Yoga for Body & Mind with Jasmine Tarkeshi Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Beginner's Practice

35 min - Practice


Start exactly where you are. Jasmine guides us in an accessible practice to open and stretch the body and quiet the mind. You will feel more calm, grounded, and balanced.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Beginner's Sample Practice. Beginning your practice is one of the most empowering acts of self-care that you can give yourself and can also, of course, be the most challenging part. Starting anything is perhaps, just getting started, is what's challenging. So for me, just getting onto my mat even and breathing and starting to move a little bit with yoga's most basic practices really gets me into the movement of my body and my breath and then it begins to evolve from there. So we're going to come into our breath, we're going to start on our backs to really tune into the rhythm of our breath and the most important thing is to begin to carry this breathing into the rest of your practice. If you ever get fatigued, rest and the magic is in the repetition, we just continue to show up again and again and meet ourselves where we are. So enjoy. So the first thing is to go ahead and lie down on your backs, a blanket underneath your knees as nice as it begins to release the lower back out of any tension.

So I like to roll it underneath my knees and then you can also keep the knees bent so you can begin to feel your body release into the ground and allow gravity to really take over and then you can begin to release the knees to the ground. And then place one hand onto your belly and one hand onto your heart and you'll begin to tune in to the natural rhythm of your breath. Yoga breathing kind of goes opposite than what we're used to. It actually starts with a deep exhale. You can breathe everything out and then begin to feel the inhale draw in through the nose. Your lips are slightly closed but this yogic breathing happens in and out through the nose and with the slight constriction in the back of the throat, you may even begin to hear the sound of the breath.

It's oceanic and then begin to bring your awareness to your belly. So this draws the breath out of shallow chest breathing that actually creates stress response in the body to the resting response, which is deeper inside naval breathing. So you'll just feel the rhythm and the rise and fall really like the waves of the ocean as it dissolves stress and slows everything down. So it's like a little mini retreat anytime I do this breathing. And then for the next few breaths before we get moving, you want to see if you can begin to create pretty equal inhales. For me, it's about a four count.

For you it may be less or maybe more. So the inhale goes in for about four. There's a slight pause or a retention and then the exhale for four. And do this around three more breaths. Inhaling, two, three, four, slight pause and then the exhale, two, three, four. Breathing in again for a count of four. There's that slight pause and then this time you can even see if you can stretch the exhale out a little bit more, two, three, four, five and maybe even six.

And take one more deep breath in. This time you can begin to let go of the counts. It'll naturally slow down a bit more and breathe out. Next time you begin to breathe in, go ahead and give yourself a big hug. That was awesome. It's the whole point of the yoga practice. You'll see it starts to get easier to show up. Again, when it's this act of great self care.

And then keep the right knee into your chest and you're going to begin to exhale and lengthen the left leg long. The blanket can still stay here or you can begin to move it out to the side. And then give yourself a big hug of the knee into the chest. You can roll your ankle around. You're going to feel some sensation in that right hip flexor as you hug the knee in. And then from here, you're going to roll over onto your left hip, keeping the right knee bent and then extend the right arm forward.

So it's a supine twist, just allowing the weight of the body to release into the earth and following that natural breath. Every inhale you'll rise and with every exhale, there's a release into the ground. Just take one more big inhale and then breathe everything out, releasing into the earth. And your next breath in, roll back onto your back of a hug of the right knee into the chest. And then from here, you're going to interlace your hands underneath your right thigh and then begin to exhale and lengthen the right leg up.

You begin to breathe in, bend the knee, hug it in towards your chest and then with the exhale, you'll begin to release the leg up. And one more inhale to give the hug in towards your knee. And then for this one, if you have a strap handy, you can begin to wrap it around, especially if your hands don't reach your foot just yet. It doesn't have to be a loop, but you're just extending your arms. It's magic. You get a little bit of length there if your hands don't reach your foot. See if your shoulder blades can really continue to sink towards the ground. And then you can begin to just using the breath and gravity to begin to breathe a little bit deeper into the hamstring.

