The 30 Popular Basic Yoga Poses For beginners

POPULAR BASIC YOGA POSES

Mountain Pose

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As a beginner, mountain pose may not seem like much of a pose to you but trust me it is very effective. If you practice this pose correctly, the muscles in your body especially your lower body will all be engaged. This pose is usually the blueprint that all other poses are found on and it is good at promoting balance and directing your attention to the present.

How to do it

  1. Start by standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
  2. Ground your feet, by pressing down all your toes.
  3. Now engage your quadriceps as you lift up your kneecaps through your inner thighs.
  4. Slowly breathe in and as you do, lengthen through your torso and raise your hands up and out. Breathe out as you slowly move your shoulder blades away from your head and to the back of your waist. Your arms should be back to your sides.
  5. Hold on to that position for 5-10 breaths

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

 

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One of the best resting poses that you can perform as a beginner is the child’s pose. A child’s pose is regarded as a reset exercise, as it relaxes your nervous system which calms your body down to a state of rest. It is also good at relieving your back pains as it takes care of the lengthening space that is in between each of your vertebrae.

The best time to perform a child’s pose is when you feel fatigued. But you can also use it when you need some stress relief, a mental break or a breather from an activity that you are doing.

How to do it

  1. Start on all fours with your toes tucked under. Bring your feet and knees together.
  2. Sit back on your heels, inhale and then exhale as you stretch your arms forward bringing your torso down to the point that you can rest your forehead on the mat/blanket/pillow.
  3. Breathe deeply and hold on to this position for as long as you can.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)page49image1762176

The downward-facing dog pose is a classic pose that is known to stretch your hamstrings, open your shoulders and lengthen your spine. It is used in most yoga practices for the sole purpose of stretching, as it is good at stretching and strengthening your entire body. However, that’s not all, this posture also creates a calming effect that gets you relaxed and centered.

How to do it

  1. Get into an all-fours position with your wrist under your shoulders, your knees under your hips and toes tucked. Walk your hands one palm’s length forward.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor and slightly bring them towards your heels. Your body should create a V-shape position. If you are not that flexible or your hamstrings are tight just bend your knees to take your weight back to the legs.
  3. Press into your hands and rotate your inner elbows towards each other. Keep the torso moving back towards your thighs while engaging your legs.
  4. Hold on to that position for 5-8 breaths before going to your original position to rest.

Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana To Bitilasana)

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The cat/cow pose is actually a combination of two postures, which are done together with the aim of flexing your spine in a gentle way. As a beginner, this movement will give you a feeling of what the combination of breath and movement is like. It will also warm your back, help address mobility, and work on your core without the extra stress on your shoulders and on your wrists.

How to do it

  1. Start by kneeling down with your hands on the floor. Create a dog-like position. Your spine should be neutral and your abs engaged.
  2. Slowly breathe in and then out. As you breathe out, round your spine up in the direction of the ceiling. Release your neck as you tuck your chin towards your chest.
  3. Breathe in a while relaxing your abs and then arch your back. Hold on to that position for 5-10 breaths.
  4. Slowly lift your head up to go back to your starting position.

Plank

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Plank is considered one of the best full-body workouts in yoga. The plank mainly teaches you how to use your breath to help you stay in challenging positions. Holding on to a plank position makes you feel like your shoulders and arms are starting to burn. It also strengthens your core and makes your legs stronger. Basically it is a good pose for promoting stability and strengthening your abdominals.

How to do it

  1. Start by getting in a downward-facing dog position.
  2. Slightly walk your hands forward so your shoulders are set over your wrists.
  3. Stretch your heels back and lengthen your head forward.
  4. Put your elbows down to form a straight line of energy from your feet to your head.
  5. Engage your lower abdominals, pull your ribs together and deeply breathe for 8-10 breaths before you rest.

Tree Pose (Vriksasana)

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Tree pose imitates the strong foundation of a tree and how easy its branches take control when it’s windy. As a beginner, this fantastic standing balance pose will help you improve your concentration, clarity, and ability to balance through strengthening your outer hips and the arches of your feet.

How to do it

  1. Start in a mountain pose.
  2. Slowly bend your left knee and bring it into your right leg’s upper inner thigh. You can assist your left foot to get there with your hands. If you are not flexible enough to do that, you can bring your foot to the shin below your foot instead of your upper inner thigh.
  3. Press into your standing foot as you engage your abdominals and relax your shoulders.
  4. Put your hands together as if you are praying. Find a spot and gaze at it. Hold on to your position for 8-10 breaths. Switch sides and repeat the process.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

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The triangle pose is usually a bit challenging but it is as beneficial as it is challenging. This pose normally helps you increase your flexibility. It also promotes balance and feelings of calmness that comes from your inner thighs and hamstrings stretch.

