Beginner Yoga Poses You Need to Know

Yoga can definitely seem intimidating when you’re first starting out. Seeing all the videos of people doing headstands and crazy, twisted-up poses can sometimes make you feel like you’re never going to get there. The good news is that all of those people doing difficult poses and balancing like it’s nothing started as beginners too. Yoga takes consistent practice and dedication. There’s a place for everyone in yoga, no matter what your skill level might be. Let’s take a look at 5 yoga poses for beginners that are crucial as you build the foundation of your yoga practice.

1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. From there slowly lift your knees off the ground as you raise your hips to the ceiling.
  3. Continue to push your hips up high, straighten your legs (or keep them bent as much as you need if your hamstrings are tight) and begin to bring your torso closer to your thighs.
  4. Let your heals fall toward the floor. (It’s okay if they don’t reach the floor!)
  5. Breathe deeply. Feel the stretch throughout your whole body from your arms to your back and all the way down your legs.
  6. After a few breaths, come back down onto your hands and knees.

2. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  1. Begin lying on your stomach with your hands placed on either side of your ribcage.
  2. Slowly push up until your arms are completely straight into cobra pose (with your hips still on your mat). If straightening your arms is too much for your back, simply place both your forearms and hands on your mat and lift your back from there--into what’s called baby cobra.
  3. When you feel comfortable in cobra pose, you can move into upward facing dog by lifting your hips up off of the ground.
  4. And don’t worry if upward facing dog feels like too much for you right now. You can always start with cobra pose (hips still on the ground) and work up to lifting your hips off of your mat with practice.

3. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

  1. Start either standing or come into this pose from downward-facing dog.
  2. If standing, step one foot forward into a lunge and reach your arms straight overhead.
  3. If you’re starting in a downward facing dog, bring one foot forward in between your hands into a deep lunge.
  4. Once in your deep lunge, lift your hands off the floor and sweep them in front of you until they reach all the way overhead.
  5. Square your hips to the front of your mat.
  6. Release any tension in your shoulders by relaxing your shoulders down.
  7. Breathe deeply and rest into this powerful pose.
  8. After a few moments, repeat on the other side.

4. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

  1. Often this pose will come right after Warrior I. So starting from Warrior I, first drop your heel down to the ground by pointing your toes towards the side of your mat.
  2. Twist your hips along with your foot so your hips are now facing the side of your mat.
  3. Bring your arms down from overhead to a T shape and reach towards both ends of your mat.
  4. Lean your torso slightly forward toward the front of your mat.
  5. Breathe deeply and feel the strength running through your arms and legs as you rest in this pose.
  6. After a few moments, repeat on the other side.

5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Bring your toes together and let your knees spread wide.
  3. Slowly lower your hips back onto your heels.
  4. Rest your head on your mat and stretch your arms as far as you can above your head.
  5. If this is too much, simply grab a pillow or blanket to rest your head on.
  6. Breathe deeply as you feel the release through your arms and all the way down your spine.

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