31 Yoga Poses for Beginners

Yoga Poses for Beginners

If you are just starting out with yoga, you might be intimidated by the sheer number of different poses and the peculiar sounds their titles make. However, one need not overcomplicate things in order to practice yoga. You have already done a yoga pose if you got out of bed this morning and stretched your arms over your head. You will have plenty of time to master dozens upon dozens of different yoga postures if you keep in mind that your yoga practice is meant to be a lifelong quest.

Because our bodies bend and fold naturally into poses, many of the fundamental yoga postures seem quite comfortable and familiar to us. Learn beginning yoga positions by focusing your attention on your breath and doing so mindfully. When you are just getting started, it’s best to keep things as straightforward as possible. The introductory yoga positions that are described in this article are so beneficial that they will keep you busy for a significant amount of time.

Remember that you are not need to master all 31 of the poses that are listed here. You are not required to become proficient in any of these things; rather, you are free to learn them whenever and however you like, and there is no expectation that you will. Continue reading for additional information on each stance.

Different kinds of poses

There are many different types of yoga poses, and the distinctions between them are based on the movements you use to achieve them. The following is a list of the fundamental types of yoga positions.

  • Standing postures: To “build heat” and get you ready for the rest of the class, standing poses are typically done first in a yoga session. The standing postures of the vinyasa and flow styles of yoga are chained together to produce longer sequences. You are free to perform the standing postures separately in Hatha sessions, pausing for a little period of rest between each one.
  • Poses that require you to balance are an essential part of the yoga practice for beginners because they help develop the core strength that is required for many of the more advanced yoga postures. Even while balancing may appear to be challenging at first, you will discover that with consistent practice, you may make significant progress.
  • Backbends: If you are just starting out with yoga, it is recommended that you start with more moderate movements of the spine, such as flexion and extension, and gradually work your way up to more challenging positions. Backbends are critical to maintaining a healthy spine and a long life because this type of movement is so uncommon in daily living. 1
  • Seated poses: Seated stretches, which frequently concentrate on stretching the hips and hamstrings, are typically done toward the end of a yoga class after the body has had sufficient time to warm up. One of the best things you can do to make yourself more comfortable in any of these positions is to place a folded blanket or a block underneath your seat.
  • Resting or supine poses: It is important to become familiar with your resting poses, particularly child’s pose, which you are urged to do whenever you need a break while you are practicing yoga. It is also important to become familiar with your lying poses. The work on the hips and hamstrings that was started in the seated postures is carried over into these resting poses, which also provide a gentle backbend, twist, and inversion.

Dog Position With Its Head Down (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Type of position: standing

The term “Downward Facing Dog” is synonymous with the practice of yoga; nevertheless, just because you are familiar with this asana does not indicate that performing it is simple.

In this position, beginners frequently lean too far forward, which makes the stance look more like a plank. Instead, be sure to keep the majority of your weight in your legs and reach your hips as high as you can while keeping your heels stretched out toward the ground (they do not need to touch the floor).

If you have tight hamstrings, you may find that the technique is easier if you bend your knees slightly. Keep feet parallel.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Type of position: standing

Although Mountain Pose is not as well-known as Downward-Facing Dog Pose, it is just as vital to your practice. The current moment is perfect for having a conversation on alignment, which refers to the way in which the various parts of your body should be positioned in each pose.

When you are properly aligned in Mountain Pose, a straight line will be drawn from the top of your head to the bottom of your heels. Your shoulders and pelvis will be stacked along this line. Because the physical make-up of each person is unique, you should concentrate on grounding yourself through your feet and elongating yourself via your spine.

Your yoga instructor will be able to guide you through this while you are in class, reminding you to keep your weight on your heels and to move your shoulders down your back.

The Warrior I. (Virabhadrasana I)

Type of position: standing

When performing Warrior I, it is essential to keep in mind that the hips should face forward at all times. Imagine that your hip points are headlights; they should be positioned in a manner that is roughly parallel to the front of your mat. Because of this, you might need to adopt a more expansive perspective.

Warrior II (The) (Virabhadrasana II)

Type of position: standing

In contrast to Warrior I, the hips in Warrior II are turned to face the opposite side of the mat. When advancing from Warrior I to Warrior II, the hips and shoulders open to the side to create more space.

In addition to this, you will rotate your rear foot and give your toes an angle of roughly 45 degrees. It is important to remember to keep your front knee stacked over your ankle in both variations of the Warrior posture. The tips of your toes point in front of you.

Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parvakonasana)

Type of position: standing

You can modify the Extended Side Angle Pose by bringing your forearm to your thigh rather than laying your hand on the floor. This is one way to modify the pose. It shouldn’t put too much pressure on your thigh and shouldn’t rest there at all. Because of this adjustment, you will be able to maintain your shoulders open. In addition to that, you can rest your hand on a block.

