Yoga has immense health benefits for the body. So if you are planning to start out with yoga, then congrats its a great decision that you have taken. While if you never had a thought about starting out with yoga then you should highly consider starting out with yoga.
Okay, I assume that you have taken this good decision of doing yoga, now what next?
I can totally get that you don’t have much idea about the depths this term yoga covers, how you should go about it and what all you should do. Basically, you don’t know how to start, and I am here to help you with that.
There are certain beginner yoga asanas or you can say basic poses that you need to learn in order to start out, and slowly you can move towards more challenging poses. If you start away with any random yoga pose which isn’t for beginners, you are more likely to injure yourself with the conclusion that you will never try your hands at yoga again in your life.
These beginner poses are obviously easy to do, gentle, and relaxing along with resulting in an increase in your flexibility and strength and a number of health benefits of yoga. Improving your flexibility and strength is necessary for tackling more challenging poses in the future and even for other workouts.
Regulating and focusing on your breathing while doing yoga is equally necessary because that is what connects the mind with the body. Breath slowly but deeply.
Check out the following beginner yoga poses or yoga asanas which are meant for your easy entrance into the yoga world. Don’t worry about muscle pulls or dislocating your joints unless you go way far than your body capacity. Always listen to your body and go slow with things. Good things and good flexibility take time. Don’t think of stretching out your muscles on the first day itself.. Rest when needed.
Beginner Yoga Poses
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
The word ‘tada’ resembles a mountain, that’s why it is called the mountain pose. This forms the basis of all standing poses. Its the starting point of many other poses. Mountain pose or tadasana may simply feel like ‘just standing’, but it is much more than that. While you are in this pose, your body forms a straight line from your head to the heels. In short, your body is aligned.
- Stand straight and relaxed with your feet together. Keep your arms at your sides.
- Stretch out your hands forward with the hands interlocked and palms facing outwards.
- Move your hands overhead from that position with your palms facing the ceiling. With your fingertips, reach up towards the sky. Simultaneously, spread open your toes, lift up your body while pressing in your abdomen as you lift up your chest and draw your shoulders downwards. Engage your core.
- Breath deeply.
2. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
This is a very easy and popular pose, that’s why called the easy pose. Now when I mentioned the word easy, many of you must be curious to know what it is. Well, let me tell you many of us are already practicing this pose in our daily life without knowing that this is also a yoga pose.
It is the basic cross-legged sitting position. The add on is that your back should be straight and you need to focus on your breathing. You can even call it meditation. Now don’t think about just practicing this pose and forgetting the others (laughs).
3. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Even this is a sitting position like Sukhasana but its not that comfortable. In the beginning, this pose will put a lot of strain on your ankle and knees because your body is not used to this sitting pose.
- Sit straight. Bend your knees and place your left foot over your right thigh with its heel close to the abdomen and sole facing upwards.
- Bend your right knee and place it over your left leg at the thigh near the abdomen with the sole facing upwards.
- Breath slowly and hold this position initially for a few seconds. You can repeat it by switching the position of the legs.
Initially, you may not be successful in getting into this pose properly. That’s totally fine. You will improve when you do it regularly, making you more flexible with time. Practice makes a man perfect.
4. Vriksasana (Tree Pose)
This asana will lead you through the challenge of standing on one leg and staying intact in that position just like a tree.
- Stand straight with your arms at your sides.
- Shift weight onto the right leg and place your left foot at its sole inside your right thigh with your left knee facing sidewards.
- Clasp your palms in a prayer position such that your forearms are in parallel to your chest.
- Look straight and focus at some fixed point to balance.
- Try to stay in this position for at least 20 seconds as a beginner.
- Repeat with the other leg.
5. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
This pose focuses on stretching every part of your body.
- Come onto the floor on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips forming a mountain like structure. Your hands and legs should be shoulder width and hip-width apart.
- Spread your fingers and palms wide pressing into the mat. Curl your toes.
- Lift your hips up towards the ceiling along with your knees. Keep your knees slightly bent if you have tight hamstrings. Your ankles will lift up slightly. Press your shoulders downwards. Your body will form the position of an inverted V.
- Hold for 30 seconds for 3 full breaths as a beginner.
6. Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
Cow pose is a good way to stretch the spine. It can be performed with the cat pose(next one in the list).
- Take the tabletop position by placing your palms and knees on the floor. Make sure that your thighs and arms are hip width and shoulder width apart and perpendicular to the floor. Look at the floor.
- Lift your chest towards the ceiling so that your belly makes it way towards the floor as you inhale. Lift up your head to look straight. Move your shoulders downwards away from your ears.
7. Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
Cat pose can be performed with the cow pose. They are actually counterposes to each other.
- Be in the cow pose.
- Arch your spine towards the ceiling by bending it as you exhale.
- Return back to the initial position when you inhale.
Whenever you put a strain on your back doing one of these two poses, do the other one to counter the effect and release the tension. This applies to other poses as well. You can always do a counter pose to minimize the tension built up by that pose.
8. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Child’s pose is not only an excellent resting pose for beginner level but also for all other advanced levels. This pose relaxes the body, so throughout your sessions whenever you feel that you need to rest your muscles, this is the pose for it.
