Fitness Lifestyle

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners

Aug 27, 2019

Whether you’re taking a class at your gym, a yoga studio or you’re attempting to namaste in the comfort of your own at home, it’s essential to master a few key yoga poses. Learning these poses are an essential part of success as a beginner, and once you have them down, you can build on them for more challenging poses. So grab your mat, and get ready to stretch with yoga for beginners.

1) Mountain Pose

What it is: Sure, it just looks like you’re standing tall, but it’s essential to master Mountain Pose to feel grounded and aligned. Also called Tadasana.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet pressed together and your arms at your sides, palms facing inward.
  • Bear down through your toes, pressing your big toes together, and spread all your toes open.
  • Make sure weight is evenly balanced between your feet.
  • Harden your thigh muscles, and lift kneecaps.
  • Press shoulder blades toward one another, opening your chest.
  • Lift chest and draw in abs.
  • Center the crown of your head directly over your pelvis with your chin parallel to the ground.
  • Breathe deeply into the body for 30 seconds to a minute, or hold for about five breaths.

Why you should master it: This resting pose puts your body in alignment and helps with posture. When practicing, make sure your head, shoulders, pelvis and heels are all linear.

2) Downward-Facing Dog

What it is: Performing this popular pose creates an inverted V shape with your body. Also called Adho Mukha Svanasana.

How to do it:

  • Start on all fours with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and knees lining up with your hips.
  • Lift hips away from the floor, drawing them up toward the heels.
  • Begin slowly straightening your legs as much as you can, keeping knees slightly bent if needed.
  • Walk hands forward toward the end of the mat, until you’re stretched out in that inverted V shape, making sure to keep weight balanced in legs with heels reaching toward the floor. Don’t lean too far forward.
  • Hold for at least five breaths.
  • Exhale to release the pose, gently bending your knees and coming to rest on hands and knees.

Why you should master it: Downward-facing dog is a great foundational post as it really works key muscles in the body, from hamstrings to calves and spine to arches. The pose also builds strength in legs, arms and shoulders. Plus, the mild inversion of the V shape you create with your body can provide relief for a number of issues, from back pain and insomnia to headaches and fatigue.

3) Plank Pose

What it is: A foundational pose that gives your body strength for more difficult yoga poses. Also known as Adho Mukha Dandasana.

How to do it:

  • Begin on all fours, making sure shoulders are aligned over hands and hips are lined up over the knees.
  • Keep arms straight.
  • Now extend from the spine as you lift your head and tailbone and stretch the front of your body.
  • Slide the heels back until you create a straight line from your head to the feet.
  • Angle shoulders down while engaging the lower abdominals.
  • Hold pose for eight breaths.

Why you should master it: The pose builds arm and ab strength, while also helping to improve posture.

4) Tree Pose

What it is: Tree pose is a great pose to focus specifically on balance. Also called Vrikshasana.

How to do it:

  • Begin by planting your feet together firmly on the ground.
  • Lift up your right foot, pressing it to the inner portion of your upper left thigh.
  • Press palms together as though in prayer. Keep shoulders relaxed.
  • Focus your vision on a spot in front of you to maintain balance.
  • Hold pose for five to 10 breaths.
  • Switch sides.

Why you should master it: Not only does Tree Pose aid in balance, it also improves posture, focus and strengthens the range of motion in the hips while toning leg, back and chest muscles.

5) Warrior I

What it is: Also called Virabhadrasana I, the Warrior I pose is a powerful standing pose that helps with balance, coordination and stamina.

How to do it:

  • With feet together, take a large step back with your left foot, as though in a lunge.
  • With the right foot planted, turn that left heel down, angling toes forward.
  • Lift up the chest.
  • Lift up your hands and press your palms together over your head.
  • Repeat using your right leg.

Why you should master it: The therapeutic pose stretches and tones, helping with breathing capacity and encouraging greater flexibility and strength. The increased circulation helps warm the muscles and fosters concentration and focus.

6) Warrior II

What it is: In addition to grounding and helping with balance, Warrior II pose opens the hips, helping to strengthen legs. Also called Virabhadrasana II.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet apart — about 4 feet.
  • Turn your right foot out about 90 degrees, making sure toes point to the top of your mat. Keep your left toes in a 45-degree position.
  • Bend your right knee so it’s over the right ankle.
  • Make sure your torso is evenly centered.
  • Now, stretch arms out, and find a spot on which to gaze over your right hand.
  • Hold position for eight breaths.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Why you should master it: The pose helps with balance, concentration and grounding, while energizing the body.

7) Child’s Pose

What it is: Child’s Pose is a great restorative/resting pose. Also called Bālāsana.

How to do it:

  • Begin on all fours
  • Rest on your knees and feet.
  • Sit your butt back toward your heels while stretching arms out forward.
  • Place forehead near or on the floor.
  • Hold for as long as possible.

Why you should master it: Child’s Pose can help calm the mind while elongating the back and opening up your hips. Plus, it’s a true resting pose that you can hold for as long as you like.

8) Bound Angle Pose

What it is: This pose opens up the hips and stretches inner thighs, groin and knees. Also called Baddha Konasana, Cobbler’s Pose or Butterfly Pose, it’s a perfect stretch for warmups and cooldowns.

How to do it:

  • Sit up straight, bending the knees and pulling your heels toward the pelvis.
  • Gently press the soles of the feet together.
  • Hold onto the foot arch or your lower leg.
  • Press your elbows into your legs for an even deeper stretch, drawing the shoulders back to maintain balance.
  • Hold your gaze in a steady spot.
  • Breathe for at least five breaths.

Why you should master it: This hip-stretching pose is great to prepare for childbirth, but also stretches the body, making it ideal for soothing such conditions as menstrual discomfort, sciatica and flat feet. It’s also an ideal pose for runners.

9) Staff Pose

What it is: Staff Pose may just look like sitting with your legs straight out, but it helps improve posture while stretching key muscles. Also called Stick Pose and Dandasana.

How to do it:

  • Sit up straight, with legs extended out in front of you.
  • Lengthen torso up.
  • Breathe, holding for eight to 10 breaths.

Why you should master it: Staff Pose improves posture while strengthening back muscles and stretching shoulders, chest and spine.

10) Cat-Cow Stretch

What it is: This duo pose helps relieve stress on the lower abdomen and back while stretching key muscles in the hips and chest. Also called Marjaryasana/Bitilasana.

How to do them:

  • Begin on all fours, making sure knees are directly below hips and wrists align with shoulders.
  • Curl toes under and tilt your pelvis back, extending the spine and drawing your navel in.
  • Place tops of your feet on the floor.
  • Move pelvis forward, rounding your spine as your navel draws in.
  • Drop your head, gazing toward navel.
  • Move from cow to cat (arched back) for five to 10 breaths.

Why you should master it: A great way to warm up the spine and synchronize the breath. Cat/Cow Pose also helps with overall flexibility in the spine, neck and shoulders.

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