Yoga, without a doubt, is the best practice when it comes to maintaining the best lifestyle. Thus, with more and more people being aware of the importance of both physical as well as mental well-being and the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is likely that the number of people practising yoga has been increasing massively.

Yoga Poses For Beginners

However, the history of yoga is ancient that was originated more than 5000 years ago. Ensuing, its philosophy and techniques have been passed on from one generation to another. Later, the yoga culture influenced western societies around the early to mid 20th century. Since then, the core philosophy of yoga, its culture, its larger understanding has been inherited in many ways.

Naturally, having a vast “archive of knowledge”, multiples philosophies and techniques, and the internet which can vomit all of it at once, a beginner who wants to learn simple basic yoga might find themselves as the needle in a haystack.

Basic Yoga Poses For Beginners with Instruction

Making it simpler and easier for someone new to yoga. What Yoga poses should a beginner do? – Here is a guide on how to start yoga for beginners.

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
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The Mountain Pose also known as Tadasana or Equal standing pose is the foundational pose for all standing yoga postures. It might look like “non-pose”, but is rather an active pose to perform.

Instructions:

  • Stand straight on the ground with a small gap between your feet
  • Taking long deep breaths, raise your arms from both the sides and interlocking your fingers, take them upwards
  • Feeling the stretch, you make take a couple of long deep breath in and out
  • First, take a long deep breath in and while exhaling, brings your hands down slowly
  • Do at 3-5 rounds and return to normal position

Benefits:

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens thighs, knees and ankles
  • Firms abdomen and buttocks
  • Relieves sciatica

2. Tree Pose (Vriksaasana)

Vrikshasana – The Tree Pose
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The ‘Tree Pose’, also known as Vriksaasana has calming and meditative benefits. This pose helps you to keep your body in balance, mind calm and alert and the spine erect. As a beginner, do this yoga posture with your eyes open and focused on something. Later, you should try doing it with your eyes closed.

Instructions:

  • Start in mountain pose with your toes together and heels slightly apart.
  • Bring your right foot to the inner thigh of your left leg.
  • Squeeze your foot and inner thigh together. The knee of your right leg should be turned out and your right thigh facing down toward the ground at a 45-degree angle.
  • Once you’ve found your balance, lift your hands to prayer position in front of your chest (as shown), or up overhead if that feels better for you.
  • Keep your gaze focused on a fixed point in front of you to help stay balanced.
  • Hold for 5–10 breaths, then switch sides.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the thighs, grains, torso and shoulders.
  • Also helps to build strength in the ankles and calves
  • Tones the abdominal muscles

3. Warrior Pose 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior Pose ii - Virabhadrasana ii
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The Warrier Pose 2 also known as Virabhadrasana II and is named after a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.  Warrior 2 can be an effective way to build a feeling of inner strength and power. This is also a good yoga pose to tone and strengthen the muscles around high and arms.

Instructions:

  • Stand both your legs wide apart at 3-4 feet with both your back and knees straight.
  • Then, turn your right foot to your right by 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees.
  • Make sure that the heel of the right foot aligned with the centre of the left foot.
  • Facing your palms upwards, take a deep breath in and raise both the arms sideways till the height of your shoulders till they are parallel to your yoga mat/floor.
  • Exhale and bend your right knee until right knee and ankle are perpendicular to the ground/Yoga Mat.
  • Now, turn your face/head towards the right side.
  • When you feel comfortable and stable, stretch your arms further and gently push your pelvis down.
  • As you go down, keep taking a long deep breath in and out.
  • While inhaling, come up slowly and steadily.
  • Exhaling, slowly rest both your hands down from the sides.

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backaches

Precautions For Warrior Pose 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

4. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Trikonasana
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The Triangle pose teaches the three physical principles in hatha yoga – stability, expansion and evenness. Moreover, if you are in desperate need of reducing your belly fat, this posture is sure to provide you with a slim- trim waist.

Instruction:

  • Start in Warrior II.
  • Then straighten your front leg. Then, reach forward with your left hand toward the ground. Tilt your torso forward and rotate it open to the right side.
  • Rotate your arms to 6 and 12 o’clock. Rest your left hand on your shin, or the floor if you can, and extend your top arm fingers toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 4–8 breaths, then switch sides.

Benefits

  • It combines many elements in one posture
  • Build strength in the legs, knees, ankles, arms and chest
  • Open the hips, calves, shoulders, chest and spine
  • Helps in improving digestion
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica

5. Standing Forward Bend (Hasta Padasana)

Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend) - Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend). Source

The ‘Standing Forward Bend Pose’ serves its name as you do exactly that. This is a yoga asana that is done even as a stretching routine for the legs and flexing the spine. From atheletes to dancers, anybody wishing to make their body flexible does this posture.

However, with a little more attention and alertness, you can totally transform your experience while doing this same stretching routine into a fine yoga pose by following the instructions below.

