Get ready for a total mind-body exercise with thousands (if not millions) of people singing its praises every day. Yoga may seem intimidating at first, but it’s honestly meant for everyone. These 20 easy yoga poses for beginners will give you the basic foundation you need to get started. Plus, you can kickstart this routine right from home.
But before you go ahead and roll out your yoga mat, there are a few things you can do to elevate your yoga practice:
Set your intention
Is there something you want to attract more in your life (it could be one word such as love or peace)? Or, maybe you want to focus on a single task while on the mat (for example, breathing deeply into each stretch)?
Your intention will act as a powerful reminder, guiding you throughout your yoga session and prevent your mind from wandering.
Use slow, deep breaths
Because yoga consists of repeated stretches, it’s essential to move slowly between each pose and slow down your breath. This method will also help as you tackle more challenging poses.
Wear clothing you can move in
You may prefer looser clothing or something more tight-fitted – this is a personal preference, but stick to workout attire that you feel you can move best in.
Now, let’s get into this.
Here are 20 super easy yoga poses for beginners:
Start in a kneeling position and spread your fingers, keeping your hands flat on the mat. Your hands should be about shoulder-distance apart. Curl your toes underneath and lift your tailbone upwards and extend.
The downward-facing dog works to strengthen the upper body, so if you find this pose to be too stressful on your arms, shoulders, or back, you can always come out of downward-facing dog and give your body a moment to rest.
Seated Side Stretch
Sit crossed leg and lift both arms in the air. Take your right arm and slowly lower it onto the mat, palm facing down. Sweep your left arm over your head to start stretching your side. Take a few deep breaths and as you exhale, try to sink deeper into the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Lie flat with your stomach pointed towards the mat. Spread your hands and place each one next to your chest. Now, pull your chest up, keeping your palms pressed down the entire time. You should begin to notice your shoulders and elbows start to move back as you lift your head higher.
This pose works wonders for releasing tension in the lower back or spine area. Sit in a kneeling position on your mat and reach your arms up above your head. Now, slowly move your hips toward your heels. Gently bend your head towards the mat and take in a few deep breaths.
The seated twist is a glorious stretch to start your practice. Sit with your legs crossed on your mat and stretch your arms up above your head -this helps lengthen your body in preparation for what’s to come.
Now for the twist. Take your right hand and place it onto your left knee. Next, take your left-hand fingertips and put them behind you. You should begin to feel a stretch in your back. Repeat for the other leg.
This yoga pose is by far one of the most underrated yet most foundational. If you’re serious about yoga, you need to master becoming grounded and stable in your practice, precisely what the mountain pose trains you to be. It’s the only way you can progress to more advanced poses.
Stand upright, keeping your feet close together. Draw your belly button in towards your spine, allowing your body to lengthen. And, leave your arms loose beside you. Hold for a few breaths.
On your hands and knees, stretch the left leg back and lift it a few inches off the mat (only go as high as you feel comfortable and avoid hyperextending). Take your right arm and reach it forward. Hold for a few breaths and switch using the opposite leg/arm combo.
Let’s start with the cow position: place your palms and knees directly onto the mat and face forward. Slowly begin to arch your back and inhale.
For the cat position: drop your head down and round your back. Push your arms into the mat to help lift your back. Exhale.
My personal favorite – the chair pose.
Stand straight up; feet hip distanced apart. As you bend your knees, push into your heels. Stretch your arms above your head, keep them in line with your ears, and hold 20-30 seconds.
If you want to challenge yourself, you can always sink deeper into the seated position and hold for a longer time.
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Lift your arms and legs and hold. To receive maximum benefits from this back-strengthening pose, focus on pulling your chest forward. Hold this position for a few breaths and gently place your head back down on the mat.
Stand upright and place the bottom of your right foot into your inner left thigh (this is a balancing position, so your hips should not be twisting back and forth). Bring your hands to your chest, into a prayer position, and hold for a few breaths. Repeat for the other leg.
Start this pose by bending at the waist, reaching your hands to the floor. Next, step your right leg back and bring your arms up above your head. Draw your belly into your back for a more stable position. And, hold for a few breaths.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Firmly press your heels into your mat and slowly begin lifting your hips. Hold for a few breaths, making sure your chest stays lifted as well. Ease out of this position by gently lower your hips back onto the mat.
There are variations to this classic core-strengthening pose, but to keep things simple, here’s what you need to know:
Place your palms flat against the mat with your toes curled underneath (think as if you’re about to perform a push-up). Keep your head lifted, avoid being tucked into your chin, and hold for a few breaths.
First, sit on the mat and bring your knees into your chest. As you stay in this position, remember to pull your chest up to lengthen the spine. Begin to lift your legs into the air. Keep your legs bent and clasp your hands underneath your knees for extra support.
Lie flat with your chest facing towards the mat. Next, take each hand and place it on either side of your chest, near your ribcage. Make sure both legs are held in a straight, firm position. Begin to push against your hands, lifting your body upwards. You’ll notice your knees and hips will move off the mat as you continue to pull your chest up. Hold for a few breaths, and gently lower your body back down.
Lie flat with your chest facing the mat, and your legs pointed straight back. As your palms face down, lift onto your forearms, keeping your elbows tucked underneath your shoulders. Remember to draw the belly in so that your chest lifts higher. Hold for a few breaths and then release.
Bending at the waist, stretch both hands towards the mat to meet your toes. Extend the left leg back and slowly place your left knee onto the mat. Uncurl your toes and place both hands on your right thigh.
As you stay in this position for a few breaths, try to keep your chest high as you allow your hips to move forward and down.
Stand upright on your mat with your legs and arms stretched out. Now, pivot your left foot so that your toes are pointing to the back of the mat and begin to lunge forward. Stillness is key for warrior II, so it’s best to avoid moving your torso or shoulders.
Typically, most classes will end with this pose – and it makes total sense. Savasana teaches you how to cut out the noise, how to stop your mind from whirring – which may be the main reason why people fall in love with yoga in the first place.
And this move is by far the easiest to do, but most challenging to perfect:
Lie flat on your back, with your legs hip-width apart, and extend your arms outwards. Now, close your eyes and breathe. If you notice your mind begins to race with thoughts- that’s okay. In fact, it’s pretty normal. Acknowledge the thoughts are present but try not to let it overtake your savasana; imagine your thoughts flowing down through your body almost like a river, and then releasing them.
You can stay in this position for a few minutes or longer – your choice. But always make this the last pose you complete.
And there you have it! 20 super easy yoga poses for beginners that make up all the essentials you need to start your practice.
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