Yoga originated in ancient India and is widely practiced today. Due to its physical and mental benefits, it’s no wonder this ancient practice has made its way into urban centers across the U.S.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a master yogi to benefit from yoga poses, and these beginner poses are sure to get your feet wet when starting your yoga journey.
As a general principle, hold each yoga pose for 10 seconds and remember to take long, slow, deep breaths. Yoga unites the body, mind, and breath. It’s imperative that you remain aware of your breathing to reap the full benefits of this ancient healing practice.
Here are 10 yoga poses for beginners that you should know.
This pose specifically targets your hamstrings and thoracic spine, making it an excellent choice for anyone with tightness in these areas.
- Place your palms underneath your shoulders and keep your legs bent at 90 degrees in an all-four position on the mat.
- Initiate the pose by pressing into your palms, curling your toes under, and lifting your hips high into the sky.
- Press your heels toward the ground and feel a big stretch in your upper back and down the back of your legs.
- Gently pedal your feet one at a time to enhance the stretch.
This yoga pose is often used as a transitional pose between other movements. It is beneficial for grounding you and recentering your mind and body during a series of poses. Come back to this one whenever you lose focus on your breath and need a little break to reset.
- Stand at the top of your yoga mat and bring your feet together to touch.
- Actively separate your fingers and gently move your arms about 5 inches away from your waist.
- Stand tall, feel your feet on the ground beneath you, inhale through your nose, and take a nice long exhale through your mouth.
Warrior I is an excellent pose for building strength and stability.
- Begin with your feet touching and slowly rotate your left foot to 45 degrees.
- Step the right foot forward into a lunge, keeping the front knee at 45 degrees.
- Gently raise both arms overhead while keeping your fingers engaged and active.
- Ensure your entire back remains relatively neutral or slightly extended as you breathe into the pose.
- Keep both hips squared forward in this pose and focus on long slow inhales and exhales.
This variation of the Warrior pose is excellent for building core strength, leg strength, and knee stability.
- Complete the steps for Warrior I to start.
- Now, rotate your torso so your shoulders face parallel to your front leg.
- Unlike in Warrior I, you must extend the arms straight instead of overhead.
- Keep your head facing forward and your gaze strong.
- Take deep long breaths as you feel your front leg working.
This pose is more challenging, but it is certainly doable. If you don’t have the flexibility to keep your hand on the floor, raise the ground by placing a block on the floor and rest your hand on that instead. This pose challenges your hip flexibility and balance the most.
- Take a wide stance with your feet and position your front foot forward and your back foot perpendicular.
- Keeping yourself balanced, bring your left hand to your front foot.
- Rotate your torso so your right arm is now pointing toward the sky, and be sure to look toward your hand.
- Take several deep breaths and maintain your balance as you hold the pose.
This pose is excellent for back mobility and challenges your vertebrae to move in a fluid, but controlled way. Imagine each one of your vertebrae bending one at a time when you initiate each phase of the movement.
- Get yourself into an all-four position on the mat with your spine neutral and your eyes facing the mat beneath you.
- Take a big breath in and extend your back and neck, looking toward the sky above you.
- On the exhale, bend your spine and neck into a C-curve and look back toward the mat beneath you.
Child’s pose is a wonderful stretch for your upper and lower back. It is typically performed in between more strenuous stretches as a relaxation position. Feel free to take a few breaths in this position if you need a break from the other poses you are doing during your yoga session.
- Start on your yoga mat in an all-four position with your toes pointed.
- Push your palms into the floor and sit your butt back on your heels as your head meets the mat gently in front of you.
- With your arms stretched forward, place your forehead on the mat and take long, slow deep breaths into your upper back.
This pose challenges your stability and is excellent for improving your balance and coordination. If you lose balance, don’t worry, just pick your foot back off the ground and try again!
- Place both of your feet together and stand tall to prepare for the pose.
- Lift your arms toward the sky and touch your palms together above your head.
- Simultaneously bring your knee to 90 degrees and then externally rotate your hip and place the bottom of your foot on the inner part of the opposite leg.
- Maintain your upright posture, breathe, and stay balanced!
This pose is perfect for challenging your core and upper body strength. If you find it too challenging to hold the position for several breaths, begin with just a couple of deep breaths and work your way up to holding the pose for several breaths.
- Begin in an all-four position and extend one leg at a time to come into a flat back, plank position.
- Keep your palms pressed firmly into the mat beneath you, and make sure your hands are underneath your shoulders.
- Ensure your head remains neutral, and keep your arms straight and strong as you breathe into the pose.
The pose is excellent for challenging your thoracic spine extension (aka upper back mobility). Just be sure not to overstretch in this pose so your back doesn’t get injured.
- Start on your stomach with your feet pointed and your head on the mat.
- Place your palms next to your ribs, bending your elbows at an acute angle.
- Gently extend your neck and back toward the sky by pressing into the floor with your palms.
- Be sure to only extend your upper back as far as you feel comfortable!
Yoga is for everyone. You don’t need any fancy equipment to get your stretch on, and you certainly don’t need to be an expert to try yoga.
As you become more confident as a novice yogi, you can diversify your pose selection because there are certainly unlimited variations.