When you begin yoga, it can seem intimidating and difficult to know exactly where and how to start. Some postures are essential to learn so that you can feel comfortable in a class or practice alone at home. It's not easy to pinpoint everything, as there are over 300 positions in physical yoga (asana) practice, but these poses can help you get on the right path.

Yoga Positions to Practice

A fundamental position in many styles of yoga is the head down dog. It helps strengthen shoulders, arms and legs, lengthens the spine and relieves pain in the upper, middle and lower back. If you spend a lot of time sitting with your hips at 90 degrees, this can create problems, including limited joint mobility. The garland posture helps to open your hips and thighs and lengthen your spine. It helps keep your pelvis and hip joints healthy. Board posture is one of the best ways to build core strength as well as strength and stability in the wrists, arms, shoulders and quadriceps. The stork posture is perfect for people who do not have mats or a lot of space. Calming the nervous system, the stork also stretches the spine, buttocks and strengthens the quadriceps and knees. The crescent moon posture stretches the hip flexors at the front of the upper thigh and pelvis, while strengthening the leg and back muscles.

How to practice yoga?

Yoga is usually practiced barefoot on a sticky yoga mat with optional yoga accessories. Yoga movements and postures require clothing that can stretch and move freely with your body. Yoga classes may use additional accessories, the most common being straps, blocks, blankets and bolsters. You don't need to buy them right away because you can easily replace these items with scarves, a pile of books and pillows. If you take a class at a yoga studio, they will provide you with everything you need.

How often should you do yoga?

If you can practice yoga three or more times a week, you will see significant improvements in flexibility, range of motion, strength, balance, inner peace and overall well-being. Ideally, shorter, more frequent sessions of 20 to 45 minutes are recommended. As with most things, the more time you can devote to it, the more benefits you will reap.