Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is about what you learn on the way down. — Dr. Jigar Gor

Three Guidelines to Keep in Mind

Before you start on a yoga program, I believe it is important for you to know the answer to the question "Why yoga?" Yoga brings awareness not just to the end goal of the activity, such as touching your toes, but to the entire process of getting there. It incorporates relaxation techniques (deep breathing) as it helps you optimize not just your physical, but also your mental and spiritual health. Let's start you out with three basic guidelines.


Take smooth and even breaths, hold for about a count of five before letting go gently. As you get more practice, you will learn how to breathe deeper and hold it for longer.

Listen to Your Body

Don't hold a pose any longer than your body can handle it. You should be able to get into and out of a pose with grace and dignity. A struggle is a sign that you are pushing too hard. With practice, you will get better.

Check With Your Doctor

Check with your doctor before starting a yoga regimen to make sure you do not worsen an existing problem.

Ready? Let's begin.

Seven Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners

Seven Poses to Get You Started

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

This deceptively simple pose is the foundation for all asanas. Stand tall, put your feet together with big toes touching. You can separate your toes slightly if maintaining balance is a problem.

Close your eyes and let your arms fall on your side, fingers together. Breathe in slowly, hold for a count of five, breathe out. Relax your muscles intentionally one group at a time as you feel the stress leave your body.

Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)

This is a combination of two poses. Let's start with the Cow pose. Get into a horseback riding position, on your knees, palms down on the floor, fingers pointing forward, back parallel to the ground, neck aligned. Inhale as you drop your abdomen downwards and simultaneously raise your chest and lift your chin upwards. Push your shoulders away as you maximize the stretch.

This is followed by the Cat pose. As you exhale, arch your back upwards towards the ceiling, moving your neck and head downwards in the pose of a frightened cat.

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)

Lying down on your belly, inhale and lift your body supporting it on your palms and feet. Palms and feet should maintain full contact with the floor facing forward, feet about hip-wide apart, legs and arms at full stretch.

Your body will form an inverted "V" shape, hinged at the waist. To relieve some pressure, you can bend your knees slightly. Breathe in and out as you hold the pose. Come back down to Child's Pose to rest (see below) before repeating again.

Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose is an excellent resting pose that helps you cool down between asanas. Kneel on the floor, knees about hip-wide with your feet pointing backwards, and the top of your feet in contact with your mat. Bend at your knees to rest your buttocks on your parted heels, and then bend forward arms outstretched forward bringing your face down in contact with the mat. Breathe steadily.

You can hold this pose even for a few minutes. Notice how it relaxes your body. You can use this asana to relax between poses, or whenever you need a break during the day.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

The Locust Pose is excellent to strengthen the entire back. Lie on your belly and breath in as you raise your chest and your legs off the floor. Spread your arms out backwards at full stretch. Breathe out as you release the pose and come down to the ground. Repeat five times.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

The closest equivalent of a squat, Chair Pose helps strengthen your legs and lower back. Start from the Mountain Pose with your feet together. You can widen your position to hip-wide to make the pose easier to balance. Inhale as you bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you were sitting on a chair. Simultaneously, stretch your arms upwards along the sides of the head. Exhale as you return to Mountain Pose.

Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

Another deceptively simple pose, the Corpse Pose simply involves lying on the floor and staying still. This is easier said than done. Lie down on your back, legs hip-wide apart. Spread your arms out along the sides. Now comes the hard part. Relax every muscle in the body and lie still as you breathe deeply.

Even as you relax, try not to fall asleep. Instead stay mindfully aware of your body as it relaxes. Maintain this pose for a few minutes. You should use this pose to cool down after every yoga session.

Yoga is intrinsically connected with the practice of meditation, providing an avenue to simultaneously sustain physical, mental, and spiritual health. Most beginners find it hard to disconnect from the frenetic pace of their lives as they try to step into the peaceful world of yoga and meditation.

This is where Namaste can help you. It is the perfect timer to draw a line separating the two worlds. Let the Tibetan bells transport you into a world at peace with itself, as your body reharmonizes with nature once again.