Top Ten Yoga Poses For Beginners

Top Ten Yoga Poses For Beginners

To us westerners, the eastern concept of posing as a means to health and mental wellness is, needless to say, rather foreign. Yoga feels to some people like an impractical exercise, as it does not have quite the intensity of movement that we are accustomed to seeing.

 

In reality, yoga is as much a form of effective exercise as it is a mental practice in relaxation and focus. For beginners, yoga poses can feel strange to perform. But after a few exercises, it’s easy to see the benefit of total mind and body attention and focus.

 

Brand new to yoga? Here are 10 easy beginner yoga poses, basic instructions on how to perform them, their purpose, and benefit. Each pose should be held for 2-3 minutes, as you focus on your breathing.

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Mountain Pose

Most people see mountain pose and laugh, thinking, “He’s just standing there!” But the purpose of this pose is not as much for actual physical exercise as it is mental preparation for the hard work in the exercises ahead. It is a brief moment to quiet the mind, take a few deep breaths, become aware of your body, and focus.

 

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Child’s pose

To do child’s pose, kneel on the floor and touch your toes together. Lean forward and stretch your arms out in front of you, rest your belly on your thighs, and place your arms straight out on the floor. Let your head feel heavy and allow it to fall forward. Take several deep breaths as you hold this pose. This resting pose opens the hips and stretches the spine.

 

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Downward Facing Dog

A more commonly known yoga pose, downward facing dog is much more difficult than it looks. It combines stretching with endurance and strength, and it exercises and tones many muscle groups. To perform downward facing dog, start on your hands and knees. Push your knees up and straighten the legs until your heels touch the ground. Keep your palms on the floor and your head between the shoulder blades. To finish this pose, bend the knees and return to a hands and knees position.

 

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Chair Pose

This is another challenging pose, though it may look simple at first. It can be compared to “chair sitting” against a wall. It challenges the quads, glutes, shoulders, core and arms. Begin in a standing pose, such as mountain pose, with your feet together. Raise your arms up above you and push your bottom toward the ground as though you are going to sit. Hold this position as you focus on your breathing.

 

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Tree Pose

This is a classic yoga pose that most people think of when they picture yoga. This increases balance and requires focus to increase endurance. Begin in a standing pose, such as mountain pose. Slide one foot up along the inside of the opposing leg. Rest the foot as high up as it will comfortably go. Place arms in either a prayer position, or directly upward, palms facing each other. Hold this pose as you breathe deeply. After a few seconds this one will be a challenge to your balance. Try to stare forward at one object, and focus on your breathing to maintain the pose.

 

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Warrior Pose

There are 3 variations of the Warrior pose, and this is Warrior 1. Warrior poses increase strength in your arms and legs, as well as challenging your focus. Begin in mountain pose and take a long step forward. Your knees should never go further than your toes. Reach your arms straight up, parallel to each other, and place them together in a prayer-like position. Lean into your forward leg and hold the pose.

 

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Plank Pose

The plank has become widely accepted in most exercise regimens today, and for good reason. It is very difficult to sustain which makes it an effective exercise. It challenges the arms, core, back and legs. You can start this pose from downward facing dog, and simply step back until your body is straight and your shoulders are over your wrists. This pose can also be easily started from a hands and knees position.

 

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Bridge Pose

To perform the bridge pose, lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Push through your heels until your body is straight from your shoulders to your knees. Holding this pose will increase the strength in your legs and core.

 

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Cat / Cow poses

These two poses are often times done together since they are so compatible. Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. For cat pose, arch your back toward the ceiling, tucking your chin toward your chest. To transition to cow pose, slowly lift your chin as you arch your back so your belly is toward the floor and your bottom pushes up. This exercise is great for promoting controlled breathing.

 

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Corpse Pose

While the name of this pose may not be particularly alluring, the position is a great way to finish off a yoga workout. To do this pose, lie on your back with your palms facing up. Focus on your breathing for several minutes. This pose is both relaxing and rejuvenating.

  • Jorge’s Blog

    Great post! I need to try this.

  • Jessica

    I love you for posting this. I am always wondering what to do with my back foot during warrior post.

  • Valerie Coll

    I’ve always wanted to start practicing yoga. I will definitely try this. Thank you for sharing!

  • bluerobin

    I started yoga over 2 years ago because I hated every other type of exercise and because I was going through a difficult time and figured I could use that type of good energy. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself and my body has never looked or felt better! Great post.

  • provokeasmile

    Great post! I recently started getting an itch to try yoga after hearing so many people who do. This is a great article for beginners like me! Thanks

  • BannedBrooke

    Attainable poses for newbies like these definitely take some of the intimidation out of yoga! I wish this was where I started. A friend took me to power yoga a few weeks ago, which focuses on the core, and this body just was *not* ready. I think I’ll try again with these moves!

  • Sheena

    I’ve always wanted to get into yoga, but just haven’t bit the bullet yet. I think I already have that corpse pose down though! lol

  • I miss Yoga – will start re-incorporating into my training schedule. Child’s pose is my fave!

  • Manon Keupink

    Great post! I need to try some of these poses.

  • Gloria K

    I took yoga years ago BC – Before Children. This was great to remind me of all those poses I used to do so well. I’ll have to start doing some more in the mornings. Thanks!

  • malena penney

    I love this, I really need to get back into it…might rope my children in too 🙂

  • I try and move through a few of these yoga poses each night to get me back into the habit, I find it so beneficial to my overall health. Great post 🙂

  • Despite being able to do more advanced poses than these, I definitely still call myself a beginner. And through that, these are still some of my favorites. They really let me focus in on my mind/body connection in a positive way and prepare me for more advanced practice and for my day. Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo,
    Dannie
    http://www.stilefotocibo.com

  • citymeetssouthern.com

    Great post!!! I’ve just gotten into yoga!!!!

  • These are some of my favorite poses. The thing I love about yoga is that you gradually build flexibility without even realizing it.

  • Love this post! I was thinking in yoga today how much better it is when you do it a lot. It just gets so much better with time! So beginners – keep it up! LOL!
    xo
    Krista
    http://www.hundredblog.com

  • JanetBiery

    Love this, wish I could bend in all these beautiful ways.

  • I am pinning this immediately for myself. I am wanting to begin a practice and this gives me a start. Thank you!

  • Rocio Chavez

    Yes, yes, yes. I love yoga and these are some of my favs. Totes pinning for others to see!

  • As a beginner yogi, Child’s pose is my favorite… after corpse of course! corpse is a great way to end a session.

  • Nuttah Awenasa

    A friend and I were just talking about taking up yoga. This post just motivated me to add it to my schedule this week. Thank you.