How to do it

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart with your arms on your sides.
  2. Inhale and exhale as you softly draw your attention inwards.
  3. Step apart to create a space between your legs that is 4-5 feet apart.
  4. Turn your right foot to 90 degrees.
  5. Turn your left foot inwards to create a 45 degrees angle at the back of your toes.
  6. Engage your abdominals and quadriceps as you switch to the side that is over your right leg.
  7. Move your right hand from your sides and place them down on your knee/shin or ankle then lift your left arm towards the ceiling.
  8. Turn your head and gaze up towards your top hand. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
  9. Switch sides and repeat.

Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

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As a beginner, the corpse pose might seem like a simple posture of lying down but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It is the best meditative posture in any yoga practice. The corpse pose normally relieves stress, calms your mind and induces you into a state of relaxation. It is usually practiced at the end of a yoga practice which also gives you time to enjoy the benefits of yoga.

How to do it

  1. Start by lying down on your back.
  2. Place your arms alongside your torso. They should be slightly separated with the palms facing up.
  3. Close your eyes and relax.
  4. Hold the pose for 1-10 minutes.

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

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The easy pose is a great way of building your foundation of breathing and meditation exercises. As a beginner, this posture will help you strengthen your back as well as stretch your ankles and knees. It will also open your hips and help bring your spine into the right alignment, which automatically reduces stress and anxiety.

How to do it

  1. Sit up straight with legs extended in front of you.
  2. Gently bend your legs and place both of your feet beneath the opposite knee.
  3. Fold your legs towards your torso and place your palms together facing down on your knees.
  4. Relax your feet and thighs and gaze in a spot in front of you.
  5. Hold that position for as long as you wish then release and change the cross of your legs.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

The warrior I pose is good at building your strength and stamina. When you perform it, it stretches your front body, which includes hip flexors, quads and psoas while also strengthening your core, buttocks, hips and legs. As a beginner, this pose will increase your balance and concentration.

How to do it

  1. Start by getting in the mountain pose. Inhale and then exhale as you move your left foot back about 4 feet to get into a lunge position. Your right ankle should be over your right knee.
  2. Turn your left foot to form a 90-degree angle and then raise your arms straight overhead.
  3. Enlarge your chest and pull your shoulders back. Slowly lower down to the floor with your arms lifted up and breathe. Return to the original position and repeat with the opposite leg.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

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The warrior II is similar to warrior I, since you get the same quad-strength benefit but with a slight difference in performance. When performing warrior II you usually rotate your upper body to the sides instead of facing forward as you do in warrior I. That slight difference increases your flexibility by opening up your hip flexor muscles.

How to do it

  1. Start by standing in the mountain pose and then slowly place your feet apart.
  2. Gently turn your right toes to 90 degrees and your left toes to 45 degrees.
  3. Bend your right knee forward until it is right over your right ankle. Your torso should remain even between your hips.
  4. Raise your arms up and then turn the right arm in front of you and left the arm behind you.
  5. Gaze over your right arm for 8-10 breaths. Return to the starting point, exchange the legs, and repeat.

Crescent Lunge

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Crescent lunge is a pose that offers you a deep stretch for your legs, groin, and hip flexors. It also helps you open your front body including your shoulders and chest. As a beginner, a crescent lunge will help you practice balancing and will strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs.

How to do it

  1. Start in a standing position. Slowly start stepping back with your left foot to create a position where your feet are leg’s height apart.
  2. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees and then lift both your arms straight overhead.
  3. Lengthen the back leg while reaching up as you relax your shoulders. Hold that position for 30 seconds then switch sides and repeat.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

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This standing pose is usually good at building strength and stamina. As a beginner, you can expect your shins and Achilles tendons to be stretched when doing this pose. You can also expect your ankles and thighs to be strengthened while your back hips and shoulders are toned.

How to do it

  1. Start in the mountain pose with your feet together. A beginner like you can start with your feet hip-distance to reduce the intensity of the pose.
  2. Breathe in a while raising your arms overhead. Now breathe out as you bend your knees to a point where your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Lower your hips as if there is a chair you are sitting on.
  4. Shift your weight to your heels as you lengthen up your torso.
  5. Gaze directly forward and then hold on to that position for about one minute.

Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

This twist is very good for your spine. Basically it increases your spine’s elasticity, which is suitable for tension release. The pose also opens up your chest increasing the oxygen supply in your lungs.

