Bending for beginners: Mind Body Green launches a library of yoga poses

Strala Yoga's Michael Taylor creates a library of yoga poses should help take the stress out of those first few New York City yoga classes.

Yoga is supposed to help you relax, but for beginners, the first few classes at a New York City studio can be stressful. You’re trying to breathe correctly, the instructor is calling names of asanas (and animals) that mean nothing to you, and you’re trying frantically to mimic what seems to come naturally to everyone else in the room.

Or, you could avoid this situation altogether by getting a head start with Mind Body Green’s new library of yoga poses and sequences before (and after) you roll out your mat.

The poses come courtesy of Michael Taylor, an experienced yoga guide (he doesn’t like the term “instructor”) at Noho’s Strala Yoga, who holds a degree in mind-body medicine from Harvard and studied alternative medicine and psychology at Oxford. (How’s that for credentials?) Jason Wachob, the New York City-based founder of Mind Body Green, chose Taylor to create the library because of his unique understanding of Eastern movement.  “Also, he moves like a tiger,” Wachob says. Strong and slow.

Crow pose tip from Michael Taylor: move your weigh into the front of your hands

The library features a seemingly endless collection of poses, organized by seated poses, standing poses, arm balances, and so on. Each one has photo, how-to instructions, tips to help you get it right, and information on the benefits of the pose. The sequences come with videos where Taylor demonstrates the poses while narrating his movement and breathing. And how’s this for industrious: Wachob took all of the photos over three hours one afternoon, and the content comes directly from Taylor. (That took a bit longer.)

While the yoga pose library is intended for beginners, an experienced yogi could still use it to look up a challenging pose or improve their current practice. “It’s a good checks and balances system for yogis of all stripes,” says Wachob. — Lisa Held

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