Before anyone on this side of the world had heard of it, yoga was practiced for millennia as a way of aligning all parts of self. It had as much to do with philosophy and developing wisdom as it did with physical fitness.
Some aspect of this history remains with our adoption of yoga techniques but it tends to take the form of an oasis for our busy minds and busier lives. It picked up steam as a fitness routine in the late '90s after aerobics fell out of vogue, but it's managed to endure because of the rewarding sense of wellbeing people often report after doing it.
It was long thought that yoga couldn't possibly keep you as fit as aerobics because it uses up less energy, but some research shows promising effects on body weight reduction and risk of heart disease even compared to other exercises. So if you want to shape up your body while keeping yourself relaxed, yoga seems to be a good train to jump on.
If you're curious, these 10 yoga positions should get you started on your journey to better health at your own pace.
COMMENT and let us know what poses work best for you.
1. The Wind Easing Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
You start by laying outstretched on your back with your feet together and your arms at your sides. As you breathe out, you then slowly bend your knees and bring them towards your chest. Once they get there, hug them in place and hold that position for about a minute.
Then breathe out and slowly return to the position you started in. Repeat this five times with a 15-second break between each pose
2. The Pontoon Pose (Naukasana)
Start this from the outstretched position as the last one. Breathe in and raise your legs as high as you can. Remember to keep your legs straight the whole time and point your toes forward.
Then raise your arms and try to reach out to your toes until you've made a 45-degree angle with your body. Breathe and hold this pose for 15 seconds before releasing and returning to your starting pose. As with before, repeat it five times with 15-second rests between each one.
3. The Half-Boat Pose (Naukasana)
This is similar to the Pontoon, but you can start it from a sitting position. Bend your legs and then put your hands face down on the floor behind your back. Then raise your half-bent legs until your shins run parallel to the floor. Like before, reach out with your arms and try to keep your back straight.
Do this for long enough to breathe in and out 10 times, then release.
4. The Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
Begin on your hands and knees with your arms fully extended. Then tuck your toes under your feet as shown and walk your feet back until your legs are extended. Inhale and stare just ahead of your hands and try to keep your body as straightly aligned as possible. Hold this position for as long as possible and then exhale and return to your knees.
As with before, repeat it five times with 15-second breaks.