If you reach toward the floor before you are ready, you run the risk of compromising the position of the torso, which would result in your chest turning away from the ceiling and toward the floor instead.

Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Type of position: standing

If you aren’t comfortable reaching your arm to the floor in the traditional Triangle pose, you can modify it to seem more like the Extended Side Angle by using a yoga block for your bottom hand instead. You may alternatively choose to rest your hand higher up on your leg, either on your shin or your thigh; nevertheless, you should avoid placing your hand directly on your knee.

If you find that the pose is too difficult for you, don’t be afraid to micro-bend both knees. This won’t feel or seem like a significant bend; rather, it will be just enough movement to free your knees and reduce tightness in your hamstrings.

The triangle pose provides various benefits, including improved strength (particularly in the legs), flexibility (particularly in the groin, hamstrings, and hips), and balance (particularly in the chest and shoulders).

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

In order to perform Standing Forward, Exhale as you fold over your legs while bending over. If you find that your hamstrings are initially a little bit tight, bending your knees will allow you to relax the tension in your spine. The head should be allowed to droop low.

Maintain a slight bend in the knees and space your feet hip-width apart for increased stability (you can straighten the legs, but it is unnecessary). You can grip the elbows of the people on either side of you with the hands that are on the opposite side of each other.

Warrior in a Reversed Role (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

Type of position: standing

The starting position of Reverse Warrior is quite comparable to that of Warrior I. This pose also includes a heart-opening side bend and, optionally, a backbend.

It is imperative that the sole of the front foot be rooted into the ground, that the outside edge of the rear foot be anchored, and that the glutes and hamstrings be engaged in order to maintain the posture.

Direct your attention upward, toward the palm as it extends into the sky. As you sink lower into the hips, make sure that your front knee continues to track over your ankle.

Pose with a Garland (Malasana)

Type of position: standing

Most people living in the 21st century have never experienced squatting before. On the other hand, it provides a wonderful stretch for the muscles that are located around the pelvis, which is why it is referred to as a “hip opener” in yoga.

It may come as a surprise, but it is also beneficial for your feet, which are frequently disregarded. Props can be of assistance to you if you struggle to perform squats. Try sitting on a block or rolling a towel or blanket beneath your heels instead of sitting directly on the floor. Maintain a downward pressure on your heels toward the floor.

Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana) (Ardha Uttanasana)

Type of position: standing

This forward bend with a flat back, which you might also hear referred to as a “halfway raise,” is typically performed as part of the sun salutation sequence. As a result, it is frequently hurried, but it is well worth your time to put in the effort to complete it on your own. Developing body awareness includes being able to recognize when your back is in a neutral position.

A quick look in the mirror might be very beneficial at the beginning. If you want to maintain a flat back, you could discover that you have to raise your hands off the ground and place them on your legs to the extent that this is required. You should also gently bend your knees as necessary.

Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

Type of position: standing

It is a good idea to use your yoga blocks whenever you are doing standing forward bends such as Pyramid pose. This will make the posture easier to get into. Put a block on either side of your front foot so that you may “lift the floor” to a level where your hands will be able to reach without strain. Even so, your hamstrings will get a good stretch, and they will be grateful to you for taking this into consideration.

Pose with the Hands Raise (Urdhva Hastasana)

Type of position: standing

Urdhva Hastasana is a position that builds upon the Mountain Pose foundation and demands you to continue to root into the ground with your legs while simultaneously reaching for the sky with your arms. The end effect is a full-body stretch, which is an excellent way to transition into the more physically demanding portion of your yoga practice.

Low Lunge

Type of position: standing

It is essential that you get the alignment of your lunge just right. Make an effort to bring your front leg into a position where it forms a right angle with the floor, with your knee positioned squarely above your ankle and your thigh parallel to the ground. At the same moment, maintain a level hip position and put your weight on your rear leg.

Many individuals have a tendency to not move far enough into the front leg, which results in sagging in the back leg. Check your progress in the mirror to ensure that you are doing it correctly.

Put your hands on some blocks and/or bring your back knee down to the mat to alter this pose (with a blanket or towel as needed for cushioning).

The “Tree Pose” (Vrksasana)

Type of pose: standing or balancing pose

The Tree Pose is a wonderful way to ease into the practice of balancing poses. If you feel yourself about to go over, it is not difficult to pull yourself back up again. Make every effort not to throw off your balance by thrusting your hip out to the side of the leg on which you are standing.

Put your attention on a certain point on the ground, and experiment with a variety of different foot positions to figure out which one is most comfortable for you: A heel that rests low on the ankle, on a block, or either above or below the knee might be considered a low heel.

