While Costa Rica yoga workshops cater to students with a range of experience levels, many people who attend have never tried yoga before. For true beginners, we’ve broken down seven poses perfect for first-timers to create a quick primer.
Roll out your mat, find your center and familiarize yourself with these poses.
Benefits: Great breathing exercise, improves posture and mental clarity.
The pose: Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides, palms facing in. Make sure your neck is aligned with your spine. While taking slow deep breaths, raise your arms until they’re stretched above your head
Benefits: Relaxation, stretches the back muscles
The pose: Sit on the floor on your knees, with your butt resting on your heels. Bring your chest towards the floor and rest it comfortably on your knees. Lower your head and shoulders to the floor and outstretch your arms in front of you. Breathe deep and relax in this pose as long as necessary.
The pose: Standing with both feet firmly planted on your mat hip-width apart, bend at the waist, placing your palms on the mat in front of you. Walk your hands forward until they are in front of your shoulders and spread your fingers wide. Press your hips upward to create an inverted-V form. Keep your knees slightly bent with both feet flat on the ground.
Benefits: Strengthens legs and ankles
The pose: Stand with your legs three to four feet apart. Turn your right foot out at a 90-degree angle and turn your left foot in slightly. With your hands on your hips, relax your shoulders, then extend your arms out to the side with your palms facing down. Next, bend your right knee 90 degrees so your knee is positioned above your ankle. Breathing deep modulated breaths, gaze over your right hand. Hold this pose before repeating on the opposite side.
Benefits: Balance, entire-body stretch
The pose: Stand up straight with feet together and hands together in front of your chest in a prayer pose. Lift your hands over your head. Balance your weight on your right leg while bending your left knee out to the side and pressing your left foot to the inner thigh of your right leg. Hold the pose, then switch legs and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Stretches the back, eases back pain
The Pose: Position yourself on your mat on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders. With your weight equally distributed between your hands, spread your fingers wide. Inhale and round your back as you lower your chin to your chest. As you exhale, lower your back and lift your head, tilting it backwards, creating a bowl shape.
Benefits: Strengthens chest, neck and spine
The pose: Lie on your back on the floor with your arms at your sides. With your knees bent, press your feet into the floor and lift your hips. Clasp your hands under your lower back, pressing your arms against the mat for support. Next, lift your hips until they become parallel with the floor while bringing your chest to your chin. If this pose proves difficult, try using pillows under your head or under your hips.
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