Yoga Poses For Beginners
When you’re first starting out, depending on your natural flexibility and background, you are not going to be able to do some of the “basic” poses like Pigeon Pose and Chaturanga. I know I couldn’t! Claiming these to be poses you should start with can be very discouraging to those that have just stepped onto their mat.
No matter where you are in your practice, and especially if you are just starting out, these are perfect to start with.
Child’s Yoga Pose <Bālāsana>:
This is a resting pose, but also is very effective in stretching and relieving tension in your back, hips, and ankles.
This is a common pose to come into after a fast paced moving sequence to recenter and catch your breath.
How to do Child’s Pose:
Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Your knees should be inner-hip distance apart and feet should be untucked.
Push your butt back onto your heels as you reach forward with your hands to stretch you back and shoulders. Your forehead should be touching the ground.
Mountain Yoga Pose:
Ground all ten toes on the ground, the edges of your feet, and you heels. Engage your quadriceps so your knees and top of your thighs draw up and back. Your thighs should rotate slightly inward.
Engage your core slightly so that your pelvis is in a neutral position, pointing forward instead of downward.
Tuck in your tailbone slightly so your spine is neutral, not rounded or arched. Your glutes should not be engaged, but the back of your thighs should be engaged enough to lift them.
Lift up through your chest and press your shoulder blades back. Let your shoulders fall down from your ears and elongate your neck. Your arms should be straight down by your sides, engaged slightly and internally rotated, with fingers together and extended.
Plank Yoga pose:
It is often used as a transitioning pose between different poses, so building the proper strength and alignment to maintain it is definitely needed to grow your practice.
How to do Plank Pose:
Start on your hands and knees, and make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Ground your fingers into the mat and spread them like you do in Mountain Pose.
Press down into your hands and engage your arms. Step one foot back one at a time behind you with your toes tucked.
Engage your core and maintain a lengthen through your spine, keeping it straight. Keep your gaze between your hands, head inline with the rest of your body. There should be one straight line all the way down your body from your head to your toes.
Make sure to breathe while engaging your core. Try to hold it for five even breaths.
If full plank is too challenging for you at this time, drop your knees to the floor. Try to build up to full plank by lifting your knees for one breath and gradually increasing the amount of time you hold it.
Easy Seat Yoga Pose <Sukhasana>:
There is a lot more to this pose than you may think. This is one of the oldest yoga poses, and although “easy” is in it’s name, it still requires effort to get it right.
This pose is commonly used while meditating as well in the beginning of yoga sequences during breathing exercises and warming up the body.
Start seated with your legs crossed, and move any extra flesh underneath you to expose your sit bones.
Lift up through your chest, push your shoulder blades back, and let your shoulders fall down from your ears. Maintain a straight back.
You can place a blanket, pillow, or block underneath you to help maintain an upright posture if you have tighter hips or feel discomfort in your knees or back.
Baby Cobra <Bhujangasana>:
This is the baby of all backbends, and helps prepare you for more intense backbends, like Upward Facing Dog and Bow Pose. It is also a great chest opener for those that have tight shoulders.
How to do Baby Cobra Pose:
Start on your stomach, face down with legs extending behind you untucked.
Place your hands flat on the ground right next to your shoulders with your elbows tucked in.
On your exhale, push your chest and upper abdomen off the ground. Remember, we’re not going into full cobra here, so your arms should still be bent a decent amount.
Drop your shoulders away from your ears and lift through your chest. Engage your legs and push your feet into the ground.
Breathe here for 5 seconds then slowly release your forehead or cheek to the ground.
Hero Pose <Virasana>:
This seated pose is great for stretching the thighs, ankles, and knees, as well as improving posture.
Start on your knees in a kneeling position, with your torso straight and upright. You may place a blanket underneath your knees for more comfort.
Your knees should be slightly hip distance apart, and your knees should be slightly wider than your hips, untucked.
Push your hips back to sit between your feet. Place your hands on your knees, and make sure to keep a straight back while pulling back the shoulders and lifting through the chest.