Dog Split With the Facing Downwards

Type of position: standing or balancing

The practice of appropriate balancing postures is beneficial to the development of core strength. In Down Dog Split, it is not about how high you can lift your leg or how far you can reach your arms overhead. Instead, you should concentrate on roots into the hands and maintaining an equitable distribution of your weight in both hands.

Plank Pose

Type of pose: balancing poses

It can sound funny to refer to the plank position as a balancing pose when the likelihood of toppling over is rather low, but this description gets to the essence of what this posture is all about: building core strength.

Plank is a wonderful way to build on your stability and stamina, which are both needed for a wide variety of yoga postures, including standing balances and arm balances. Your goal should be to maintain a neutral position in both your hips and your spine.

In a cat-and-cow stretch (Chakravakasana)

Backbend is the sort of pose.

Spinal extension is followed by spinal flexion, so the patient gets the most out of both worlds. The back is awoken and warmed by moving back and forth, which also develops body awareness and serves as an introduction to the fundamentals of performing a vinyasa sequence by synchronizing your movements with your breath.

If you suffer from back discomfort, learning the cat-cow posture may be the single most important thing you do when you first start practicing yoga. Maintaining this stretch on your own is important, even if you are unable to attend more than a few yoga courses throughout your lifetime.

The Bridge Position (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Backbend is the sort of pose.

Backbends, which are often referred as as spine extensions, can be gently explored through bridge posture. It is a good idea to start adopting this form of activity because it increases the mobility of your spine and counteracts the consequences of sitting for an extended period of time.

If you find the standard game of Bridge to be too challenging, try the supported version with a block instead. It is important to remember to root into your feet, as this will assist you engage the muscles in your legs to support the position.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Backbend is the sort of pose.

As an integral part of the vinyasa sequence of poses, the Cobra pose is performed numerous times throughout each flow yoga class. Practicing low cobras, in which you lift your chest without pressing into your hands, can help you gain more back strength than doing full cobras with straight arms. Full cobras offer a deeper backbend, but low cobras let you to build more strength overall.

Establish your foundation via the soles of your feet, lengthen through the top of your head, and broaden through your collarbones as you elevate your sternum. Before you lift anything, you should make sure that your pelvis is firmly anchored to the floor.

To the Knees, the Chest, and the Chin (Ashtanga Namaskara)

Backbend is the sort of pose.

In the past, Ashtanga Namaskara served both as a substitute for and a warm-up for Chaturanga Dandasana for all starting yoga students. In recent years, it has experienced a decline in popularity.

As a direct consequence of this, some of the pupils are forced to participate in chaturanga before they are prepared. It should be included in the sun salutation series for those just starting out. In addition to that, it serves as a wonderful warm-up for backbends that are deeper.

Take your time and ease into the pose from the plank position by moving slowly. Begin by bringing both knees to the floor and tucking your toes underneath you as you do so.

Then, as you drop your chest and chin to the floor, maintain your elbows pushed toward your body and continue the exercise. Your hands should be directly over your shoulders.

Staff Pose (Dandasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

In the sense that it provides alignment instructions for a variety of other seated postures, staff pose is analogous to a seated version of mountain pose (described earlier). Contract the muscles in your legs and flex your feet.

Raise your chest while you let your shoulders down and relax. You could also allow your knees to flex slightly, which will make it easier for your shoulders to stack over your hips. This is an additional option.

If you have problems sitting upright with your bottom resting flat on the floor, you should modify the position by utilizing a block, a folded blanket, or even two folded blankets. This position typically leads to a forward bend at the end of a standard yoga practice.

Pose of the Cobbler (Baddha Konasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

In Cobbler’s pose, you should allow gravity to assist you in stretching your inner thighs. Props can make a world of difference if you’re having trouble maintaining your balance in this posture. Your hips will be raised if you sit on a block, pillow, or blanket, which will allow your knees to expand more naturally.

It takes a lot of work to keep your knees high, and your legs need to be relaxed in order to experience the advantages of the stretch. If your knees are high, keep in mind that this will require more effort. The problem can be remedied by positioning a block or another item that provides support under each knee so that they have something to rest onto.

This pose stretches regions of the body that aren’t used very often, particularly the adductor groups in the groin, because sitting in this position isn’t something that most people do on a regular basis.

Simple Position (Sukhasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

There’s no need to make the position of sitting with your legs crossed into a challenging one. As is the case with the Cobbler’s stance, the strategic application of props can change an awkward position into one that is pleasant, allowing you to start undoing the negative effects of spending too much time sitting in a chair.

The half version of the Lord of the Fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

Twists are an important component of yoga practice. They assist in increasing spinal movement and have the potential to even start things moving along your digestive tract (yes, twists can relieve constipation).

