Yoga Poses For Beginners

There are many different yoga poses, or asanas, to choose from. But if you’re new to yoga, try starting with the basics: downward-facing dog, child’s pose and savasana.

These yoga poses will help strengthen the ankles, feet, thighs, calves and abs, as well as improve balance. It also stretches the neck and chest.

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

Viparita Karani, or legs-up-the-wall pose, is a rejuvenating inversion that soothes the body and mind. This restorative posture is used to calm the nervous system and promote deeper relaxation, and it can help to relieve back pain and fatigue.

It also helps relieve lower back tension by releasing the pressure on the lumbar spine and relaxes the muscles in this area. It also helps to reduce headaches by allowing fresh blood to flow to the head and soothing tension in the neck, shoulders and back.

To do Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, lie down on the mat with your buttocks close to or against a wall. Make sure that the wall is clear of TVs, framed pictures and other wall decor so that your body can wiggle into the pose without any unnecessary stress on the back and neck. A bolster, or pillow stack, can be used for support, but it is not necessary to practice this pose.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, also called Balasana, is a resting pose in yoga that helps you relax and ground yourself. It’s a great posture to do after a vigorous vinyasa sequence or long hold in an inversion, such as Cobra Pose.

In this posture, you sit back on your heels and place your forehead on the floor. Your hands rest by your sides, palms up. The pose gently stretches your neck, hips and thighs. It can also help release tension in the trapezius muscles, which are located in your shoulders and neck.

If you have trouble sitting back on your heels, use a pillow or a cushion under your knees to reduce pressure. Spread your knees apart if you want to deepen the pose. If you have knee or ankle injuries, skip this pose. Instead, try Extended Child’s Pose. To do the pose, sit in normal Child’s Pose but stretch your arms out in front of you.

Warrior II

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana B) opens the hips, strengthens the legs and improves balance. It is also known to help alleviate lower back pain, sciatica and osteoporosis. Beginners and those with knee or hip issues may use a chair to stabilize their back leg in this pose.

The drishti or focal point in this balancing posture should be on the long edge of the mat. It is important for students to practice a variety of warrior poses to cultivate a balanced yogic life.

A common misalignment in this pose is that the front knee tends to fall inward. To correct this, encourage students to widen the feet and keep the feet centered over each other rather than one in front of the other. Shortening the stance can also reduce excessive pressure on the front leg. This can be helpful for those with tight hips or who have a sedentary job. This will allow them to lengthen the spine without overworking the hips and shoulders.

Downward-Facing Dog

A beloved yoga posture, Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is equal parts strengthening and stretching. It stretches the hamstrings, shoulders, calves, arches, and hands while building strength in arms, wrists, and back muscles. It is also known to reduce back pain, headaches, and fatigue and alleviate depression and anxiety.

Symbolically, the dog represents qualities such as loyalty and unconditional love. On an energetic level, this pose is believed to activate the Manipura and Ajna Chakras, which in turn stimulate intuition and awareness.

Like many of the poses on this list, Downward-Facing Dog is a staple of vinyasa yoga classes. However, the challenge of this posture can be daunting for new yogis. Practicing the basics of this posture will help ensure safe and effective practice. For beginners, a yoga mat wedge can be placed under the wrists to help ease discomfort in the wrists. If you’re unsure about how to do this, consult a yoga instructor for guidance.