20 best yoga poses for beginners

Catherine Wirsing

In honor of #NationalWorkoutBuddyDay (coming March 1!), WH is posting a series of workouts that are great to do with a buddy, whether they’re in the room next to you or sweating with you from afar. This one of Eve Lynn Chrusta Obe trainer, will help you build your yoga practice. Don’t forget to post a photo on Instagram on March 1 and tag #NationalWorkoutBuddyDay and @womenshealthmag.

If you’ve never taken a single yoga class, hitting the mat for the first time can be quite daunting. (What do you want me to do with my body?!) But if you’re a beginner, no stress, starting a yoga practice isn’t as scary as it might initially seem. There are a few yoga tips every beginner should know before heading to a studio or posting a yoga video on YouTube. Another thing that can help you feel more zen is to learn some basic yoga postures beforehand to familiarize yourself with the fundamental or essential asanas (i.e. yogi for movements, by the way) which you will probably be asked to do in almost all cases. coaching.

These include yoga poses you’ve probably heard of, like Downward Facing Dog and Warrior II, as well as others you may not have heard of. Malasana, anyone? Don’t feel like you have to nail them all before you can start taking classes. Most teachers will encourage new students to look around the class and observe other practitioners to figure out what to do when you’re just starting out, but remember: this is not a competition. Everyone moves differently, so try not to compare yourself to anyone else. (Easier said than done, I know, but give it a try!)

The good news is that even if you’re just starting out, most of the yoga poses you’ll encounter in beginner or all-level classes are totally achievable for all bodies or can be edited to make them easier, which a yoga teacher can help you do. Moreover, yoga comes with a whole host of mental and physical benefits that you can gain regardless of your level of advancement. They include increased flexibility and strength, as well as better mobility and range of motion in your joints. If you move quickly through a vinyasa or power sequence, you’ll also get some cardio benefits.

Before your first flow, take a second to familiarize yourself with the 20 yoga poses for beginners below.

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Cat Cow Pose (Marjaiasana/Bitilasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start on all fours with the wrists directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. For the cat, first exhale as you arch your back and drop your head and tailbone toward the mat. Then on the inhale while arching back, tilting the tailbone and chin toward the ceiling and dropping the tailbone toward the floor to enter Cow Pose.

Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start on all fours with the wrists directly below the shoulders. Extend the legs straight behind the body, toes tucked. Engage abs and bring hips up to shoulder level so back is flat. Gaze slightly in front of the face to keep the spine neutral.

Side Plank (Vasisthasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in plank position, shift body weight to right hand, wrist under shoulder, drop right side heels onto mat, rotate body to face left side and raise left arm in the airs at shoulder height. and twist. Raise your hips as high as possible to the ceiling.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a plank position. Lift the hips up and back, lowering the heels toward the floor, until the body forms an upside-down “V”. Pull the shoulders away from the ears and relax the neck. Spread your fingers on the mat, palms pressed against the floor.

Three Legged Dog (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a downward dog position. Lift the left foot off the mat and toward the ceiling while keeping the shoulders straight and the weight of the body between both palms and the right foot.

Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a plank position. Keeping the elbows close to the sides, bend the arms and lower the whole body as one unit, stopping when the biceps are parallel to the mat.

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Begin lying on the mat with the legs extended directly behind the body, the front of the legs resting on the floor and the upper body supported in the air pressing the palms down into the mat. Extend the arms so they are straight and lift the thighs and shins off the ground.

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a kneeling position, shins flat on the floor, buttocks on heels, knees slightly wider than torso, and hands on knees. Bring your arms forward towards the floor, lower your belly to your thighs and rest your forehead on the floor.

How? ‘Or’ What: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, body weight evenly distributed on both feet, and hands at sides with palms facing forward. Spread the toes, lift the chest and bring the shoulder blades back.

How? ‘Or’ What: Start standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides. At the same time, raise your hands above your head, palms facing inward, until your biceps are close to your ears while bending your knees and sitting down as if you were sitting in a chair.

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Begin standing in mountain pose. Bend forward at the waist and place the palms on the mat in front of the feet (bend the knees as much as needed for this to happen).

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a forward fold. Next, step the left foot back until the leg is straight, toes tucked in and heel high, while bending the right knee 90 degrees and balancing with your fingertips. Lower back knee and shin to the mat.

High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a low lunge with the left knee and shin above the ground. From there, raise your torso and raise both arms above your head, keeping your shoulders down and your hips square to the front of the mat.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start with legs about as wide as the mat, right foot forward, toes pointing forward, left foot pointing back, outside of foot parallel to back of mat (right heel aligned with the middle of the left inner arch), torso to the left side and arms to the sides. Keep the left leg straight while deeply bending the right knee until the thigh is parallel to the mat, then extend the arms out to the sides at shoulder height. The gaze should be over the front fingers.

Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: From Warrior II, tilt the torso forward and rotate it further to the left until the shoulders are facing the side of the mat, bring the right forearm to rest on the left thigh and left arm forward and above the head until the bicep is near the ear. Look at the ceiling.

Wide Leg Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start with feet wider than shoulder width, toes pointing forward, arms at sides. Lean forward and double up until the hands are touching the mat and the top of the head is floating above the floor. The weight should be distributed between the heels and the toes.

Wide Leg Forward Bend with Twist (Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: Start with feet wider than shoulder width, toes pointing forward, arms at sides. Lean forward and double over to plant the right palm on the mat midway between the feet. Rotate the torso to the left side and bring the left hand to the hip, looking up.

How? ‘Or’ What: Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and sit as deep as possible, bringing your buttocks just above the mat. Raise your torso, join your hands in front of your chest and press your elbows against your legs to spread them apart.

Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

How? ‘Or’ What: start lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides. Pull the knees to the chest outside the ribs with the legs bent and the soles facing the ceiling. Bring the arms inside the legs and grab the big toes with the first two fingers and the thumb of the same hand. Gently pull the knees towards the floor.

How? ‘Or’ What: Begin lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, left hand on your heart, and right hand on your stomach. Extend the legs and arms straight on the floor.

Eve is wearing an Athletica top and bottom.

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