- Kneel down with the top of your feet flat on the floor. Turn your heels just a bit outwards and sit lightly on your feet.
- Stretch out your arms in front of you and lean forward such that your forehead and arms touch the ground.
- This is the resting position so you can stay in this pose as long as you want.
9. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)
This yoga position is very helpful for those who are required to sit on the chair the entire day for work or who don’t get to sit the entire day. Basically, this exercise keeps your spinal cord in a healthy state.
- Sit straight and cross your left foot bent at its knee above the right leg outside the thigh. The right knee should be bent.
- Reach the floor behind with your left hand and use your right elbow placed outside your left knee to keep yourself steady.
- Slowly twist left as far as you can, not moving your lower body off the floor.
- Hold for 5-6 breaths for around 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
10. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Shavasana or corpse pose is a complete relaxation pose. All you have to do is to lay down and relax. Though it looks easy, in reality, it is much harder. Relaxing is not easy. It is hard for people to spend time on relaxation due to their busy schedule.
The relaxation part is necessary even in yoga. Do this pose at the end of your yoga sessions to let the body relax completely and eliminate all the negative energy. Even meditation is a good option for relaxation and bringing in positive energy.
11. Virasana (Hero Pose)
This posture is also used for meditation.
- Sit with your knees bent and back straight.
- Rest your feet on either side of your hips with the tops facing downward. Initially, this pose may put a lot of strain on your ankle and knees so you can consider sitting on a yoga block to reduce the discomfort until you become flexible enough to do it sitting on the ground.
- Hold as long as you are comfortable with it.
12. Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
Yes, even yoga has planks. But these are done a bit differently. I think that this plank pose is easy as compared to the well known basic planks. But the benefit derived from it is the same, it helps to strengthen the abdomen region and breath control while doing something challenging.
- Move down on all fours and straight out your legs, supporting them only on your toes. Place your hands shoulder width apart, straight down, perpendicular to the ground. Basically, take the initial pose of a pushup, if you know.
- Your butt should be lifted up and your abdomen should be tightened. Your body should look like a straight line from top to the bottom.
- Maintain this pose for 30 seconds as a beginner while focusing on your breath and keeping the core engaged. With practice, increase the duration from 30 to 45 seconds and so on.
13. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Warrior poses are one of the poses that are essential for building stamina, flexibility, and toughness. I think that’s why these are called the warrior pose.
- Stand with your arms at sides, and take a giant step back with your left foot. The right leg is bent at its knee at an angle of 90 degrees.
- Your outstretched foot should be pointing outwards to the sides at some angle. The entire foot should be on the ground.
- Stretch out your arms upwards, lifting your chest simultaneously. YOur head should be looking straight or somewhat upwards. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Reverse the process to return to normal. Repeat with the other leg or follow up with Warrior II.
14. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Warrior I and II are often performed together. Even Warrior III is there, which is an advanced yoga pose so I have not included it in this article. Warrior II focuses on the inner thighs and groin, along with being beneficial for the external hips. You can follow up with Warrior II when you do Warrior I.
- From Warrior I, twist your body to the side as you twist your outstretched foot completely towards the side. The position of the face remains the same, gazing straight ahead.
- The right leg should be still bent at its knee at 90 degrees.
- Bring your arms down and straight out to the sides, being parallel to the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds with deep slow breaths.
- Straighten the right leg and release the position. Repeat with the other leg on the other side.
The Warriors will help strengthen the quadriceps.
15. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Chair pose is somewhat similar to the squat position. It is helpful for the muscles of arms and legs along with stimulating the diaphragm.
- Stand straight and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor.
- Bend your knees, try to keep the thighs as parallel to the floor as you can and raise your hands towards the ceiling. Maintain this pose for 30 seconds.
16. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Lie facedown on the floor with your palms close to the shoulders facing downwards on the floor and legs extended with the tops of feet facing downwards.
- Lift your chest, bending your elbows slightly. Your back will form a curve.
- Press shoulders away from ears while pressing your boy upwards. Look slightly upwards
- Hold this for 6-7 breaths.
17. Dandasana (Staff Pose)
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended in the front. Your back should be very much straight.
- Rest your palms on the ground at the sides of the body.
- Bring your chest outwards. Breath and hold this position for 30 seconds. If you are finding it difficult to attain this posture, do it on a blanket to make it easy in the beginning.
18. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Again, a good stretch for the back.
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms at sides, palms facing downwards.
- Lift up your hip while pressing feet into the floor as you exhale. Interlock your stretched hands under your back, pressing them into the floor. Lift up until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drag your heels somewhat towards the shoulders to assist the lifting process. Hold for 6-8 breaths for less 30-45 seconds and repeat.
19. Urdhva Hastasana (Upward salute Pose)
- Stand straight with your palms facing outwards on your sides.
- Raise your arms from the sides slowly towards the ceiling when you inhale.
- Press your palms together. If your palms can’t reach out for each other due to tight shoulders, keep them straight up. Face your head upwards.
- Exhale when you return back to the initial position
You don’t need a studio, yoga mat, etc to get going with yoga (though yoga mats make it better and more comfortable, but aren’t required all the time). The things required the most are dedication and commitment.