Are you new to yoga and hoping to learn the basics? You’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find a rundown of the main yoga poses for beginners to get you off to a good start.
People choose to take up yoga for many different reasons. Some are looking to improve their flexibility and strength, whereas others are searching for ways to reduce stress and find a sense of inner calm. Whatever your reason, it’s important to find the love and joy that comes with practicing yoga. Take it steady. Yoga is not something to be rushed. Spend time really learning and understanding the basic yoga poses and you will create a strong foundation to build upon.
Learning a beginner yoga sequence
Like with any exercise, yoga requires a warm up. Rather than getting the blood pumping, it’s more about connecting your mind and body.
To warm up, simply sit cross-legged on your yoga mat, ensuring your body feels relaxed and comfortable. Allow your eyes to shut and focus on your breathing. Listen to each breath and feel your body as it rises and falls. Stay there for five or so minutes until you feel calm and at one with your body.
Once you’ve warmed up, you can move onto practicing some of the poses shared below. Feel free to do them in whatever order you like, creating your own unique sequence. Yoga for beginners is all about finding what works for you.
5 Standing yoga poses for beginners
Here you will find a list of yoga poses suitable for beginners. They are all standing yoga poses, which are easy to perform at home or in class. You may even benefit from doing yoga outside, in nature.
1. Mountain Pose
The Mountain pose involves learning how to ground your feet and feel the earth beneath you. It may seem a little basic but it’s actually the foundation for all other standing yoga poses for beginners.
To practice the Mountain pose: Stand with your feet together, pressing your toes into the ground and spreading them open to distribute your weight. Take a breath in and engage the muscles in your legs, drawing upwards, through your kneecaps, thighs, abdominals, to your chest. Roll your shoulders back to open up your chest and lungs. Draw the crown of your head up to the ceiling and take some deep breaths in and out.
2. Triangle Pose
The Triangle pose is all about stretching your sides, opening up your lungs and strengthening the muscles in your legs.
Stand with your feet wide apart, with one at one end of your mat and one at the other. Stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Your right foot should be turned out 90 degrees and your left, in at 45 degrees.
Gently lean over your right leg, engaging the muscles in your legs and abdominals. Next, place your right hand as far down your right leg as feels comfortable and lift your left arm upwards to the ceiling. Look up to your left hand and hold the pose, breathing deeply as you do. Repeat on the opposite sides when you feel ready.
The Triangle pose elongates the body and creates a really nice stretch.
3. Tree Pose
The Tree pose is one of the easiest yoga standing balance poses and is commonly taught in beginner classes. Practicing it as one of your yoga poses for beginners will really help you focus and learn how to keep the body balanced while standing on one foot.
To do the Tree pose, place your right foot on the inner side of your left thigh. Put your hands in the prayer decision and find a point in front of your gaze you can concentrate on, to keep your balance and remain focused. Hold for several deep breaths before switching sides. Engaging your abdominal muscles will help you to keep your balance.
4. Warrior I Pose
The Warrior I pose requires you to engage your entire body. It’s an enjoyable stretch that will not only strengthen everywhere from your upper body and core to lower body but also make you feel empowered.
To practice Warrior I, lunge forward with your left foot, ensuring your toes are facing the front of your mat and your heel is flat on the ground. Lift your chest and raise your arms up to the ceiling (in front of your face), pressing your palms into a prayer position.
Hold for several deep breaths before repeating on the opposite leg.
5. Warrior II Pose
Following on nicely from Warrior I, we have the Warrior II pose. This pose will open up your hips, inner thighs and groin.
To practice Warrior II, stand with your feet apart, turning your right toes outwards and your left toes in. Bend your knee over your right ankle and keep your torso central. Next, stretch your arms out to the side and look over your right hand, finding a spot to focus on. Breathe deeply, while you feel the stretch and then repeat on the other side.
These standing poses for beginners are fairly simple but will help you learn to stretch and lengthen the body, whilst gaining a sense of grounding. Link them together to create a standing yoga poses sequence.
5 More Yoga Poses for Beginners
As well as standing yoga poses for beginners, there are also poses that require you to get down onto your mat. Some of the ones listed here are great yoga peak poses for beginners. A peak pose is the most challenging in a sequence. We’ve also included a resting pose, which is a great one to finish your beginner yoga sequence with.
6. Downward Dog Pose
It’s likely that you’ll have heard of the yoga poses known as ‘Downward Facing Dog’ before. It’s one of the most popular yoga poses for beginners and something used in most yoga practices and classes.
To do a Downward Facing Dog pose, position yourself on all fours, with your wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips off the floor, pushing back towards your heels.
Straighten your legs as much as you can but don’t overdo it and cause discomfort. If your hamstrings feel tight, bend your knees slightly and walk your hands forward.
7. Seated Forward Bend Pose
The Seated Forward Bend pose is great for stretching the back, sides and hamstrings. It’s not the most comfortable of yoga poses for beginners, as you are essentially folding your body in half but with good breathing, you will really feel the benefit.
To create a Seated Forward Bend pose, simply sit with your legs together and your feet flexed towards your body. Lift your chest and begin to lean forward at the waist, engaging your lower abdominals as you do. Place your palms and elbows down on the mat, next to your legs, as far forward as you can. Once you feel you can’t stretch anymore, stop and take several deep breaths, before slowly releasing your body.
Remember, there’s a difference between feeling tension (which you should be able to breathe comfortably through) and pain. If you feel any sharp pain in your body, you may be trying to do a little too much. Those new to yoga may find it easier to bend their knees in this pose to start with. You’ll still feel the stretch and can work towards straightening them as you practice more.
8. Bridge Pose
The next of our yoga poses for beginners is the Bridge Pose. This is a back bend and therefore a good one to follow on from the seated forward bend pose. It’s all about stretching the front of the body and strengthening your back.
To create the Bridge pose, lie down on your back, placing your feet hip-width apart. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and lift your bottom off the mat. Place your arms under your body, lacing your fingers together and pressing down into the floor to really open up your chest. Hold for several deep breaths before lowering your hips down. Repeat when you feel ready.
9. Plank Pose
The Plank pose is quite a challenging pose for beginners but great for strengthening the abdominals. It involves balancing on your hands and engaging your entire body for support.
Start by getting down on all fours, with your palms pressed into the mat. Tuck your toes under and lift your legs off the mat, sliding your heels back until your body is stretched and fully aligned.
You will need to engage your abdominals to hold the position comfortably. Make sure your shoulders are down and take deep breaths to counter any tension you feel.
As always, if it gets too uncomfortable, stop and try again when you feel ready.
10. Child’s Pose
The Child’s pose is one of the most popular resting poses and is a good one for beginners, as well as more experienced yogis. It is usually practiced as the final move in a yoga sequence.
To do the Child’s pose, start on all fours, before sitting back on your heels and stretching your arms out to the front of your mat. Lower your head to the floor and release. The Child’s pose is great for stress-relief and will counteract any tension your body has felt in previous poses. Hold the pose for as long as you need to.
Have you tried any of these yoga exercises for beginners at home?
Share your favourite yoga poses for beginners in the comment section below and let us know how you’re getting on with your practice.