When you’ve never tried yoga, it can be intimidating but relax. It’s actually the most basic postures—not the fancy positions—that provide you with the foundation of flexibility and strength. Start working on it first at home—holding each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute while maintaining your breathing smooth throughout—and you’ll be ready to dive into any fast-moving yoga class. With yoga, you’ll sharpen your mental focus, purify your system of toxins, and even boost your performance in day to day life. You’ll even be able to touch your toes — improved flexibility is a bonus for just about every sport.
Mastering these basic yoga poses will benefit you by strengthen and stretch your muscles, develop your posture, and avoid workout injuries. So prepare yourself for serious challenges on and off the yoga mat.
Yoga Postures for Beginners
- Stand upright with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.
- Take a deep breath and raise your hands above your head, palms in front of each other with arms straight. Stretch up in the direction of the sky with your fingertips.
- Stand with arms at sides.
- Move weight on your left leg and place your sole of the right foot inside left thigh and keeping hips facing forward.
- As soon as you find your balance, take your hands in front of you in prayer position, palms together.
- On an inhalation, spread out your arms over shoulders, palms separated and facing each other and maintain that position for 30 seconds.
- Lower and repeat on opposite side.
- Tips for Beginners: Bring your right foot to the inside of your left ankle, placing your toes on the surface for balance. As you get stronger and improve your balance, place your foot to the inside of your left calf.
Downward Dog Posture
- Begin with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips.
- Move your hands a few inches forward and extent fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.
- Curl toes underneath and gradually press hips upward, taking your body into an inverted V, moving shoulders away from ears. Feet must be hip-width away from each other and knees slightly bent.
- Hold for 3 full breaths.
- Position with legs 3 to 4 feet away from each other, rotating right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in slightly.
- Take your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend arms out to the sides, palms down.
- Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle; look out over right hand. Maintain this position for 1 minute.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Lie down with your knees bent and right over heels.
- Place arms at your sides, palms down. Breathe out, then press feet into the ground as you lifts your hips.
- Clasp hands underneath your lower back and press your arms down, lifting hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground, moving your chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
- Tips for Beginners: Place few pillows beneath your tailbone for support.
- Spread out your arms to the sides, and then bend over your right leg.
- Position with your feet about 3 feet away from each other, toes on your right foot rotated out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees.
- Let your right hand to touch the ground or place it on your right leg lower or above the knee, and extend the fingertips of your left hand toward the ceiling.
- Look towards the ceiling, and hold this position for 5 breaths.
- Stand and repeat on opposite side.
Seated Twist Posture
Stretches shoulders, hips, and back; increases circulation; tones abdomen; strengthens obliques
- Be seated on the floor with your legs stretched.
- Cross right foot over outside of left thigh; bend your left knee. Place your right knee pointed in the direction of ceiling.
- Position your left elbow to the outer side of right knee and right hand on the floor behind you.
- Rotate to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen and placing both sides of your butt on the ground. Maintain this position for 1 minute.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Tips for Beginners: Keep bottom leg straight and place both your hands on elevated knee. If your lower back rounds forward, you can also sit on a folded blanket.
- Lie down on your belly with thumbs right under your shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor.
- Tighten up your pelvic floor, and tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes.
- Press shoulders downward and away from your ears.
- Push through with your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest in the direction of the wall in front of you.
- Relax and repeat.
- Get into downward dog position (palms pressed into mat, feet hip-width apart) and walk feet forward until knees touch your arms.
- Bend your elbows, lift your heels off the ground, and rest your knees against the outer side of your upper arms. Place your toes on the ground, abs engaged and your legs pressed beside your arms. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Sit up comfortably on your heels.
- Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you.
- Bring your chest as close as you comfortably can to your knees, stretching your arms in front of you.
- Hold the pose and breathe.
If you’ve taken a workshop, tell us about it—what was the most helpful thing you learned?