So take one more big inhale and then even as you exhale, you begin to lift your head up. You'll start to feel a little warmth there in your belly as the navel draws down. And again, that slight pause and then release your body into the ground. You can take your strap and place it over to the side. And again, one more big hug for showing up. Keep the left knee in your chest. Extend the right leg out long. A big hug into the left knee. Everything else stays released to the ground. You can take little circles around with the hip. And then this time you'll rock on over onto your right hip.

Each side may be different as you drape the knee towards the ground and then allow gravity to really take hold of your left shoulder. And about three breaths. You'll inhale right up into the chest even and then exhale from the belly. Inhaling. Savor it and then exhale. One more breath in. Every inhale is nourishing and then every exhale is cleansing. On your next breath in, rock onto your back. Another hug of the left knee in towards your chest and then stretch it up. You can circle through your ankles. Feel the skin stretching around your muscles, calves.

And then bend again as you inhale. And then moving with the breath as you exhale. Again, inhale the knee in towards your chest. And exhale, lengthen. Bend your knee one more time. Find your strap. Hook it around your foot. Lengthen up through the legs. Walk your hands up as far as you can go towards your foot. And then as you begin to breathe out, bend your elbows. So you're lifting yourself. See if you can firm the right thigh down towards the ground. Hold for a breath. And then release down. Move your strap over to the side. And another big old hug. You can rock a little bit from side to side on your spine. And then begin to rock on up to sit.

So from here, you'll come into yoga's most, one of their most favorite and famous poses, child's pose. So with the hips moving back, although I've never seen my child do this pose, so you can begin to let your hips move towards your heels. And then release your head towards the ground. And your knees can be open so that the head can really release. And then your palms can open up as you let your head rock side to side and come back into that soothing rhythm of your breath as it washes over the head. So take one more big breath in. Allow your hips to sink down. And honoring this being in this place of the beginner's mind, the yogi's mind.

That's always right here to receive the gifts of the moment. And make sure you come back here. If you ever lose your breath or are feeling tired or need to pause, this is where you keep coming back to to reset. Find your next inhale. Draw you forward up onto your hands and knees. Walk your knees directly underneath your hips and your hands underneath your shoulders. And we're going to coordinate that rhythm of the breath with our movement. So these two transitions are called cat and cow. As you drop the belly, you're going to lift the chest.

And this is cow pose so that the shoulders roll back away from the ears and the heart widens and the tailbone lifts. And as you exhale, begin to empty everything out, drawing the tailbone in your head and towards the chest and breathe into the back of your body. And again, breathe in. Drop the belly. Lift your head. Lift your tail. And as you exhale, round in towards yourself, breathing everything out. One more time like that with a big breath in. Lift the gaze of the chest. And then exhale, round in towards yourself. And from here, you can even begin to tune into your body a little bit. You're welcome to move your hips from side to side. You can circle your head.

So really giving your body what it needs here. So if you begin to feel sensations, the hips or the shoulders can begin to move organically as you begin to tune into your own needs here in your practice. And then come through center. You're going to roll the shoulders a little bit away from the ears, but keep pressing down through the thumb and index fingers. Even grip your sticky mat with all ten fingertips so that you're really connected to the ground. And then tuck your toes under. Begin to press your hips back towards your heels as you press through the hands. And then slowly begin to lengthen the legs. But keep them bent so that the chest can begin to rest towards the thighs and continue to move the shoulders away from the ears.

You can here even move a little bit from side to side and then begin to lengthen the legs. You'll find some nice length from the movement we were doing on the ground. And you can bend from one knee and bend through the other knee and allow the head to go. The chin can even move in towards your throat a little bit so the back of the neck is long. And then on your next inhale, come forward into a plank pose. So this is, again, you've got to stack up the joints, meaning the shoulders and the elbows and the wrists.

