Ah, yoga poses for beginners. When you begin your journey to learn a new skill like yoga, it is reasonable to feel a bit overwhelmed when attempting to understand the over 120 different yoga postures that are part of this centuries-old practice. You don’t need to learn them all when just beginning as there are a handful of foundational poses that share the same alignment and muscular actions with all of the other poses. Before attending a class at your local yoga studio or pressing play on one of the thousands of online video classes, learning basic fundamental poses will help you. You will feel more comfortable with moves and give you a deeper understanding of how to achieve the mind/body connection.
If you are questioning if yoga is right for you, consider that unlike other physical practices, yoga (especially beginner yoga) is attainable for every body type and fitness level and can be modified as needed. Yoga provides mental and physical benefits no matter what your level of flexibility or strength, and therefore is the perfect form of exercise whether you are starting your first-ever physical fitness routine or have been a diehard athlete for years.
Below you will find the top 10 yoga poses for beginners everyone needs to know before their first yoga session. However, before diving in, here are a few tips to get you ready.
Before You Begin
- The Attire. Sure, yoga pants are the go-to clothing of choice; however, all you need to wear for your first and forever, yoga sessions are clothing that is breathable and easy to move in. You will sweat, so consider moisture-wicking material, and leave your good sneakers at home because yoga is a bare feet kind of workout.
- The Prep. While it may look passive, yoga is a pretty intense form of exercise, so you may want to fuel your body before your session with a light snack. Consider a protein shake or bar 30 minutes beforehand to avoid low blood sugar and energy.
- The Effect. In addition to the mindfulness and relaxation benefits of yoga, you WILL get in a workout. Vinyasa yoga is one of the top calorie-burning exercises, so expect the sweat! The muscle strengthening poses will also help you tone, build, and lengthen your body as well.
Here are ten basic fundamental yoga poses for beginners to practice and get comfortable with before your first yoga session.
Top 10 Yoga Poses For Beginners
- The Cat and Cow Pose
The most straightforward and most essential beginner poses to learn is The cat, and cow pose is one of the. By arching and then rounding your back while on your hands and knees, a connection to breath and body are made, facilitating alignment, increasing flexibility, and awakening the spine. You will find the Cat, and Cow Pose generally start at the beginning and end of most yoga sessions.
- The Mountain Pose
Performed standing, the Mountain Pose is a foundational pose in Yoga and played many times during most yoga sessions. A simple pose where you standstill, with your chest open and broad and your hands at your sides. Doing this pose in front of a mirror will allow you to analyze your posture to reveal imbalances in shoulders or other areas.
- Downward-Facing Dog
The most popular yoga poses, the downward-facing dog, is part of every yoga session repertoire—the inverted V-shape formed by your body when placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Pushing your hips toward the ceiling is used as a transitional pose as well as a stopping place to catch your breath, lengthen your spine, and stretch hamstrings.
4. The Tree Pose
When first beginning to practice yoga, you may find some poses that will test your balance. The Tree Pose is a way to refine your balance while lengthening and stretching your entire body. Achieve this pose (and hold for 30 seconds) by bringing your hands together in a prayer position high above your head. Balance on your right leg and bend angle your left knee out to the left side. Then lean on your left foot to the inner thigh of your right leg.
5. The Plank Pose
Simple to achieve, difficult to maintain – the plank pose is a position that works just about every area of your body. By getting into the starting position of a push up (on hands and feet), plank pose will lengthen and strengthen your arms, core, back, and legs and help you get better and more comfortable with other yoga positions that require a controlled arm and body strength.
6. The Chair Pose
The chair pose is active because it works one’s the muscles of the arms and legs, stimulates the diaphragm and heart, and the chair pose is what it says it is. Begin by standing with feet side by side, together. Place arms at your sides. Simoutansly, raise hands overhead, palms facing in, until biceps are near ears while bending knees and sitting back as if lowering into a chair. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Finally, return to standing Mountain pose.
7. The Warrior Pose.
Perhaps the most well-known poses of yoga (following the down-dog) the three types of Warrior Poses are the necessary foundations of yoga practices. Warrior 1,2, and 3 all begin with squared hips, wide, balanced legs (one extended in front of the other), and arms reached high to the sky. Warrior poses are approachable for most bodies and are less intimidating than some of the more ‘advanced’ postures while still being great postures for building strength, confidence, and body awareness.
8. Child’s Pose.
The Child’s Pose is a resting pose usually performed at the beginning and end of most yoga sessions. The Child’s Pose, aids in to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles. It also helps to reduce both stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso. The Child’s Pose begins by starting in a kneeling position and then dropping your butt in the direction of your heels as you stretch the rest of your body down and forward. In the fully stretched pose, rest your arms in a relaxed spot along the ground. Rest your stomach restfully on top of your thighs, and rest your forehead on the mat.
9. Baby Pigeon Pose.
A favorite of runners, the baby pigeon pose boosts hip flexibility and also releases the glutes and low back. To achieve this pose, begin in a tabletop position. Exhale; place your right knee forward so that the femur (thigh bone) and patella are directly in front of its hip socket. Comfortably align the right heel over towards the left hip without letting the knee slide to the side.
10. Easy Pose.
This Easy Pose is a great beginner pose that boosts back flexibility, relieves stress, and is usually the starting point for many yoga sessions. Begin by sitting cross-legged with your hands on your knees, palms up. Keep your spine if you can straight as you can. Push the bones you’re sitting on down into the floor, close your eyes and inhale.
Historically, yoga was a way of life. Yoga comes from a physical culture of health and well-being that is performed by more than 15 million people globally. Begin your yoga journey by practicing the basics above, and you will start on the road towards developing a sharper mind and body that will benefit you in all parts of your daily life.