Instruction:

  • Stand up straight and as you exhale, bend forward from the waist.
  • Make sure that your spine stays erect as you bend forward.
  • As you breathe out completely, try to touch the floor next to the feet.
  • If necessary, you may bend your knees, to easily touch the floor.
  • Then, gently try to make the knees straight.
  • Take 5-10 long deep breath in and out.
  • Become stable and relax in the position.
  • As you inhale, come up.

Remember that, it is mandatory to INHALE while you raise back up.

Benefits

  • It makes the waist and spine flexible.
  • It stretches the calves and hamstrings.
  • It opens the hips, shoulders, and arms.

6. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)

Anjaneyasana_Lunge-Pose
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Anjaneyasana is also known as the Crescent lunge pose, which means praise or salutation and is a dynamic standing yoga pose that utilizes and integrates the entire muscles of the body.

This asana will help to create equanimity in all areas of your life and establish balance, grace and power both on and off the mat.

Instruction: 

  • Now, stand up, and take your left foot back to 2-3 feet while you square your hips toward the front.
  • Bend your front right knee, which should be perpendicular and thigh parallel to the ground. Make sure that you keep your back leg straight and the right heel placed firmly off the floor.
  • Inhale and extend both your arms toward the ceiling on either side of your head and stretch up as you also press into the mat and feel the stretch in your hips.
  • Relax, balance yourself and feeling comfortable take 5-10 long deep breaths and out.
  • As you exhale, bring both your arms down. and come back to the normal position.
  • To move into Low Lunge simply drop your back knee to the floor, keeping the leg extended long and the shin flat on the mat.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens legs, thighs, upper back muscles, shoulders and arms
  • Lengthens spine and chest muscles
  • Stretches hip flexors
  • Increases stamina and energy which improving focus and circulation

7. Cow Pose (Bitilasana) – Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

Cat Pose - Marjaryasana
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Cat-Cow is a gentle warm-up pose that brings flexibility to your spine. It stretches the back and neck and stimulates the abdominal organ. Apart, this also helps to open the chest and encourages you to take a deep and slow breath.

If you have difficulty rounding the very top of the upper back in the beginning then you may ask a friend to lay a hand just above and between the shoulder blades to help you activate this area. This is one of the best yoga poses for back pain.

Instruction:

  • Kneel down on your knees and bend down placing your hands on the floor.
  • Keeping your spine at a neutral comfortable positing. Make sure that your knees are equal to the width of your hips and your hands are perpendicular to the ground, directly below your shoulders
  • Inhale as you arch your back downwards and drop your belly. Alongside, lift your gaze and your tail bone towards the sky. – This is the instruction for Cow Pose (Bitilasana).
  • Exhale as you arch your back towards the opposite direction. Doing so, slowly tuck your chin towards your chest, and scoop your tailbone under. – This is the instruction for Cat Pose (Marjaryasana).
  • You can do these for 3-6 times and relax.

Benefits:

  • Helps to for resolve back pain
  • Relieves pain from menstrual cramp
  • Increases flexibility of neck, spine and shoulders
  • Releases tension on upper back and neck
  • Stretches the hip, abdomen and chest muscles
  • Slowly come back to normal position.

8. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Phalakasana (Plank Pose) by african woman
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Plank Pose also known as Kumbhakasana where “Kumbhak”  means “breath retention” and “asana” means “pose”. This is an arm balancing yoga. Plank pose is also an essential component of the Sun Salutations pose.

Instruction:

  • Continuing from the Cat-Cow posture, lift your knees off the floor and extend both your legs out behind you. You should now be on your toes and hands on the ground, with your spine straight.
  • Keep your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, and core engaged.
  • Keep your neck and spine in a neutral position by looking down at the top of your mat.
  • Observe your body and take 3-5 deep long breaths in and out.

Benefits:

  • Tones the core muscles of the body like abdomen, chest and lower back
  • Strengthen arms, wrists and shoulders
  • Increases stamina

9. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana
Woman doing Yoga pose – Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Knowingly or unknowingly, we must have all done Cobra pose. It is simple and easy, yet it is one of the most essential poses in yoga. This posture is very good for the spine, abdomen, neck and forearms. Everybody should do this yoga pose regularly.

Instructions:

  • Continuing from plank pose, lie down facing towards the floor, with your palms on the floor which are next to your shoulders.
  • As you inhale, raise your next, chest, arch your back and look upwards.
  • Your elbows should be slightly bent as you should only be bending till your navel region and the pelvic region should be on the ground
  • Make sure that the shoulders are not close to the ears and both the legs are together.
  • If you prefer holding on to this posture for a deeper stretch, you can inhale and make a gentle effort to push the chest forward;
  • Then, as you exhale, come down slowly from the navel till your chin.

Benefits:

  • Bhujangasana stretches the spine, shoulders, chest and abdomen.
  • It increases the flexibility of the body.
  • It helps to elevate the mood.
  • It invigorates the heart.
  • Helps in maintaining body posture.

10. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
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Downward-Facing Dog pose is also included as a sequence in Surya Namaskar. Included in the list of our must-do yoga poses for beginners to advanced yogis alike. It is a very good yoga pose especially for footballers and athletes as it is highly effective to stretch the hamstrings and hips. Also, it helps to strengthen the arms and core muscles.

Instruction:

In this posture, your body should be like an inverted V (/\) posture.

  • After finishing your Cobra pose. First, take a long deep breath in
  • Now, as you exhale, place both your feet on the ground, lift your hips and lower chin towards your chest.
  • As both your palm and your feet rest on the floor, your hip should be pointed upwards.
  • Remember that your knees and your back should both be straight.
  • Become stable and relax in the position.
  • To have a proper stretch, try to push your hips backwards while both your heels are firmly placed on the ground.
  • Take a long deep breath in and while exhaling slowly sit back to a normal position and relax.

Benefits

  • Downward-Facing Dog strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs.
  • It gives a very good stretch on the hamstrings.
  • Increases blood flow to the spinal region.

11. Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)

Butterfly Pose - Badhakonasana - Cobbler Pose
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Butterfly Pose is definitely one of the best yoga poses for beginners. The posture is also sometimes known as the Cobbler Pose as it resembles the sitting position of a cobbler at work. Practicing the ‘Butterfly pose’ strengthens and improves flexibility in the inner thighs, groins, and the knees.

Instruction

How To Do The Badhakonasana?

  • Sit down with a firm and a straight spine. Adjoin the soles of both your feet and bring them nearer to the pelvis.
  • Hold both your feet and make a gentle effort to bring the heels a little closer to the genitals.
  • Now press the thighs and knees down towards the floor. You may also use both your hands to press your knees gently.
  • Keep taking normal long deep breaths in and out.
  • Breathing normally, start flapping both the legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly.
  • Begin gently and slowly increase the speed till where you feel comfortable.
  • Gradually, slow down and stop.
  • Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend forward, keeping the chin up and spine erect.
  • Press your elbows on the thighs or on the knees, pushing the knees and thighs closer to the floor.
  • Feel the stretch in the inner thighs and take long, deep breaths, be aware and relax the muscles more and more.
  • Take a deep breath in and bring the torso up.
  • As you exhale, gently release the posture. Then, slowly straighten the legs out in front of you and relax.

Benefits

  • Improving flexibility in the groin and hip region.
  • Stretches the inner and outer thighs, groins, and knees.
  • Strengthens hips, legs, lower back and abdomen.
  • Soothes sciatica pain.

Precautions For Butterfly Pose 

12. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
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Seated forward fold is also known as Paschimottanasana. This is a calming yoga pose that helps to relieve stress and was believed that ancient yogis would practice this facing the sunrise and the seated forward pose would stretch their entire back at the west and their bodies folded towards the sun.

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Flex your feet and sit with a straight back.
  • Take a long deep breath in and raise both your arms from the side.
  • Exhaling, bend from your hips and keeping your flat back and hold both your feet.
  • Only stretch a little more than your comfort level. If you are able to, grab onto the outside of each foot, or your ankles or shins. Release your neck and let your head hang heavy.
  • Take long deep breaths for 5-10 time and as you exhale, raise back up to your normal position.

Benefits:

  • Relief stress
  • Improve digestion and appetite
  • Calms the mind
  • Reduce anxiety and fatigue

Precaution

Do not attempt to do this asana in a fast motion, attempt it slowly and gradually. Also, the key focus in this pose is to stretch your spine and bend your hips properly.

In Conclusion

Follow these rules of yoga for beginners. Some important things to know if you are just starting your journey in Yoga.

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes that wouldn’t obstruct your stretches.
  • It is best to do yoga early in the morning, in an empty stomach or after 2 hours of your meal.
  • Always have at least a short a warm-up session before performing yoga postures.
  • Yoga is not about flexibility in the body. So, do not overdo any posture or try very hard. Stretch only slightly more than what you feel absolutely comfortable.
  • The key is taking your attention to your breath and take long deep breaths in and out.
  • Practice your yoga poses slow and easy. Yoga is about being steady and comfortable in any posture.
  • After any yoga posture, take a short rest and observe the changes in your body and mind.
  • If you are learning yoga online by yourself, always research about the yoga poses about who should and shouldn’t do them properly.
  • It is always best to learn to yoga under proper guidance for a guru or a certified teacher.

All the yoga poses for beginners mentioned above are easy and simple to execute. However, do research some more about who should and shouldn’t do them. Also, if you are looking for a perfect daily yoga routine, look nowhere else than Surya Namaskar Instructions – The Complete Guide for Sun Salutation. These set of yoga poses have been prepared by yoga masters thousand of years back. Sun Salutation is the perfect yoga poses to practice daily for begineers to experienced yogis.


Reference: NYTimes | YogaOutlet | VeryWellFit | Tummee | DoYouYoga| YogaJournal

(Last Updated On: April 14, 2020)

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