If having your bottom leg bent behind you causes you discomfort, it is acceptable to try this pose with your leg extended instead. You can also alter it by sitting on a blanket instead of the chair. The rotation of the shoulder, hip, and spine can be made significantly easier by positioning the bent leg inside the extended leg.

Position of the Head and Knees (Janu Sirsasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

Anyone who has tight hamstrings may have difficulty performing forward bends (i.e., many people). Because you only need to stretch one leg at a time in Janu Sirsasana, it is a more approachable pose. To further extend your reach, you may also try wrapping a strap around one of your feet.

Forward Bend While Seated (Paschimottanasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

There is a specific purpose behind the inclusion of a large number of hamstring stretches in beginning yoga. People who sit for long periods of time typically have short and tight hamstrings, which can be a contributing factor to low back discomfort. It is beneficial to stretch them, like you do when performing the seated forward bend position.

The entire back of the body can benefit from the stretch provided by this pose. Keep your neck in line with your spine at all times and only bend at the hips, never at the waist.

Straddle Position at a Wide Angle While Seated (Upavistha Konasana)

Seated is the sort of pose.

By spreading your legs apart in paschimottanasana, you’ll experience a stretch that’s a little bit different. In order to perform this stretch:

  1. Bring your knees apart and place them in a wide position.
  2. Come into upavistha konasana by bending both of your feet and pressing firmly down through both of your legs.
  3. Bend forward until you reach the center of your body, extending the spine as you inhale and going deeper into the pose as you exhale.

In spite of the fact that it may appear as though the requirement is to bring your chest to the floor, this is not the case. Instead, focus on maintaining a flat back, moving your pelvis forward rather than compressing forward through your spine, and maintaining a flexed foot position throughout the exercise. No matter how far forward you lean, it won’t make a difference if you don’t do all three of these things.

The smiling baby pose (Ananda Balasana)

Type of position: supine

A great approach to wind down a yoga session is to do the happy baby pose. In addition to that, it is a wonderful illustration of the important dynamic that exists in yoga between ease and effort.

You should apply some pressure to your feet in order to pull them closer to your armpits. However, you should not apply so much pressure that your tailbone is lifted off the floor. You should avoid going to either extreme and instead look for the happy medium.

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Type of position: supine

There is no hard and fast rule that says you can’t do a pose at the beginning of your yoga practice; nevertheless, traditionally, the final pose of a yoga session is a passive twist. You get to decide how the legs should be positioned.

You have the option of bending them both, of straightening the upper leg and holding onto your foot if you have the flexibility to do so, or of twisting the legs around one another (like you would in Eagle pose) in order to stretch the outer hips. Both of these options are available. Maintain a straight line from your waist to your knees.

Childlike Position (Balasana)

Type of posture: resting

The child’s pose is extremely important since it is the position that you should assume if you feel the need to take a break while you are participating in a yoga class. You are not required to wait for the instructor to signal the beginning of a break if you ever find that you are becoming exhausted.

Simply transition into Child’s pose, and when you feel ready, come back to the class. It does not challenge the strength or balance of the back, hips, thighs, or ankles in any way, but it does provide a gentle stretch for those areas.

It is really up to your discretion whether or not you should do Child’s pose, which happens to introduce one of the most important teachings that yoga has to offer: being attuned to the signals your body is giving and respecting them more than any external guidance.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Type of posture: resting

The majority of yoga classes conclude with participants lying on their backs in the corpse pose. The time between the conclusion of your yoga session and the beginning of the remainder of your day is an important transitional period. The mind must fight to keep its composure as the body is brought to a state of stillness. At first, you might find it challenging, but as you have more and more experience, it will become easier.

A Word From Verywell

Allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to master these poses. Spend some time each day (or once every few days) reviewing your practice as you unwind in an environment that’s relaxing to you. Through consistent practice, you will notice that your body is able to flow more easily from one pose to the next, which will contribute to an improvement in your physical function and overall wellness.


Is it wise for novices to start their yoga practice at home?

Yes! Home practice is where the majority of beginning yogis get their start. Because many people are unable to travel to a class, practicing at home is an alternative that is not only more feasible but also more cost-effective.

How often per week should beginning students practice yoga?

If you have never worked out before, the idea of committing to a daily routine may seem intimidating. Make it a goal to practice yoga three times a week. However, with simple positions such as the ones that are mentioned below, there is no reason not to practice yoga every day.

What are the advantages of participating in yoga?

Yoga is beneficial to both the body and the psyche. If you practice on a consistent basis, you will notice that your body becomes stronger and more flexible. In addition, yoga gives you time to focus on your breathing and meditation, both of which are beneficial to your mental health.