When you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you might have built up a bit of an ego. You might be seeking out the most advanced poses and classes, with the toughest teachers, and you might be pushing yourself as far as you can. Sound familiar?
Pushing yourself too far in yoga can get you into sticky situations, especially if you try poses that are too advanced before you are ready for them. This is why going back to yoga basics every once in a while can be immensely beneficial to you, even if you’re not a beginner to the yoga mat. A basics yoga class can be so much better than pushing yourself into advanced practices, and perhaps injuring yourself.
Here’s a few simple reasons why going back to basics can actually help you on the way to becoming more advanced at yoga, and a few basic poses to go back and master.
You can appreciate your abilities
Sometimes, it's good to take stock of how far you’ve come in your abilities, and take some time to appreciate all the skills you know and how much you’ve learnt since your first ever yoga class. There’s nothing like a basics class to help you remember those first ever yoga poses, and how easy you might find it now compared to then.
If you only ever push yourself, you’ll never have many of these appreciative moments, so as you develop more advanced skills and techniques, go back every now and again to practice the easy stuff. You’ll come across poses you once found difficult, that are now easy to do and much more understandable.
Going back to basics is a great way to prove to yourself you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and give you the confidence in your abilities with some trickier poses.
You’ll perfect what you know
Going back to basic poses and practices gives you the space to perfect what you know and learn more about alignment. All the questions you may have about any pose that you’ve been too shy to ask, will probably be answered in a basics class, as the idea is to teach students trying them for the first time.
The nitty-gritty alignment details might be glossed over in more advanced classes, but you can really hone in on it in a basics class. Keeping things simple in the basic variations of a pose might help your understanding of the mechanics of the pose in its purest form, and help you in your more advanced classes in the future.
You’ll learn new skills
Yes, even the most advanced yogi can learn something from a basics class. Yoga offers lots of pathways to poses and techniques, and revisiting the basics with a fresh pair of eyes can help you learn something new. Going back to a beginners mindset can open your mind up to learning, and you can actually learn to advance your poses through going back to the start with them.
Basic poses to revisit
1. Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is your base for all yoga standing poses. It allows you to learn how to properly ground your feet and feel the earth under your toes. It’s a lot more than just standing! Stand with your feet together and press down through all your toes and spread them open. Engage your quadricep muscles, which will help to lift your knee caps, and lift through your inner thighs. Hold your abs in, lift your chest and press your shoulders down.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is a staple in most, if not all yoga practices and classes, as it stretches and strengthens your whole body. If you come onto all fours, keeping your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, them tuck your toes under, lifting your hips up off the floor. This will help to stretch out your body, and if you try and straighten your legs you will give an extra stretch to your hamstrings.
Plank is a great pose that not only comes up in yoga classes but also in other fitness classes. This pose is a great way to balance on hands and using your entire body to support itself. It also creates great abs, and uses breath work to endure this hard pose!
Plank teaches us how to balance on our hands while using the entire body to support us. It is a great way to strengthen the abdominals, and learn to use the breath to help us stay in a challenging pose. From all fours, tuck your toes under, and lift your legs up, sliding your heels back so you’re one long line. From here you can engage the abdominals and draw your shoulders down from the ears.
Tree pose is a great posture to practice your balance and work on your focus and clarity, and learn to breathe while standing and keeping balanced. Stand with your feet together and place one of your feet on your inner thigh. Press your hands in prayer and hold a steady gaze.
5. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a great resting pose, not just for beginners but for practitioners of all levels. It’s a good pose to have in your arsenal to use when you feel fatigued in other poses, before you go to sleep, or even when you need a little mental break or some stress relief. Start out on all fours and bring your knees and feet together, sit your bottom back to your heels and stretch your arms forward, lowering your head to the floor and simply release!
By Amy Cavill
Practice one of these back to the basics yoga classes, right now!
Fine Tune Your Forward Fold with Ellen Kaye
Foundation Flow with Kristen Boyle
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