Legs are really actively pressing back as the chest comes forward. And then as you breathe out, you want to lift the front of the body to integrate into the back so that you're joining the front and the back body together. Even take one more breath here, feeling the strength of the arms and the legs. And then lower your knees to the ground, followed by your chest and chin. So in this one, you've got to bend the elbows of the chest, kiss the ground between your thumbs with the tailbone high.

And then from here, you're going to lower onto your bellies. Your forehead can come to the ground so that you're hugging the elbows in. And from there, press into the tops of the feet, just into a little baby cobra, lifting your chest up. Exhale your forehead back down to the ground a couple more times like that. Inhale, baby cobra, moving with your breath again.

And then exhale, down. One more time, up into your baby cobra. And this time you'll press up onto your hands and knees again. Walk your shins forward and come into child's pose. Take a deep breath in and then a deep breath out.

And from here, as you begin to breathe in, you're going to rise up onto your shins and then circle the arms out. So you're still stretching the breath and coordinating your movements with your inhales. At the top of your inhale, grab ahold of your elbows. And as you exhale, you're going to draw the forearms into your belly and then bow forward and down to the ground again as you breathe out completely. Watch for those little pauses so that the inhale will lift you up.

You'll rise up at the height of the inhale. And then you'll fall into yourself at that depth of your exhale and bow your head down. And this again moves with your rhythm of your breath, coordinating your body, your mind, your spirit, all together in the simple dance, rising up and then falling in. And after the next couple, you could even begin to pick up the pace and the exhales may become a little bit more cleansing, powerful. These are like little mini sun salutations, heating up the body a little.

And then rise up one more time. And then exhale to come forward again onto your hands and knees. Always begin to roll the shoulders away from the ears as you press down and then empty yourself into downward dog. Now we're going to move through that sequence of poses, the vinyasa, one breath per movement. So it's plank, knees, chest, chin, right into a baby cobra as the chest lifts.

And then exhale your way back into downward dog. You can breathe everything out and hang out in that void at the bottom of the exhale, that great emptiness. And from here as you begin to pedal through your feet, you're going to take a walk step by step towards the top of your mat. This is slowing everything down and being present for everything. Free step as you come forward and then put a bend in your knees and allow the spine to release.

You can twist a little bit from side to side. You can flutter your lips, allow the head to release. Even let out a little horse flutter of your lips. Let everything go. And then we're going to take it into a simple twist.

So you're going to take the left fingertip center and then peel the right arm up to the sky. Exhale, release the right hand down and then extend the left arm up into the sky. Release your left hand down and then take a walk up your legs step by step across your whole body and find your hands to your hearts up into mountain pose. So one of yoga's most basic poses is to just stand tall in yourself with your arms by your sides. Shoulders can draw back a little bit towards the ears and then down, neck is nice and long.

And then if your chest rises, you do have to slide the front of the ribs in again so that the front and the back, the light and present, past all begin to integrate into the body and that you're shining light into the shadow or what we can't see. So there's awareness on the back, front, sides, the crown of the head and the feet sinking down. Again, the tailbone does draw down towards the earth and from there, there's a lengthening up. And then see if you can find at the same time that same belly breathing, the sound of the breath so that there's movement as well as stillness. This great body awareness and like a mountain that stays steady even within all the changing weather patterns.

It's foggy, it could be sunny, raining, storming, but there is a sense of groundedness and solidity. Take one more big breath in. Exhale down through your feet, deep into your roots. And then from here, we're going to come into tree pose. So our first balancing pose, you can begin to first come onto the ball of the right foot I like to really set up.

Maybe where your tree is, a little sprout you'd like, tailbone can begin to sink down and beginning to shift the weight onto the left foot with the right heel up the inner knee. Hands can come to your heart, you can check out how that feels. And then if you're ready to come up a little bit higher, it could be on your shin. Breath continues to flow through, watch for that. And then last, variation of the pose would be your foot high up to your inner left thigh.

