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Top 10 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners

If you’re new to yoga, you might feel overwhelmed by all the possible poses you can do and their odd-sounding names. That’s why it can be helpful to start with a handful of easy yoga poses that will help you to prepare for more advanced and more serious practices. These top 10 simple yoga poses for beginners will help you get more familiar with yoga and will help you feel more comfortable practicing in class or at home on your own. So, pull out a yoga mat, put on some comfortable clothes, do a warm-up and begin with these amazing step-by-step yoga poses for beginners.

Top 10 Yoga Poses for Beginners

1. Mountain Pose – Tadasana

beginner yoga routine

The Mountain pose may seem like just simply standing but there’s, in fact, a lot more going on. This pose teaches you proper alignment and balance. It teaches you how to stand steady and strong as a mountain (‘Tada’ implies ‘mountain’). It’s also the starting position for many other asanas, making learning this pose a good starting point for a beginner.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your chest open and broad and the arms at your sides. The palms can be facing in or forward. Place your feet together with the heels slightly apart. Spread your toes and evenly spread your body weight on your feet. Breathe steadily and focus on the present moment.
  2. Lift the kneecaps in order to contract the thighs upward. Engage your core and make sure that your tailbone is pointing down. Turn the upper sighs slightly inward and lift the pubis towards the navel.
  3. Widen shoulder blades and then let them roll back. Keep the arms resting at your sides.
  4. Keep your neck long, the chin parallel to the mat. The crown of your head, hips and ankles should all be in one line.
  5. Once you’re properly aligned, hold the position as you take 5 to 10 breaths.

2. Tree Pose – Vrksasana

yoga for complete beginners

Another great beginner pose is the Tree pose, which teaches you balance and strengthens your core, back and legs. It also strengthens and improves your posture.

How to do it:

  1. Begin by standing in the Mountain pose as described above. Find a straight line of energy from the inner arches all the way up to the crown of the head. Bring your hands together in a prayer position and keep them in front of your chest. Alternatively, you can raise them overhead or just keep them at your sides.
  2. Shift your body weight onto the right foot. Bend your left knee and press your left foot high against the inner thigh of the right leg. The tailbone should be pointing toward the ground and the hips squared forward. Open the chest and bring the shoulders back and down.
  3. Focus on an immovable object in front of you, which will help you to keep balance.
  4. Take 5 to 10 breaths and then switch sides.

3. Triangle Pose – Trikonasana

basic yoga poses

The Triangle is another yoga pose that is used as a starting point for many other more advanced poses. It’s a relatively simple pose but it does engage every part of the body. It stretches the legs and torso, mobilizing the hips and obliques, promoting deep breathing mechanisms and giving you an instant surge of energy. Moreover, it challenges your balance and stability.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a standing position with legs about 3-4 feet apart as if you’re trying to make a five-pointed star. Turn your right foot 90-degrees, so that the toes are pointing toward the front of the mat. The back foot also turn a bit inward. Ensure that the front heel is in line with the back heel.
  2. Bring your arms up to shoulder height so that they’re parallel to the ground.
  3. As you exhale, tilt your torso towards the right leg. At the same time, extend the left arm towards the ceiling and place the right arm on your shin or on the floor. You can also use a yoga block if you have one.
  4. Your left shoulder should be stacked on top of the right one. The arms should also be in a straight line with the shoulders. And make sure that you that your torso is not bent forward or backward.
  5. Turn to gaze up at the ceiling and hold for 5 to 10 breaths. After that, switch sides.

4. Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

yoga positions for beginners

The Downward Facing Dog is also a very common pose in all types of yoga. And if you join a yoga class, it might be one of the first poses you’ll have to learn. The pose stretches and strengthens the entire body. It tones the arms and legs, opens the chest, stretches the spine and brings more blood flow to your brain.

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, forming a table form with your wrist underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips.
  2. Bring your hands slightly forward in front of your shoulders. Curl your toes under, push through your hands to bring the hips up and straighten your legs.
  3. Stretch your heels toward the floor and try to keep your legs as straight as you can. However, keep in mind that it’s more important to keep the back flat. So, if that means that you need to slightly bend your knees, that’s fine.
  4. Keep your head in line with the upper arms but don’t let it hang.
  5. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

5. Chair Pose – Utkatasana

simple yoga moves

One of the best yoga steps for beginners is also the Chair pose. Contrary to its name, it’s actually an active pose that strengthens the lower body, tones the core muscles and stretches the shoulders and chest.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing in Mountain pose. You can keep the feet together or hip-width apart.
  2. As you exhale, bend your knees and squat down as if you were sitting down on a chair. Bring the hips back, so that the weight is on the heels and not on the toes. Try to take the thighs as close to being parallel to the floor as you can.
  3. Inhale and raise your arms overhead so that they’re in line with the ears. Relax your shoulders, take the tailbone down toward the floor and keep the lower back long.
  4. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 breaths.

6. Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

yoga poses for beginners

The Bridge pose is a great way to counter the effects of too much sitting, which we all experience in our daily lives. It offers a nice stretch for the upper body and strength for the core and lower body. On top of that, since your heart is higher than your head in this position, this pose also acts as a mild inversion. This means that it calms the central nervous system, bringing relief from stress, anxiety, insomnia and headaches.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back in a supine position. Bend both knees and place the feet flat on the mat hip-width apart. The heels should be directly below your knees so that the fingertips of your extended arms on the sides were almost touching them.
  2.  Inhale, press the feet into the floor and lift your hips up in order to get the spine off the floor. Press through your arms and shoulder heads to lift the chest up.
  3. Interlace your hands below your pelvis and as you press through the fists onto the floor, open up the chest even more.
  4. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

7. Child’s Pose – Balasana

yoga for beginners at home

The Child pose is used by practitioners of all levels as it’s one of the most healing yoga poses. It provides a gentle stretch for your back, hips, thighs and ankles. It also compresses your diaphragm and that stimulates respiration, calming the mind and relieving any tension. You can insert this pose between more challenging asanas or whenever you feel like you need a break during your yoga session.

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the mat.
  2. Place the tops of your feet on the floor, big toes together and separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
  3. Exhale and bring your torso down between your thighs.
  4. Stretch your arms forward (or place them alongside your thighs with palms facing upward) and rest your forehead on the mat.
  5. Stay in this pose as long as you like.

8. Warrior 1 – Virabhadra

starting yoga poses

There are three Warrior poses and this one is usually numbered 1. This is a powerful standing pose that stretches the whole front side of the body while at the same time also strengthening the legs, hips, core and upper body. On top of that, it improves balance and posture.

How to do it:

  1. Begin in Mountain pose.
  2. Step back with your left foot about 3-4 feet. Turn your right foot 90 degrees, so it points towards the top of the mat. Check that your front heel is aligned with the arch of your back foot.
  3. Rotate your torso towards the front edge of the mat.
  4. With you left heel pressed firmly into the floor, bend your right knee so that your thigh comes parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knee go past the ankle.
  5. Lengthen your spine, engage the core and lift your arms over your head alongside the ears. The palms should be facing each other. To go deeper, you can also look up towards the ceiling. Keep the shoulders relaxed and dropped away from your ears.
  6.  Stay in the position for 5 to 10 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

9. Cobra – Bhujangasana

step by step yoga for beginners

One of the best poses that you can do for increasing the flexibility of the spine is the Corba pose. It opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens the core, arms and back, and invigorates the kidneys and lungs.

Beginners or those with less spinal flexibility can start with a low Cobra pose with an increased bend in the elbows. However, if you have more flexibility, you can try to deepen the backbend by moving your hands a bit further out and then straightening your elbows.

How to do it:

  1. Begin by lying down on the floor face-down. Extend your legs behind you with the tops of the feet resting on the mat.
  2. Place your palms flat on the floor underneath your shoulders. Keep the elbows close to the body.
  3. As you inhale, begin to straighten your arms to gently lift your head and chest off the floor. Draw the shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Next, you can either stay in this position or continue to straighten your arms by pressing into your palms. However, if you feel too much strain on your lower back, bend your elbows.
  5. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

10. Easy Pose – Sukhasana

easy yoga poses

The Easy pose is commonly practiced to begin and end a yoga session. It’s also a common pose for practicing meditation. It opens the hips, boosts back flexibility and brings your back into proper alignment.

How to do it:

  1. Sit down on a yoga mat with your buttocks on the floor. Cross your legs with the feet being directly under your knees.
  2. Place your hands on the knees with your palms facing up or down. Alternatively, you can stack them in your lap.
  3. Point your tailbone toward the floor, lengthen the spine, bring the shoulder down and back, and open the chest.
  4. Hold as long as comfortable.

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