Beginners Yoga

Learn the basic poses to build strength, flexibility, and endurance.

For someone who is new Yoga, there are certain poses (or asanas) that you need to know before moving on to the next level. This is important because mastering these poses makes it possible for you to do more complex poses without injuries.

For someone who is new Yoga, there are certain poses (or asanas) that you need to know before moving on to the next level. This is important because mastering these poses makes it possible for you to do more complex poses without injuries.

It is difficult to single out some poses as beginner yoga poses since physical yoga has over 300 positions. But this list ought to give you a good start as a beginner in yoga. Doing each of these for 5-10 breaths each day is a good way to launch your yoga routine.

1. Plank

Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana. Then inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders directly over the wrists, torso parallel to the floor. Press your outer arms inward and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the abdominals
  • Learn breath control in a challenging pose

2. Tree

Start with your feet together and place your right foot on your inner left upper thigh. Press your hands in prayer and find a spot in front of you that you can hold in a steady gaze.

Hold and breathe for 8-10 breaths then switch sides. Make sure you don’t lean into the standing leg and keep your abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed.

Benefits:

  • Gain focus and clarity
  • Learn to breathe while standing and the body balanced on one foot

3. Triangle

Start standing with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Open and stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left toes in about 45 degrees.

Engage your quadriceps and abdominals as you hinge to the side over your right leg. Place your right hand down on your ankle, shin or knee (or a block if you have one) and lift your left arm up to the ceiling.

Turn your gaze up to the top hand and hold for 5-8 breaths. Lift up to stand and repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits:

  • Stretch the sides of the waist
  • Open up the lungs
  • Strengthen the legs
  • Tone the entire body

4. Warrior 1

For warrior one, you can take a giant step back with your left foot coming towards a lunge, then turn your left heel down and angle your left toes forward 75 degrees.

Lift your chest and press your palms up overhead. Step forward and repeat on the opposite leg.

Benefits:

  • Build stamina and strength
  • Gives confidence
  • Stretches the hips and thighs
  • Build strength in the entire lower body and core

5. Warrior 2

Stand with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Turn your right toes out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees. Bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle while keeping the torso even between the hips.

Stretch your arms out to your sides and gaze over your right hand. Hold for 8-10 breaths before straightening the right leg and turning your feet to the other side to repeat on left side.

Benefits:

  • Opens up the inner thighs and groin
  • A good starting point for many side postures

6. Seated Forward Bend

Start seated with your legs together, feet firmly flexed and not turning in or out, and your hands by your hips. Lift your chest and start to hinge forward from your waist. Engage your lower abdominals and imagine your belly button moving towards the top of your thighs.

Once you hit your maximum, stop and breathe for 8-10 breaths. Make sure your shoulders, head, and neck are all released.

Benefits:

  • Helps the hamstrings, lower and upper back and sides
  • Helps to open up the body
  • Breathing through uncomfortable positions

7. Downward Facing Dog

Get on to all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Tuck under your toes and lift your hips up off the floor as you draw them up at back towards your heels.

Keep your knees slightly bent if your hamstrings are tight, otherwise try and straighten out your legs while keeping your hips back. Walk your hands forward to give yourself more length if you need to.

Press firmly through your palms and rotate the inner elbows towards each other. Hollow out the abdominals and keep engaging your legs to keep the torso moving back towards the thighs. Hold for 5-8 breaths before dropping back to hands and knees to rest.

Benefits:

  • Stretches and strengthens the entire body

8. Mountain Pose

Start standing with your feet together. Press down through all ten toes as you spread them open. Engage your quadriceps to lift your kneecaps and lift up through the inner thighs. Draw your abdominals in and up as you lift your chest and press the tops of the shoulders down.

Feel your shoulder blades coming towards each other and open your chest, but keep your palms facing inwards towards the body. Imagine a string drawing the crown of the head up to the ceiling and breathe deeply into the torso. Hold for 5-8 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Base for all standing poses
  • Gives a sense of how the feels on your feet

9. Child’s pose

Start on all fours then bring your knees and feet together as you sit your butt back to your heels and stretch your arms forward. Lower your forehead to the floor (or block or pillow or blanket) and let your entire body release. Hold for as long as you want.

Benefits:

  • Relieves tension and stress
  • A good resting pose

10. Bridge Pose

Lie down on your back and place your feet hip-width apart. Press firmly on to your feet and lift your butt up off the mat. Interlace your hands together and press the fists down to the floor as you open up your chest even more.

Imagine dragging your heels on the mat towards your shoulders to engage your hamstrings. Hold for 8-10 breaths then lower your hips down and repeat two more times.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the front body
  • Strengthens the back body