Yoga for beginners: Yoga has such a vast range of mental and physical health benefits, it is no wonder more and more people are motivated to try it out. Even hardcore weight lifters can benefit from yoga.
If you’re a beginning yogi, this is a one-stop resource of easy yoga poses for beginners to develop strength and flexibility. Beginners yoga is so much more than simply repeating Sun Salutations until you are bored to tears. There may not always be time in your day for yoga class, but there’s always time for a few yoga poses when you wake up, before showering, while watching TV, or before you go to bed.
Browse this yoga for beginners list of poses including core yoga poses, upper body yoga poses, lower body yoga poses, yoga poses to help develop your balance, and restorative yoga poses.
Yoga for Beginners
These beginners yoga poses can be done in order, or separately. Create your own beginner yoga flow sequence, or simply practice these beginners yoga poses until you move on to the next.
Core & back poses for yoga beginners
Lay on your stomach and place your hands flat on the floor beneath your shoulders. Slowly press up with your arms, straightening them only to the a point that is still comfortable for your back. Take care to keep your hips on the ground, and your shoulders away from your ears.
Similar to the bodyweight exercise “Superman”, lay on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Engage your core muscles and lift your legs, chest, and head off the floor. Your arms should not be on the ground, but off the floor and against your sides.
Begin with your knees and forearms on the ground. Then extend your legs behind you, bringing your knees off the ground and resting on your toes and forearms. Engage your core so that your body makes a straight line- do not let your back curve down, or your butt stick up- and keep your head in a neutral position.
On all fours, arch your back upwards to “cat” pose, letting your head relax downwards. Then let your back curve downwards and look upwards in “cow” pose. Breathe deeply as you move back and forth between cat and cow poses.
Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart. Space your feet and hands so that you can lightly brush your heels with your fingertips. Push your pelvis up, allowing your shoulders to rotate underneath you so you are resting on your shoulder blades, not your neck.
Full Boat Pose
Sit in the floor with your legs fully extended in front of you. Place your hands on the ground on either side of your hips, and lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Bend your knees so that your thighs make a diagonal with the floor, and lift your feet up. Find your balance on your sit-bones, and when you are ready, fully straighten your legs.
Upper body beginners yoga poses
Stand with your feet together, hinge forward at the hips, and bend your knees so that your palms are flat on the floor (if they aren’t already). Shift your weight so that your arms are supporting you as you hop or walk your legs back. Use your hands to push your body back towards your heels until you feel a stretch throughout your back and legs
Starting in Downward Dog, lower your hips and raise your head until your body is making a straight line from your heels to the top of your head. Engage your core muscles and arms, and breathe deeply as you hold plank pose.
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Starting in Plank Pose , slowly lower yourself down, keeping your elbows and arms glued to your sides. Lower yourself until your elbows make a 90 degree angle, then hold, remembering to breathe deeply. Be conscious of your back, and don’t let it curve down or up.
Side Plank Pose
Starting from either Plank Pose or Downward Dog (whatever you are more comfortable with) shift your weight to one arm, and rotate your body to the side. Engage your core and lift your hips upwards, and extend your free arm overhead.
Upward Facing Dog
Starting from Four Limbed Staff Pose, push upwards with your arms, keeping your shoulders down & back, and your chest open. Your only points of contact with the ground should be the top of your feet, and the palms of your hands. Your knees & hips should be lifted off the ground (the main difference from Cobra Pose).
Lower body beginners yoga poses
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, extend your arms overhead, and sink down until your thighs make a 45 degree angle with the floor. Keep your back straight, but allow your torso to lean forward from the hips. For an added challenge, try to rise onto your toes.
Extended Triangle Pose
Starting from an upright, wide-legged stance, turn one foot out and extend both of your arms out to the side. Hinge your torso over to the side, bending at the hips not the waist. Face forward (not down) as you grip your foot with one hand and extend the other overhead.
Step one foot forward and sink into a high lunge, making sure that your front knee does not protrude over your toes. Reach overhead, and find your balance. If you are comfortable, try and lean back, opening your chest and curving your back.
Bound Angle Pose
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly bend your knees and pull your feet in towards your body, with your heels together. Be conscious of your back posture while doing this (no hunching).
Balancing yoga for beginners
From Mountain Pose, raise your arms overhead, but still keeping your shoulders down.
Shift your weight onto one foot, and slide the “open” foot up the length of your standing leg. Rest your foot against the inner thigh of your standing leg (do not rest your foot on the side of your knee), and find your balance.
Half Moon Pose
Starting from Extended Triangle Pose, bend your front leg (the one your torso is leaning over) and shift your weight completely onto this leg. As you straighten the leg, simultaneously lift your back leg off the ground. Place one hand on the ground for balance.
Starting from Warrior 1 (a high lunge position), shift all of your weight onto your front foot. Simultaneously straighten your front leg and lift your back leg off the ground, letting your torso lean forward to regulate your balance.
Relaxing & restorative yoga for beginners
Fists Forward Bend
Stand and hinge your torso forward at the hips. Bend your knees slightly and allow your torso to rest on your thighs. Fold your arms so that your hands are in the crook of your elbows, and squeeze your hands into fists to release tension in your spine.
Sit with your knees slightly apart and folded underneath your body, then lean forward to rest your forehead on the ground.