How to do it

  1. Start by sitting down with your legs stretched in front.
  2. Gently bend your right leg and rest its heel beside your left hip.
  3. Rest your right hand on your left knee and the left hand behind you. Gently twist your waist, neck, and shoulders to the left as you look over your left shoulder.
  4. Hold that position as you take long breaths for 1-5 minutes.
  5. To get out of this position, you should release your left hand first and then release your waist, chest, and neck to sit up straight. Switch sides and repeat.

Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

If you have tight hips then this is the yoga pose for you. It is an amazing hip opener but that is not all it does. It is also good at stretching your quadriceps and gluteus muscles, which improve your concentration, balance and core awareness.

How to do it

  1. Start in a downward facing dog position. Exhale as you step your right foot forward resting it besides your right thumb.
  2. Gently lower your left knee towards the floor. Inhale and raise your torso while at the same time raising your arms over your head with your palms facing each other.
  3. Breathe out as you move your hips forward and down until you feel your psoas and the front of your left leg stretching.
  4. Engage your core muscles as you lengthen your lower back. Slowly start reaching back with your thumbs. Gaze upwards and hold on to that position for 1-5 minutes. Switch sides and repeat.
  5. To exit the pose, slowly place your hands on the floor and step back into a downward facing dog pose.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

The pigeon pose is amazing owing to its many benefits. Some of these benefits include how it lengthens your hip flexor and increases the external range of femur motion in your hip socket. It also stretches you and prepares you for seated postures and backbends.

How to do it

  1. Start in a downward dog position.
  2. Lift up your left leg and slide it forward up to the back of your right wrist.
  3. Straighten your right leg and slowly let the front of your thigh rest on the floor then lower the right buttocks to the floor.
  4. Extend your hands forward resting them on either side of your legs. Lay your torso on the left leg.
  5. Hold this position for 4-5 breaths.
  6. Switch sides and repeat.

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Basic Yoga Poses Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

If you are in yoga for strength and stress relief you are going to love supine spinal twist. This pose normally stretches your hamstrings and knees, which strengthens your legs. It also stretches your spine, back muscles and stimulates your intestines, urinary bladder, abdominal organs and kidneys, which all release stress.

How to do it

  1. Start by lying down on your back with your legs stretched in front.
  2. Bend your knees and rotate your hips to the right side, stretch your right leg and cross your other knee over to the right side.
  3. Stretch your left arm out onto the left side as you rest your right hand on your left knee.
  4. Gently turn your head to the left. Hold onto that pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Breathe out as you release the pose. Switch sides and repeat.

Hero (Virasana)

Basic Yoga Poses Hero (Virasana)

As a beginner, this pose will teach you how to rotate your inner thigh as it reduces the tightness in your legs. The hero pose is good because it increases your flexibility in the thighs, ankles, and knees when it stretches them. A part from that, it can improve your posture and relieve you from asthma.

How to do it

  1. Start on all fours with your knees closer together and your feet hip-width apart. Your hips should be directly under your hips.
  2. Lower your hips slowly until you are sitting on your heels. (This can be difficult for you at first so you can place a cushion between your heels and sit on it). As you sit, your toes should point back.
  3. Sit upright and then lengthen your tailbone to the floor with your hands laid on your thighs.
  4. Hold on to that pose for 5-10 breaths as you gaze downwards.

Boat Pose

Boat Pose Yoga Basic Poses

The boat pose usually requires you to be stable. As a beginner, this pose will stimulate your abdominal organs and improve your digestion. It will also challenge your hip flexors, spine and abdomen, which strengthen your body’s core. Lastly, it will help you in maintaining your metabolism and in releasing stress.

How to do it

  1. Begin in a sitting position with your legs stretched forward and your hands are resting behind your hips.
  2. Inhale as you strengthen your arms and then exhale and slowly lift your feet off the mat by bending your knees. The thighs should be 45-50 degrees to the floor. If you can, straighten your knees and raise them high to a point that your toes are at the level of your eyes. As a beginner, just let your knees bent.
  3. Stretch your hands alongside your legs. They should be parallel to each other.
  4. Hold on to that position for 1-5 minutes.

Dolphin

The dolphin yoga pose

The dolphin pose is one of the popular poses good at strengthening and stretching your legs, upper back, arms and shoulders. However, it does not just strengthen, it also increases flexibility in your arches, calves, hamstrings and spine.

How to do it

  1. Begin on all fours position with your wrist under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Gently lower your elbows to rest on the mat under your shoulders. Your forearms should be parallel to each other and your weight distributed evenly on your forearms.
  3. Get your knees off the floor and let your pelvis reach up towards the ceiling. Bring your buttocks toward the wall behind you.
  4. Broaden your shoulders, bend your knees and lengthen your spine.
  5. Gently straighten your legs to create an ‘A’ shape with your body. If your upper back starts to round, slightly bend your knees and your spine will be straight.

