10 essential yoga poses for beginners 

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For some reason, in the last decade, yoga – in all its bizarre forms (hot, cold, with beer and even, goats) – has become a go-to workout for fitness fanatics. It has transformed from being a workout you might do once a week wearing slouchy tracksuit bottoms to an exemplary physical and spiritual ideal (preferably dressed head-to-toe in the latest yogi range from Lululemon and sipping on a dairy-free, gluten-free, high-protein, pumpkin-seed smoothie). For many, yoga is a lifestyle, not just a form of exercise. So popular, ‘yoga’ actually appeared among the top 15 words in the UK last year. But while yoga-enthusiasts and celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley share envy-inducing pictures on Instagram, performing headstands and complicated poses on far-flung beaches, I, like many others, have been tempted away from the stretchy sport to more intense workout classes such as spinning, HIIT and circuits. That was until last weekend, when I attended the Zest Life’s pure yoga retreat on the stunning Isle of Anglesey. As I sat cross-legged in a room overlooking avocado-green rolling hills, yoga instructor Claire Riley gave us an exercise: think about why you are here. What are you retreating from? What do you wish to let go of? Five minutes later, she says: “Now think about what you want to achieve and what you want to move towards”, and I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with guilt and sadness. Because while everyone else around me was no doubt having a heartfelt experience, letting their mind swim with positive and far-reaching goals and ambitions, mine was stuck circling negative images. Was my stomach about to rumble really, really loudly? Could I sit dead-still on a small, rectangular block for another three minutes without giving up in frustration and quite possibly hurling it at a nearby window? Well, that was me anyway. For beginners, this gut feeling of inner anti-calm is something of a rite of passage – an experience that you have to push through before reaching the promised land of yogic nirvana. And whether or not you get there, the stretches are certainly a good form of exercise – one we can all benefit from, meditation or not. Here, then, are ten easy(ish) poses for you to get started with...

Posted by nearwow 92 days ago in Life  |  telegraph.co.uk
 

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