Yoga For Beginners

03 Jun 2009

Give your body and mind a total makeover with our fabulous guide to mastering the bendy basics. Now breeeathe, and relax...

With endless physical and emotional benefits, it’s no wonder that yoga is the body-beautifying workout responsible for honing some of Hollywood’s hottest bods. GWYNETH and MADGE hone their muscles with fitness-revving Ashtanga moves, COURTENEY COX sweats away the calories with Bikram – a loosening workout performed in a 110-degree steam room – whilst super-svelte JEN ANISTON maintains her six-pack by hitting the yoga mat after her strenuous cardio workouts.

Traditional moves aside, breakout yoga styles have quickly worked their way round the celeb circuit. There’s Yogalates, a fusion of traditional yoga poses and pilates; the modern Jivamukti, religiously followed by Uma Thurman, and enlightening Kundalini yoga, which has become de rigueur with the likes of Cindy Crawford and Reese Witherspoon. Intrigued? Roll out your yoga mat and get ready to strike a pose...

Bendy basics
Follow Jumeirah-based Breath Health Alternative Medical Centre’s yoga expert Mona Hydari’s step-by-step guide to starting off and perfecting the celeb-fave bod-toning poses...

The cat
Benefits:The Cat (pose above) gently warms up the spine from the tailbone to the base of the skull.
How to do it:Starting on all fours, roll the tail bone down and under, arching the back up, bringing the chin toward the chest. Exhale, dropping chin to chest, tilting pelvis under and rounding back. Bring the spine back to the neutral position. Repeat 5-10 times.

The cobra
Develops flexibility and strength in the upper spine, tones abdominal muscles.
How to do it:Lie on your tummy with legs outstretched together, palms on the floor and elbows raised close to the body. Place forehead on the floor. On the next inhalation, stretch out the chin, and slowly lengthen the spine upwards, raising the head, neck and chest. Roll the shoulders back and down, opening the chest and gazing upward (pose above). On the next exhalation, roll down slowly. Lower the chin, bring the forehead to the floor. Repeat twice for 15-30 seconds each time.

The butterfly

Benefits:Opens hips, stretches inner thigh and lengthens spine.
How to do it:Sit on the floor, drawing the soles of the feet together and bend knees towards the floor. With your hands, bring your feet closer to your body. Grip feet with both hands. For a deeper stretch, inhale, then exhale, and bend forward from hips as far as you can. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

The corpse
Allows all the muscles to relax.
How to do it:Close your eyes and lie on your back with your feet shoulder width apart, the arms slightly away from the body with the palms up. Mentally go through each part of the body, starting from the feet and observe any tension. If you find any tension, mentally send a message to that part of the body to loosen up. Allow the body to relax completely. Get up when you are ready to face the world!

Celeb soundtrack

Jen Aniston practices her yoga moves listening to her iPod. But what’s on her fave workout playlist?
1 My Friend, Groove Armada
2 Pastime Paradise, Stevie Wonder
3 Let Me Roll, Seal
4 Lebanese Blonde, Thievery Corporation
5 Speed Of Sound, Coldplay

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