The only thing to be conscious of is that you don't put your foot right on your knee joint. So either above or below, and then you're pressing your foot into your thigh, your thigh into your foot, your hands can come to your heart, gesture of balance. And then when you're ready, you can extend your arms up. Bring it into the ground, you can begin to play a little bit with some movement so that you're grounded and free at the same time. And then inhale your arms up, draw the right knee into your chest, and then exhale to release.

Move a little bit forward and backward, find equanimity between both feet and then shift it over to the other side. On to the right foot, your left heel can come up, see if you can still find that alignment that you did in Tadasana that really is the foundation of all poses with the ribs, back body, front body. Maybe your foot will come a little bit higher, each side is very different. And maybe your left foot will come up high into your inner thigh. Drop your hip down, press your right thigh into your left foot as much as the left foot is coming into your thigh.

Big breath in and out, and again your arms can come up, you can play with a little bit of movement and freedom as well as root it. I just learned that even skyscrapers are built to dance a little bit or else they'll break. Ah, so draw everything in towards center and then you can release your foot down. Again, find both feet on the ground a little bit from side to side, and then come on back up to the top of your mat, breathe your arms up to the sky as you inhale. And as you exhale, you can swan dive over your legs by bending your knees and then touching the earth.

Slowly take that walk back into downward facing dog. Roll forward into your plank pose, and then exhale back into child's pose. And then on your next inhale, rise on it to sit onto your heels, and then swing your legs out and in front of you for Janu Shri Sasana. So forward bendings are nice and calming for the mind, cleansing. So the right foot's going to come back into your inner left thigh just like we were doing in tree pose.

A blanket you can place underneath your knee if it's elevated a little bit too high, but it's just allowing the weight of the body to release into the ground. And it starts with a simple twist. So with your left hand behind you, you can extend the right arm up to the sky, you're welcome to bend the left knee as much as you need, and then begin to come forward at a little bit of a diagonal so that you're revolving the right side of the ribs towards the left. And then you can begin to take your left hand towards the inside of the right foot. And draw your shoulders away from the ears to lengthen your spine as you inhale, and then exhale, fold into yourself with your spine nice and long over your left leg.

After a breath or two, your leg may lengthen a little bit, you can breathe in again to lift the chest, and then fold into yourselves as you breathe out. One more big breath in, and breathe out. And on your next inhale, you're going to lead with your right hand as you circle it all the way up and back behind you. You can plant it behind your right hip, and then reach into the right shin, lift yourself up, arching back, and then release your hips down and switch out your legs. So straighten out your right leg.

Slide the left foot close in towards your inner right thigh. Flex through the right toes so that they're nice and active, and then plant your right hand behind you with your left arm up, that little bend in the knee so that you begin to fold forward from the waist. And then begin to pour yourself forward over the right leg first, finding that twist with the left side of the ribs forward, and then your right hand can join. Lift the chest and breathe in, lengthen the spine as you come forward, breathing into the whole back of the body. And still continuing to soften the belly, soften your face, bringing your awareness inward.

One more big breath in. And empty all the way out. And this time leading with your left arm, circle it all the way up and back behind you, plant your hand to the ground, and then press down into your left shin, and then rise up. And then release your hips down to the ground. And then you're going to spin around and take the soles of your feet together.

And if you do have two blocks, they're nice to use in restorative poses. So you're going to take them underneath your knees. If you also had your rolled up blanket, they can come underneath your knees. But in this way, the legs are really supported as you begin to lower back down onto your back. So it's a passive hip stretch.

Again, with the weight of the body surrendering into the ground, it's just breath and gravity that you're calling on to open up the body, rather than any physical force. But it's more the practice of surrender of the body over to these great forces. So you can end the way that we started, one hand on your belly, one hand on your heart, filling up as you breathe in, letting the breath drop down low again, this creative center of the body. And then exhaling to empty everything out, slowing down those breaths for maybe even a couple of beats longer than the inhale. Inhaling, filling up, slowing it down.

And exhaling, allow the breath to rinse all the way out through the pelvis, through the feet. And this great gesture of receptivity. Big breath in and out. And after the next few breaths, right from here you'll come back into shavasana, or this relaxation pose. So you can reach for your blanket again to slide underneath your knees.

