In our previous article, we shared some of the best tips to get you started with a yoga practice. Today, I will be sharing the best beginner yoga poses you can practise right now if you are just starting your journey.
These poses were chosen because they are suited for beginners and are some of the most foundational poses in yoga. When practised together, they work on different muscle groups in the body to help develop strength, flexibility and balance.
Try to hold each pose for 5-10 deep breaths (around 30 seconds). Repeat each pose 2-3 times if you can. For asymmetrical poses that focus only on one side of the body, remember to switch to the other side.
Read part 1 here: Yoga for Beginners – 8 Best Tips to Get Started
Best Beginner Yoga Poses
1. Wide-Knee Child’s Pose
This pose gently opens up your hip and spine. It is a restorative pose which helps to calm the mind.
Sit on the heels with knees hip-width apart. Walk your hands forward in front of you and start to lower your head and chest and to the mat. As you rest on your forehead, focus on bringing your hips, stomach as close to the mat as possible.
This is a great resting pose that you can return to at any time so beginners should attempt to master it as early as possible.
2. Baby Cobra
Baby Cobra Pose is a beginner variation of Cobra with straight arms or Upward Facing Dog. It is used to prepare the body for deeper backbends.
Lie face-down on the mat. Flatten the tops of your feet and place your hands under your shoulders. Hug your elbows close to your body. Take an inhale to gently lift the head and chest off the floor. Draw your shoulders back and down; bring your chest forward.
Once you have mastered Baby Cobra, you can learn to move into Cobra pose without excessive reliance on your arms or lower back
3. Cat and Cow
Cat Pose and Cow Pose are usually paired together to provide the spine with a gentle warm-up and relieve any neck or back tension.
Come to Tabletop position with your hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips.
Begin with Cow Pose: Inhale and lift the tailbone to the sky, feel your belly drop and your back arching naturally. Lift your chest and head up. Draw your shoulders down and back, away from your ears.
Move into Cat Pose: Exhale and scoop the tailbone in, feel the belly naturally draw into your spine and your back rounding towards the ceiling. Allow the crown of your head to drop toward the floor, chin to come towards the chest without straining the neck.
4. Standing Forward Fold or Rag Doll
Standing Forward Fold is a great stretch for the hamstrings and calves. This is one of the most calming poses because it creates space between the vertebrae in your back which is a central part of your nervous system, according to Savanna Stevens, founder of S3 Yoga (source).
Come to a standing position. Exhale and bend forward at the hips and reach your hands to the ground as much as possible while keeping the back lengthened.
If your back is rounding, bend your legs and come into Rag
Doll instead, holding opposite elbows together.
5. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Dog is an amazing yoga pose for beginners as it encourages full-body flexibility and strength.
Come to your mat on your hands and knees, with your knees below your hips and hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Press back, lift your buttocks upwards until you form a triangle pose. Keep your arms straight. Your heels may not touch the ground but that is fine.
If you’re struggling to get the hang of Downward Dog, a great tip from Destination Yoga is to recreate the benefits by leaning against a wall with your back parallel to the floor, creating an upside-down L-shape.
6. High lunge or Crescent Pose
High Lunge Pose, or Crescent Pose, builds lower body strength and opens the chest.
Come to a standing position at the top of your mat. Exhale and step the right foot behind. The right heel is lifted for this pose. Square your hips to face the front. As you inhale, lift the arms.
Note: If you are unable to “square your hips” with straight right leg, bend the leg to push the right hip forward more
7. Warrior 2
The Warrior 2 pose strengthens the entire lower body including the thigh, calf and back muscles.
Stand with legs wide apart facing the long side of the mat. Rotate the right foot clockwise 90 degrees, point your toes towards the short edge of the mat. Bend the right knee. The left leg should be stretched out behind you, and the foot grounded on the mat. Stretch the hands out towards the side and look at the right hand.
Our final recommended yoga pose for beginners is Triangle pose. It has great benefits for those suffering from back pain, tight hamstrings or tight hips.
Stand with your legs 3 feet apart, facing the long side of your mat. Rotate the right foot to point towards the short edge of the mat. Reach out your arms to form a ‘T’ shape. Lean over to the right and reach your right hand as far ahead as you can. Place your right hand on the calf, ankle or the floor.
Modify this pose by bending your left leg or placing your hand on a block to prevent collapsing into the pose
Get the full Yoga for Beginners Guide where we highlight key tips and best poses to practise below.
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The YogaMad is founded by Mila, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.