How to Start Yoga with Adriene Mishler
YouTube star Adriene Mishler has become one of yoga’s most recognizable figures. In this guide, she walks us through basic yoga poses and principles to get you started.
LEARN YOGA WITH ADRIENE
Adriene Mishler has been teaching people how to get started with yoga for almost a decade. Her YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene, has earned over ten million subscribers and nearly one billion views since it launched in 2012, and her videos are known for being approachable and laidback—breaking down the basics of yoga for beginners with her dog Benji by her side.
Mishler’s authenticity and come-as-you-are attitude have attracted followers all around the world. She has been an adidas partner since 2015, sharing a vision to bring yoga to the people and help them find what feels good. “Yoga is the ultimate path that guides conscious living, and equips us with a healthy body and mental state,” she says. “You will learn to breathe better, to live better, and to use the tools of pranayama to manage your life with less anxiety, improved sleep, and a centered state of sustainable energy.”
BEGINNER YOGA: BREATHING (PRANAYAMA, PRONOUNCED “PRAA·NUH·YAA·MUH”)
A cornerstone of learning yoga is controlling your breathing techniques, or pranayama. “A lot of people arrive at my class without realizing that they are not breathing in an efficient way,” Mishler tells us. “A great tip to start is to imagine an inhalation that travels down as you breathe in, and an exhale that travels up as you breathe out.”
Begin in any position that feels comfortable to you, whether that’s sitting cross-legged, resting upright in a chair or standing up. Take a minute to simply clear your mind and focus on yourself and the present moment, lifting your chest. With your arms resting comfortably and palms facing upward, take a deep breath in and relax your shoulders as you exhale. On your next inhale, lift your arms and feel a stretch in your body, then lower them as you exhale. Finally, loop your shoulders while inhaling and exhaling completely. This will help get you in the right mindset for your workout.
Once you are able to breathe more efficiently, you will be able to more fully benefit from yoga postures. Aligning your breath with intentional movement is a foundational part of the workout, flowing you through movements in synchronized patterns. As Adriene says, “the best and easiest thing to remember is that the breath always comes first!”
BASIC YOGA POSES
After settling in, try some of these beginner yoga poses—also known as ‘asanas.’ This is a sequence from one of Adriene’s full-length lessons, beginning on all fours:
CAT-COW (CHAKRAVAKASANA, PRONOUNCED “CHACK·RUH·VAA·KAA·SAA·NUH”)
This is an essential stretch that eases tension in the spine and improves circulation in the discs in your back.
- Starting on all fours, make sure your wrists are underneath your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head up while looking gently towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and slowly tuck your tailbone in, rounding your spine outward. Gently drop your head towards your navel.
- Inhale and repeat the stretch as necessary, returning to all fours when finished.
DOWNWARD-FACING DOG (ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA, PRONOUNCED “AD·HO MOO·KUH SHUH·VAA·SAA·NUH”)
One of the most widely-recognized yoga poses, Downward-Facing Dog stretches the hamstrings and calves, also strengthening the shoulders.
- Staying on all fours, inhale and press your hands down evenly onto the floor.
- Exhaling, lift your knees off the floor and reach your pelvis upwards.
- Gently reach your heels towards the mat to straighten your legs.
- Hold for three to five seconds, exhale and release your knees onto the floor.
STANDING FORWARD BEND (UTTANASANA, PRONOUNCED “OOT·TAA·NAA·SAA·NUH”)
Stretch and lengthen both your hamstrings and calves with this asana, a great follow up to Downward Facing Dog.
- While in Downward-Facing Dog, keep your hands planted on the floor and bend your knees, stepping up to the front of the mat until you are in a folded position.
- Clasp your elbows with your hands and press your feet onto the floor, engaging your quadriceps.
- Continue to breathe and let your head hang, relaxed.
- Inhale, release your fingertips to the floor, and slowly rise up while keeping your head tucked into your chest.
WARRIOR II (VIRABHADRASANA II, PRONOUNCED “VII·RUH·BHUH·DRAA·SAA·NUH”)
A popular standing stretch, Warrior II aligns the body to increase stamina and stability.
- Standing in a wide stance, extend your arms outward and relax your shoulders.
- Turn your right foot towards the front of the mat while facing that direction.
- Extend your left leg long, with your foot turned at a 45 degree angle towards the front of the mat, keeping your right knee over your right foot with both heels staying in line.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat in the opposite direction.
WHAT TO WEAR: YOGA BY ADIDAS
Yoga is not just a physical experience, but a spiritual and philosophical journey to knowing yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin is key, and the right wardrobe will help you settle into a flow that melts away distractions from everyday life.
adidas yoga apparel is flexible and lightweight, emphasizing comfort and movement to allow you to bend and stretch freely and focus on your workout. A functional yoga mat or absorbent towel will help keep you steady as you move through each pose.
Whether you decide to mix and match or go for a more uniform look, find whatever feels right to you. "Wear something comfortable, and show up as you are," Adriene says. "If you have a body, a mind, and a heart, it's yours to run with and make it your own."
At the end of your workout, take a moment to reflect by clasping your palms together close to your heart, acknowledging the effort you've just put in—working towards a better version of yourself. Remember to breathe out and relax.
I believe that if we embody the principles of Yoga in the practice, we can embody them off the mat too,” Adriene says. “If everyone was more comfortable, confident in their own skin, able to love and understand themselves better, we may be able to offer that same confidence, love, and understanding to others with more authentic energy and ease.”
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