And allow the legs to lengthen your arms by your sides. You can even press into the back of your head so that your shoulders can slide underneath. Squeeze everything tight and then allow the weight of your body to release into the earth. And even after the next breath, still even let go of your breathing we started out with. And allow yourself to be breathed and be held.

Continue to let the weight of your body sink down into the earth. But gently bring your awareness back for a more aware experience of relaxation, of ease. And see if you can scan your body for any sensations becoming more aware. And then begin to make your breath more conscious. Conscious breathing becomes conscious living.

Move your fingers and toes and come back into your body. And then give a hug of your knees in towards your chest. Rock over onto your right side for a moment. And then rise on up back to sit. You can slide your padding right underneath your sitting bones.

So you rise up and we'll end in just a few minutes of meditation. Simple meditation, it's called Buddha's Peaceful Abiding Practice. So it's one of the most basic meditations sitting up nice and tall. Your shoulders sliding back and your chest open, your hands simply resting on your knees. It's a practice of being as you are.

So with your legs cross-legged, as much padding as you need to sit up comfortably, your sitting bones rooting. In this practice even the eyes aren't closed. Eyes are gently open gazing at the earth and our commitment to stay awake to even the most basic experiences of our lives. Simply place your mind on your breath as it is naturally, following it in and out and simply noticing without judgment. Buddha simply means awake and present.

Final instruction here is when you notice your mind thinking, you can gently label it thinking and then come back to your breath. In this way, disentangling your identity from your thoughts. Coming back into the moment. And then take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for showing up to your practice. See you again soon. Namaste.


Jill C
3 people like this.
Thanks, Jasmine! I am an experienced yogini, however I found this to be perfect for an early-morning practice. I really like your style and way of instruction. I look forward to practicing with more of your videos!
Gayathri S
2 people like this.
Thank you Jasmine- This was a beautiful way to ease back into a self-awareness practice with a beginner's mind all over again. I appreciate and am grateful for your kind and gentle instruction with an internal reminder for non-self-judgment. Blessings!
Uma F
1 person likes this.
This was a great class,not just for beginners, I enjoyed very much, your calming voice, draw me in. You have a great sparkle about you, playfulness and sweetness, I can say you are one of the best teachers I have come across, hope some day I can travel to SF which I love and receive clases with you. Hari Om
1 person likes this.
Jill Gayathri Uma Thank you so much for the warm and thoughtful feedback! I am so grateful to share this practice with you and really hope to have you back again! Love, Jasmine
Kate M
Whether a beginner or not, it is so very good to return to the ground of the practice. This was quite lovely. Thank you, Jasmine!
Kerry N-W
1 person likes this.
Thank you--for the first time ever I was able to lift my foot to my thigh in tree pose. Your instruction to press the thigh into the foot made it possible. It felt sooooo good.
Madeleine R
wonderful beginners denonstration
Sandra Židan
I am not a beginner but I also liked this breath orientated practice! Thanks, Jasmine! ❤️
Rosanna S
1 person likes this.
This felt great on a day I woke up crabby after an unideal night of sleep. I'm ready to face the day as myself now!
Peter Ferber
1 person likes this.
Jasmine, Thank you.

I took your class yesterday, after watching a memorial service for a departed family member who I now have some regret about not knowing more fulsomely in life, and just after your narrative about beginner's mind, I started to feel nauseous.  To be clear, the practice was not the problem, but the information I processed from the momentous event the day before.

I had the luxury to exercise sel care that day, which is the whole point.  I took to heart your narrative about beginner's mind and accepting the gifts that come, even if this gift came with nausea and throwing up.  The key is in the framing: The bugaboo to otherwise teachable moments are such sentiments as "This is inappropriate." and "Why me?" 

Absent bugaboo sentiments, my inner critic was not forced into silence but in deep quietude, witnessing, and healing.  Ahhh.  ~ Peter Ferber

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