10 Basic Yoga Poses for Total Beginners

The fast pace of life in a developing society somehow created a lot of stress or even depression for people.

Yoga not only helps to improve our physical health but also brings about amazing benefits for our mental health.

It is effective in relieving stress, reducing muscle tension, and strain, increasing concentration and attention as well as making our minds calm down.

That is the reason why more and more people have started doing yoga exercises every day or at least three times per week for getting its wonderful effects.

Whether you practice at home by yourself or join a class with professional yoga teachers, you still need to follow exact poses to avoid hurting yourself and prevent certain bad effects resulting from the wrong posture.

If you are brand new to yoga, you should get familiar with basic poses for beginners first, then try intermediate and advanced levels when you feel totally confident. Don’t try any pose which is too difficult for you because it will affect your spine or other parts of your body.

Below are the most important 10 basic yoga poses that every beginner must know:

1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)

Perhaps this pose looks so simple, but it is actually the base for all standing poses, and everything is not only standing still as you might think. There are a lot of other points you need to remember for doing it correctly.

First of all, start by standing with your feet together. Press down and spread all your toes with two big toes touching each other, while the two heels are slightly apart.

Your tailbone is tucked in a little bit, try to keep your kneecaps lifted so that your thighs could be engaged.

Your arms are slightly engaged, while fingers are spread, and don’t forget to make your palms facing forward. Your shoulder should be relaxed, try to open your chest. Keep your neck neutral and hold for 5-8 breaths.

This pose sounds very simple but it is very good for your posture. You will learn how to keep balance and prevent sciatica.

2. Downward facing dog

This pose is also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana and is used in almost every yoga class for all levels.

Whether you are a complete beginner or have been more professional at an advanced level, you will have to do this pose in most yoga practices.

It helps to stretch your entire body, elongate the spine, and strengthen and open the chest, bringing about a really comfortable and wonderful feeling after posing.

This posture is not easy at all for people who have just begun joining the yoga community. Your body must look like an upside-down “V”. Your wrists will be under the shoulders and your knees will be under your hips.

Try to reach all the hands and feet on the floor. Try to stretch your shoulders, and keep your back and your legs straight.

If uncomfortable, you can bend your knees a little. Try to lengthen the spine and press firmly through your palms.

3. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)

Warrior poses are very important in improving strength and stamina in yoga practice.

Your hips and thighs would be stretched, while the lower parts of your body will be strengthened.

Actually, there are 3 types of warrior pose. With pose I, first, you stand in the Mountain pose.

After exhaling, take a giant step back with one leg. Remember to keep your back always straight. Put your heels down on the floor. Push your chest forward and hands up.

Hold in 5 – 6 breaths and do the same with the opposite leg.

4. Warrior II

This exercise is a little different from Warrior I. In Warrior II, your hips will face the side of the mat. Both the hips and shoulders will open to the side.

Turn your right toes out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees. Bend your right knee. Stretch your arms to both two sides, and look forward in the right-hand direction.

Hold for 8 – 10 breaths, then straighten the right leg, and repeat on the opposite side of your body.

5. Triangle pose

Like Downward facing dog, the triangle pose also appears in almost all yoga styles.

It helps to stretch the groin, hamstrings, hips, and open the chest and shoulders, from which your ability to keep balance will be improved.

You can move from Warrior II to this pose by straightening the front leg. Put one hand under your ankle then lift up the rest arm while facing upward.

Don’t forget to keep your back straight. Hold for 5 – 8 breaths, stand up then repeat on the other side.

6. Plank

Perhaps this pose is quite familiar to those who are trying the gym besides yoga.

We will learn how to be balanced on our hands with support from the whole body.

This exercise is very useful in reducing fat in the belly area as well as increasing stamina in challenging poses.

To do this pose, tuck under your toes and lift your legs up while the toes still reach the floor. Your body must be a straight line from head to feet. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

7. Seated forward bend

This is actually quite difficult for yoga beginners because not everyone can completely straighten their two legs. But if you feel it’s too hard to follow, you can slightly bend your knees.

First, sit down with two legs put together. Fold your back down your knees, and try to let your forehead touch your knees. Arms and hands will be put under the mat.

You will feel a deep stretch for your entire back side of the body which is really helpful in reducing stress and boosting better emotions.

8. Cat-cow stretch

This pose can help to improve the flexibility of your back and spine and strengthen the abdominal part of the body.

It is quite simple for beginners to practice, mainly consisting of two main spine movements: from a rounded position to an arched one.

You must do that in combination with inhalation and exhalation of the breath. Cat-cow stretch can be done as a warmup or relaxing exercise. It is also very good for treating back pain.

9. Cobra pose

This is a beginning backbend pose in yoga that helps to prepare for deeper backbends.

Like cat-cow stretch, the cobra pose is also known as a good exercise for your back, improving the flexibility of the spine and treating backache.

It even helps to open your lungs, and reduces asthma symptoms, while stimulating the abdominal organs which is very good for digestion.

To do this pose, first, you lie on the mat. Two legs are stretched back, with the tops of the feet on the floor.

Put your balms under the floor, lift your body’s upper part, and bend your arms a little. Hold for 15-30 seconds, and continue breathing.

Then come back to the floor and repeat. Don’t forget to inhale when straightening the arms and exhale when released back to the floor.

10. Child’s pose:

After a difficult sequence of exercises, it is very important for yoga practitioners to have a resting pose, and a child’s pose is a perfect choice.

Sit your butt back to your heels and stretch your arms forward. Touch your forehead down the floor and relax your mind, releasing all muscle strain.

Hold for around 10 seconds before you move to another posture.

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