furniture and moving it around the room.

It pays to be creative. Look at how certain exercises are performed and on what type of equipment, and try to replicate it using household items. For example:

  • Two chairs = dip station
  • Anything that you can hang off = pull up bar
  • A stack of large blankets on the floor = bench
  • Stick and some rope = forearm exercise machine
  • A towel wrapped on a bar or dumbbell grip = thick grip for hand and forearm strength
  • Car = prowler device for pushing to build endurance and power in the legs

It’s all fairly cheap and you can get as creative as you like, just remember to be consistent with your training in order to see the results you wish to see.

All it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease, and you’ll set up a decent home “gym” and adopt some great habits along the way. It’s all about being consistent and trying to progress on each session, or at least each week, as you keep adding reps, using more complex movements, and adding weight, all while eating right for your current goals. Give it a shot and always remember, 90% of all this is your commitment and the intensity with which you attack these positive life changes.

Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Atlantic: Study: Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
[2] Men’s Fitness: 6 Not-So-Obvious Newbie Training Mistakes
[3] Perfect Postur: Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics
[4] Men’s Fitness: The Top 15 Pushup Variations
[5] Men’s Fitness: 6 Bodyweight Workouts That Actually Build Momentum
[6] On the Regimen: How To Count Your Macros – A Comprehensive Guide

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