Yoga is one of the best ways to help you relax and manage stress and anxiety. I think the best definition of yoga I’ve seen is that yoga is a state of mind, a way to connect with your body, mind, and spirit. These beginner yoga poses are an awesome and easy way to get started if you’re a yoga novice.
Yoga is part meditation, part exercise, and part stress reliever. It’s one of the best ways to find balance in your life – both physical and mental.
In this article, you’ll learn some basic yoga positions and how to do them, a few benefits of yoga, and the importance of breathing properly.
Let’s start with the benefits.
Benefits of Yoga
- It helps you relax and reduce stress.
- It helps improve your flexibility, strength, balance, and overall fitness.
- It can help you lose weight and tone your core.
- It may help you manage health conditions like depression, pain, sleep issues, fatigue, anxiety, mood disorders, and even cancer.
- It helps you center your thoughts and improve your outlook on life.
Before we get into some beginner yoga poses, it’s important to understand breathing, which is an integral part of yoga practice. It’s been said that “if you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
In yoga, the breath signifies your vital energy. Controlling your breathing during your yoga sessions can help you control your body and quiet your mind. During each pose, it’s important to focus on breathing through your nose slowly and deeply.
In general, you should inhale when opening or unfolding your body, when you come out of a pose, raise your arms, or expand into a pose. Exhale when you move downward, lower your arms or legs, or bend forward or sideways.
Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners
|Yoga Pose||How to Do it|
|Cat pose||Get on all fours and inhale slowly as you lift your head up and arch your back. On the exhale, round up your back while you tuck your chin in.|
|Chair pose||Starting in Mountain Pose (see description below), raise your arms overhead while breathing in. Exhale and fold forward while sweeping your arms toward the floor. Slowly raise yourself up and squat back as if you were sitting in a chair, while extending your arms overhead. Hold the position while breathing deeply through your nose.|
|Child pose||Get down on the floor with your knees together, so your butt rests on your heels. Lean forward and rest your head on the floor and let your arms rest on the floor so they’re out at your sides. Breath deeply into your lower back, filling it with air. For extended child’s pose, extend your arms out in front of you.|
|Downward facing dog||Start in Mountain Pose and step your feet back as you exhale. Extend your arms out in front of you so they’re shoulder width apart. Your feet should be extended behind you, about hip-width apart. Press down through your heels to straighten your legs fully. Your body should essentially form an upside down V with your butt sticking in the air and your back, legs, and arms straight.|
|Mountain pose||Stand up with your feet together and arms straight out at your side. Stand straight while breathing deeply through the nose.|
|Plank pose||Kneel on the floor with your hands shoulder width apart. Push your palms on the floor to lift your knees until your legs and back are straight. Draw your abs in slightly to your spine and hold the position while breathing deeply.|
|Revolved easy pose||Lower yourself into a cross-legged position and extend your heels a little farther apart from each other. Lengthen upward through the spine until you’re sitting upright and comfortable in the position. Inhale deeply as you raise both arms overhead. Exhale and reach your arms and chest toward the left. Brace your body by placing your left hand on the floor behind you and your right hand on your knee for support. Take several deep, gentle breaths as you hold the pose and feel the stretch in your back and hips. Inhale to come out of the pose, and repeat on the other side.|
|Seated pose||Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Rest your arms freely on your knees, thighs, or in your lap. Take several deep breaths.|
|Standing side stretch||Starting in Mountain Pose, inhale and raise your left arm straight up into the air. Exhale and bend your upper body to the right, with your raise arm bracing your right leg for support if necessary. Hold for several breaths, and inhale back up to the starting position. Repeat with your other arm.|
|Tree pose||Stand straight up gazing ahead with your arms dropped down at your sides. Bend your left knee and place the sole of the foot against the upper right inner thigh of your right leg, toes pointed toward the floor. Slowly draw the left knee back to open your hip. Bring your palms together at your chest, or raise them overhead if possible. Switch sides and repeat.|
|Warrior 1 pose||Starting in Mountain pose, inhale and step your right foot out in front of you. Turn your back foot in about 45 degrees. Inhale and raise your arms overhead. Exhale and sink down into a lunge with your right thigh, until it’s parallel to the floor (it’s okay if you can’t go this far when first starting off). Take several deep breaths from this position. Inhale as you raise yourself straight back up and repeat with the other leg.|
|Warrior 2 pose||In a standing position, step your left foot out and turn it 90 degrees. Turn your right foot slightly in and raise your arms so they’re parallel to the floor. Squat down with your left leg until it’s parallel to the floor, keeping your right leg straight. Extend your left arm straight in front of you and your right arm straight behind you, while looking ahead toward your left hand. Switch sides and repeat.|
|Wide leg forward bend||Starting in Mountain Pose, step your feet wide apart and place your hands on your hips. Take several deep breaths, and as you exhale fold your upper body forward. Allow your head and arms to hang freely below you without straining. Breath deeply into the pose, then inhale as your raise yourself back up.|
7 Yoga Tips for Beginners
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Invest in a good mat.
- Choose easier postures when first starting.
- Rest when you need to.
- Take it slow.
- Regular practice is the key to success.
- Do yoga in the environment that’s most comfortable for you, whether it’s a class setting or by yourself in front of your computer.