Yoga Moves for Beginners to Try

What are some good yoga moves for beginners to try? Let me answer with a story. I first started practicing yoga at age 12. My mom was going through an emotional crisis and was trying yoga, Zen, therapy, and antidepressants. One of her mentors, Connie, taught me Sun Salutations, which I then practiced every day for the next 15 years. My body NEEDED to stretch and move in this way. As I came into my late 20s and early 30s, I was a regular Ashtanga Yoga practitioner…until I began injuring myself in class due to an ego which told me I needed to be the most flexible and strongest person in the class. After my second SI joint injury where I was flat on my back for a week and living on ibuprofen, I gave up yoga for good.

Until I confronted my own emotional crisis. I was nearing some kind of breakdown, fantasizing about driving into oncoming traffic, and a friend intervened and invited me to a Kundalini Yoga class. I had heard of Kundalini Yoga, but had no idea what it was…but something told me it would be different and that it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. My next stop was the psychiatrist, so why not?

During that first class, in October 2009, something profound shifted in me. I felt like I had come home. I began practicing daily at home and long story short, decided to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher in order to share the technology which I felt had saved my life.

Recently, I was contacted by The Wall Street Journal to provide some basic Kundalini yoga moves for beginners to try. After my shock that the WSJ wanted to do a story on Kundalini Yoga, I started to think about what would a professional, non-yoga person be open to trying? So many people have no idea what Kundalini Yoga is, just like I didn’t before my first class. For some people, it will have an immediate impact and change their lives. For others, they will hate it and never try it again. And then there are lots of options in between. Below is the article from The Wall Street Journal, “Yoga Moves for Beginnners to Try.” If this article touched one person, if one person was moved to go try a class and in some way their life was changed for the better, I will be happy. Yogi Bhajan said that it was up to us as teachers to create students who were 10 times better teachers than we were. What a great ego-busting goal…it’s not about me, or being better than others…it’s about opening up opportunities for others to go beyond me and create further students who will become teachers who will supersede them…And it all starts with a first class, a first glimpse into the healing power of this ancient technology. For those who are ready and willing.

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Health and Wellness

“Mind and Body Benefit: Kundalini Yoga Moves for Beginners to Try” by Jen Murphy.

Kundalini yoga shares similarities with other forms of yoga. What sets the style apart is its focus on mind-body awareness.

Kundalini yoga is composed of “thousands of different yoga sets – a series of movements called a kriya – and meditations, each one geared towards a specific purpose,” says Rachel Zelaya, owner and teacher at the Adi Shakti Kundalini Yoga Center of Boulder, in Colorado.

She says the sets work on several levels – physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual – and help with mind and body stress relief. Here, she shares three yoga moves for beginners to try.

  1. Life nerve stretch.

Sit on the floor and bring the legs as wide as you comfortably can. Backs of the knees gently reach towards the floor. Inhale and draw the arms up towards the sky. Exhale and reach the hands down to one foot, keeping the heart slightly lifted and stretching the arms, legs and spine. Then inhale back up to center and exhale towards the other foot. Continue in this way, coordinating the breath and the movement, for 1 to 3 minutes. Eyes can be open or closed. If you can’t reach the foot, reach the hands for the shins.

  1. Spinal Flex.

Sit cross legged on the floor or at the edge of a chair. Grasp onto the shins if you are cross-legged, or knees or thighs if you are in a chair. Inhale and arch the back, bringing the heart forward. Exhale and round the back, stretching into the shoulder blades. Continue in this way, coordinating the breath and the movement, for 1 to 3 minutes. Eyes can be open or closed. Keep the neck relatively stable, chin parallel with the floor. Start slowly and build up speed as you can.

  1. Shoulder shrugs.

Sit cross legged on the floor or in a chair, hands on the knees. Inhale and bring the shoulders up towards the ears, exhale and relax them back down. Continue in this way for 1 to 3 minutes. Start slowly and build up speed as you can.

Find out the answers in our feature article in The Wall Street Journal here.


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