If you are new to yoga, it can be overwhelming to see all of the tricky poses and postures that require crazy flexibility! Where does one start? Can I become more flexible? How do I even get into that pose? How do I begin if I have never done yoga before?
Don’t worry! Here, we’ll go over some of the most fundamental yoga poses for beginners and how to get into them!
All of our bodies are wonderfully different, and our yoga practices are meant to look slightly different too!
Don’t fret if your pose doesn’t look exactly the same as pictured. Above all, listen to your body and feel free to modify the pose to serve your personal practice!
Generally, I like to hold each posture for 3-5 long breaths. However, some I like to hold for longer! Hold each pose for at least 3 breaths for as long as feels right to your practice.
Who can benefit from these poses?
- Beginners looking to get fit and learn yoga
- Those who suffer from anxiety or stress
- Sufferers of chronic aches and pains
- Those who would like to become more flexible
All of that being said, who’s ready to do some yoga!
#1 Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is the starting position for almost all standing yoga sequences. Close your eyes and take three long deep breaths here before moving into your next pose.
Count how long your breath lasts. Your exhale should last longer than your inhale in order to slow the breath.
- Standing at the top of your mat, place your feet hip width apart
- Plant your weight evenly over each foot. Spread your toes and place them each onto your mat. Feel your weight balanced your toes and heels evenly
- Squeeze and engage your thigh muscles
- Relax arms to your sides
#2 Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a great resting pose for calming the breath, and for taking a moment to relax when fatigued or tired.
I like to drop to child’s pose anytime I need a little break in my practice.
- Starting on your hands and knees, rest your hips back towards the bottom of your feet
- Press your chest to the ground
- Stretch arms out straight in front of you, palms on the ground, until you feel the stretch in your armpit area
- With each breath, relax your chest closer to the floor, deepening the stretch in your armpits
#3 Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is a common pose and is used in most yoga flows. Like child’s pose, down dog is considered a resting pose where you can catch your breath and recoop for the next pose.
- Starting on your hands and knees with legs hip width apart, press into your feet
- Raise your hips toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch down the back of your legs. Spread your fingers out wide
- Push your heart towards the floor and try to straighten your spine
- Pull your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck and feel the stretch in your armpit area
- Stretch your heels toward the floor
#4 Upward Facing Dog
Every pose has a counter pose. When you stretch one direction you always want to stretch the other direction as well. Upward dog is the counter pose to down dog (of course!). So usually when you do one pose, you transition into the other.
- Start from laying face down on your mat, with your hands planted on either side of your ribcage
- Press into the tops of your feet, and the palms of your hands, while pushing your chest forward and pointing your eyes toward the ceiling. Engage your thighs
- Straighten your arms, but don’t lock your elbow
- Roll your shoulders away from your ears and stretch your neck out long. Hold your gaze straight ahead to keep your spine in line
Butterfly is one of my favorite poses! It is a really yummy hip opener that can be modified for practices of all levels!
- Starting seated, bring the bottoms of your feet together and as close to your torso as is comfortable
- Straighten your spine and pull your shoulders away from your ears, making your neck long
- Relax your knees toward the ground with each breath
- For more of a stretch, fold forward over your feet
#6 Standing Forward Fold
A common way to start each practice, forward folds are perfect for warming up the hamstrings and back. It is often used to relieve headaches, anxiety, and insomnia by aligning the spine and neck.
- Starting by standing
- Hinge forward at the hips toward your toes
- Continue bending as far as you like, aiming the top of your head to the floor
- Straighten your arms to rest your fingertips or palms on the floor
- Keep the knees slightly bent
#7 Chair Pose
Chair pose is a great way to warm up and activate the legs and hips! Like a squat, the deeper you sit into the pose, the more challenging it is!
- Start standing, place your feet hip width apart and press evenly into your toes and heels
- Swoop arms forward and up to the ceiling, allow your gaze to follow your fingertips upward
- Bend your knees and sit back as though you are sitting in a chair or doing a squat
- Relax the shoulders away from your ears
- With each breath, sit a little deeper into the pose
#8 Warrior 1
Warrior poses are surprisingly difficult for me. While they look pretty simple, it takes a lot of strength to hold each piece of the pose!
Warrior 1 is a great strengthener for your legs, shoulders, and arms! Because of this, warrior poses are often used as part of a warm up flow.
- Start by standing at the top of your mat. Step one foot back to be at a 45 degree angle with the back of your mat
- Bend your front leg to be parallel with the ground, keeping your knee directly above the ankle
- Raise your arms to reach toward the ceiling, follow your fingertips with your gaze and look upward
- Try to rotate your hips to face forward without moving your feet
#9 Warrior 2
Much like Warrior 1, Warrior 2 is a common warm up position as it gently opens the hips in addition to strengthening the shoulders and arms.
- Start by standing at the top of your mat. Step one foot back to be parallel with the back of your mat
- Bend your front leg to be parallel with the floor while keeping your knee above the ankle
- Extend your arms toward the front and rear of the room, following your front fingertips with your eyes
#10 Cat & Cow Poses
One of my very favorite ways to warm up my spine or to loosen it up when sore, cat and cow poses are the spine’s best friends! It is also a great way to start or finish your practice because it forces you to slow your breath.
- Starting on hands and knees with knees hip width apart
- Roll your pelvis forward and your shoulders back, while pointing your booty in the air and allowing your back to arch
- As you take a long slow inhale, expand your belly to the floor. Imagine as though you are filling your belly with this long breath
- Look up toward the ceiling
- Starting on hands and knees with knees hip width apart
- Roll your shoulders forward and your tailbone downward in order to round the back
- As you exhale slowly, pull your bellybutton in toward your spine to get rid of all of the air in your lungs
- Look down toward the floor
It can be hard to get started
Just remember that we all progress at different paces, and wherever you are in your yoga journey is perfect!
Even if you only spend a little bit of time everyday improving your strength and flexibility, you’re still making progress everyday!
What do I need in order to get started?
You don’t need anything in order to start practicing yoga except for your own motivation! However, having some of these things can be helpful, and can make us feel more motivated and confident in our practice!
Here are some of my favorites:
I hope you’ve liked this series of yoga poses for beginners!
Which pose is your favorite? It would be the biggest compliment ever to leave me a comment!
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