6. Relax your head and gaze between your legs. 7. Hold onto that position for 5-25 breaths.

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The Bridge is an amazing pose when it comes to stretching your front body and strengthening your back body. Normally, it stretches your neck and spine and opens up your chest. These two factors help your mind to calm down and your anxiety to go away.

How to do it

  1. Start by laying down with your face up, arms on your sides and feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
  2. Press your feet firmly and use that strength to lift your behind up off the floor.
  3. Interlock your hands and then press your fists down to the floor. This will automatically open up your chest.
  4. Engage your hamstrings by slowly dragging your heels towards your shoulders. Hold on to that posture for 8-10 breaths. Lower your hips and repeat the whole process 2 times.

Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)

Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)

The bound angle pose is a seated yoga posture, which is good at stretching your inner thighs, knees, groin and hips. It is also good at improving the circulation of your blood throughout your entire body. If you are a woman, it can soothe your menstrual discomfort as well as help you to have smooth childbirth when you are Pregnant.

How to do it

  1. Start in a normal seated position with your hands on the sides as palms rest on the mat. Your legs should be stretched in front of you.
  2. Bring your heels in towards your pelvis as you bend your knees. Bring your soles together and let them press against each other as you drop both of your knees open.
  3. Use your hands to press down your feet. Meanwhile, press down your feet firmly together.
  4. Lengthen your spine to sit upright. Gaze forward and hold to that pose for 1-5 minutes.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) Basic Yoga Poses

The standing forward bend has been known to have some amazing effects on your body. For instance, it improves the blood circulation in your head when you bend your head down. That enables the cells in your head to be re-energized with the amount of oxygen supplied to it. It also stretches your hamstrings, which releases some stress in your muscles and calms you down.

How to do it

  1. Start by standing up with your feet together.
  2. Soften your knees as you gently bend forward folding your torso.
  3. Let your hands rest on the ground or next to your feet. Breathe in and out, as you broaden your chest to lengthen your spine. Feel the fold from your hipbone. Make sure you don’t feel the fold from your lower back (if you do, then you are doing something wrong)
  4. If you don’t feel a stretch in your hamstrings gently stretch your knees more.

5. With your head bent towards the floor gaze through your legs and hold on to that position for 30 seconds – 5 minutes.

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

The cobra pose helps you to prepare for advanced backbend poses as it is a simple backbend pose. By performing this pose, your spine flexibility will be increased and your digestion improved, as it stimulates your abdominal organs. It is also good at helping you relax when you are fatigued.

How to do it

  1. Start by lying face down on your yoga mat. Your legs should be extended behind you with your toes pointing away from you.
  2. Bring your hands to your chest and press down from your feet to your pubic bone.
  3. Engage your back and gluteal muscles as you straighten your arms and lift your head and chest off the mat.
  4. Deepen the stretch by trying to lift your head further up. Now gaze upwards and hold on to that pose for 1-5 minutes.

Legs up the Wall (Viparita karani)

Legs up the Wall (Viparita karani)

The Viparita Karani has a couple of benefits to your body. For starters, it helps in blood circulation, especially in your upper body area. Secondly, its leg up position helps stretch your back from the heel all the way up to your upper back. Thirdly, if you are a woman you will be happy to know it can relieve the symptoms of menstruation as it massages your reproductive organs.

How to do it

  1. As a beginner, you can use a prop like a pillow to perform this pose. If you are using a prop, start by placing the pillow under your lower back with your left side against the wall.
  2. Slowly turn your body to the left as you bring your legs up the wall; use your hands for balance.
  3. Let your upper body rest on the floor as you rest your shoulders. Your arms should be rested on the sides.
  4. Relax your buttocks area and close your eyes. Hold that position for 5-10 minutes, as you breathe with awareness. Once done, push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs to the right side.

Plow

Basic Yoga Poses Plow

The plow yoga pose is a bend pose that is known for its ability to alleviate back pain, improve blood circulation, increase your spine’s flexibility and relieve you of stress as it energizes your body.

How to do it

  1. Start by lying face-up on the floor with your arms on your sides.
  2. Inhale as you engage your core to lift your feet off the ground stretching them backward to a 90-degree angle. Use your hands to support your lower back and hips when stretching your legs.
  3. Continue stretching your feet backward with the help of your hands of course until the feet rest behind you. Gently remove your arms from your hips and interlock them together before stretching them forward. Press the hands down as you lift your thighs and hips higher.
  4. Hold on to that posture for 1-5 minutes.

Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga)