10 Yoga Poses For Beginners (2023)

New to yoga? Congratulations on starting a practice! Building proper alignment from the beginning will ensure you get the most out of each and every class—and feel safe and secure in the process. To that end, here are ten basic yoga poses for beginners to master in the studio and at home.

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Child’s pose is a restorative pose that you can come to at any time during a yoga class.

It’s first in our list of yoga poses for beginners to learn because it’s encouraged to default to at any time. Out of breath and need a break? Child’s pose. Injured and unable to do another pose? Child’s pose. Seriously, it’s perfectly acceptable to take a child’s pose as often as you like.

Child’s pose has the following benefits:

  • incredibly calming
  • relieves muscle tension
  • lengthens the spine
  • creates mobility in the hips
  1. From a kneeling position, widen your knees towards the edges of your yoga mat.

  2. Point your toes and bring them to touch with the tops of your feet against the mat.

  3. Extend your arms and hands forward to touch the ground at the front of your yoga mat.

  4. Let your bottom come back to rest on your heels, creasing at the knees and hips.

  5. Bring your chest forward keeping a tall spine and let your forehead and chest come to rest on or towards the mat.

  • You can do this pose with active and engaged arms or let them rest at your sides with hands towards the back of the mat.

  • Roll up a yoga blanket to place in the crease behind the knees to alleviate any pressure in the legs.

  • If your forehead does not touch the mat, rest it on a yoga block to allow your neck to release comfortably.

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Downward facing dog is a foundational yoga pose that challenges beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

If you dream of doing handstands one day, having a strong downward facing dog is your first step to getting there. Don’t be discouraged if you find this pose very difficult to hold in the beginning. With consistent practice, you will get stronger and it will get easier.

Downward-facing dog pose has the following benefits:

  • builds strength in the shoulders and arms
  • stretches the spine and backs of the legs
  • gets blood circulating as a gentle inversion
  1. To measure the correct distance between your hands and feet, start in a plank pose.

  2. Press firmly through your hands and feet and lift your hips towards the ceiling.

  3. Keep pressing until you have a flat back. Your body should resemble an upside V.

  4. Think about externally rotating through the biceps and shoulders while internally rotating through your forearms to engage the arms fully.

  5. Reach your heels towards the mat while stretching through the backs of the legs.

  • Your fingers should be comfortably spread, but not strained apart.

  • Some studios teach downward-facing dog with generously bent knees and lifted heels to release tension in the lower back. Others prefer straightened legs with heels reaching towards the floor. Try both versions to see which you prefer.

  • Place a rolled blanket beneath your heels to offer extra support through the legs.

  • Place yoga blocks on their lowest setting beneath your hands for lift through the arms and shoulders.

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Upward-facing dog is usually paired with downward-facing dog as a counter stretch. Proper alignment will ensure you don’t stress the lower back.

Upward-facing dog helps to:

  • stretch the entire front body and tops of the feet
  • creates expansion through the chest and lungs
  • builds strength in the arms and legs
  1. Lie facedown on your belly with your head towards the front of your mat.

  2. Place your hands on the mat close to your upper rib cage.

  3. Point your toes back with the tops of the feet pressed flat against the mat.

  4. Press through the hands to lift your torso and legs off the mat, keeping just the tops of your feet pressed down. (The rest of your leg should be hovering above the mat.)

  5. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and spread through the collarbones.

  6. Reach through the crown of your head to elongate the spine.

If you find this pose too challenging, it is perfectly acceptable to substitute it with a cobra pose instead.

  • To take a cobra pose, place the hands beneath the shoulders and lift using the chest and back muscles. Your legs will stay pressed against the mat.
  • In this variation the arms should not bear much weight at all. The rise will not be as dramatic as in an upward-facing dog because it would create too much strain on the lower back.
  • In all variations, keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.

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This standing pose is a staple used to transition in and out of many other poses in standing sequences. If you don’t feel the difficulty in the pose at first, pay close attention to the cues. It’s easy when done incorrectly but challenging (and impactful) when done correctly.

Warrior II pose can help to:

  • strengthen the legs, back, core, and arms
  • build stamina and endurance
  • create heat and blood flow

  1. With your body facing sideways on your mat, extend your arms out parallel to the floor.

  2. Step out to broaden your stance. Aim to place your feet wide enough to match the wingspan of your outstretched hands. (If this is too challenging for now, you can shorten your stance and work towards that over time.)

  3. Point the toes of your front foot to face the front of the mat. Your back foot should be placed at a 45 degree angle.

  4. Bend the front leg towards a 90 degree bend in the knee. Keep the back leg straight.

  5. Turn your head to gaze over the fingertips facing the front of your mat.

  • The closer the bend in your front knee gets to 90 degrees, the more challenging this pose will be. Adjust to your needs.

  • Stay active and engaged through your back leg by pressing through the back heel.

  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears.

  • Reach actively through both hands to stretch across the collarbones.

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Arguably more challenging than its counterpart, Warrior I is a strengthening standing pose similar to a lunge. It’s prominently used in the Sun Salutation B sequence.

Warrior I has the following benefits:

  • builds strength in the lower body, core, arms, and back
  • elongates the spine
  • improves balance and stability
  • supports good posture
  1. Take a slightly shortened stance than Warrior II.

  2. The toes of your front foot will point towards the front of the room. Your back foot will be at a 45 degree angle.

  3. Bend your front leg towards a 90 degree angle while keeping the back leg straightened.

  4. Your torso should remain tall and face the front of your mat.

  5. Extend your arms out and up towards the ceiling maintaining a shoulder’s distance between your hands.

  • Try to keep your hips level. You can bend your back knee briefly to check, adjust, and then straighten once even.
  • Widening your stance will give you more balance in this pose.
  • Substitute with kneeling lunges by lowering your back knee to the mat and pointing the toes back.

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This foundational pose is excellent preparation for the more advanced half moon pose. Don’t be afraid to use blocks to create space in the body as opposed to collapsing inward. It’s more important that you feel elongated than it is to make contact with the ground.

Triangle pose has the following benefits:

  • stretches the backs of the legs
  • elongates the spine
  • strengthens the side body
  1. Take a wide stance on your yoga mat. As in the warrior poses, your front foot should be pointed forward and your back foot should be at a 45 degree angle.

  2. Reach your arms out to either side.

  3. Bump your back hip towards the back leg.

  4. Keeping your arms outstretched, reach your torso toward the front of the mat and tilt down so your torso comes parallel to the mat.

  5. Let the front arm come down to rest on the ground, your ankle, shin, or a block.

  6. Think about keeping your outstretched arms, torso, and legs all in one plane, as if stuck between two walls.

  7. Let your gaze turn to face either of your outstretched hands.

  • Resting the lowered hand on a block on its highest setting will create more space in the side body.

  • Think of the crown of your head as an extension of the spine.

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You will encounter this brief pose through many vinyasa flows. (It’s also referred to as a Standing Half Forward Bend.) Because it’s a transitional pose, beginners may not have time to fully take in the alignment cues to refine their practice. Prevent repeated mis-alignment in this foundational posture by following the tips below.

This transitional pose has the following benefits:

  • acts as a counter-stretch to forward folds
  • strengthens the back
  • stretches the back of the legs
  1. With feet together or hip distance apart, start from a standing forward fold. Let your head and neck hang loose and heavy.

  2. Bring your hands to either your shins or the front of the thighs.

  3. Lift and straighten your back to come parallel to the floor.

  4. Roll your shoulders away from your ears.

  5. Keep your gaze on the floor or lift your gaze slightly towards the front of the room.

  • The placement of the hands will depend on your flexibility. The goal of this pose is to straighten the back parallel to the floor so focus on that and let your hands rest wherever they reach comfortably. (Just avoid resting the hands on the kneecaps, instead opting for above or below.)

  • Lift through the back and chestnot the neck.

  • Your knees can keep a slight bend here to alleviate pressure in the lower back.

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This seated pose looks simple but with proper alignment you should feel a stretch. The introverted posture can also provide a calming moment of reflection.

A seated forward fold:

  • stretches the entire back body
  • encourages soothing focus on the breath
  • stimulates internal organs
  1. Sit on your mat with your legs reaching straight out in front of you.

  2. Place your hands on either side of your hips to ground yourself evenly on the sit bones.

  3. Inhale, reach the arms up, and sit up tall so your body is at a 90 degree angle.

  4. Exhale and fold over the legs, keeping your back straight and creasing at the hip. Keep a tall spine as you fold over the legs.

  5. Let your arms spill over your legs to grasp either the outside edges of the feet, ankles, or shins.

  6. Let your head and neck release.

  • Some instructors teach this pose with straight legs, while others prefer generously bent knees. Try both to see which you prefer.

  • Sit up on a folded blanket to support the hips.

  • Try placing a block between the shins to give your head and neck an elevated place to rest and release more easily.

  • For easier reach, place a yoga strap around the bottoms of your feet and grasp on to it.

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This pose is both playful and restorative. If it makes you giggle, all the better. Consider it a chance to connect with your inner child.

Happy baby pose has the following benefits:

  • relieves the lower back
  • stretches the hips
  • supports digestion
  1. Lie down with your back on your yoga mat.

  2. Bring your legs up towards the ceiling and bend them generously.

  3. Reach your hands to grab onto the outside edges of the feet or the ankles.

  4. Press your lower back into the mat for a neutral spine.

  5. Pull your legs towards your body with your arms, while gently pressing away through the legs.

  • If your back feels rounded, shorten the reach of your arms to your ankles or shins. The integrity of the spine is more important than touching your feet.

  • Rock gently from side to side while holding this pose to massage the back and kidneys.

  • Try extending one leg out at a time while maintaining contact with your hand to stretch the backs of the legs.

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Although it may look like nothing, this pose plays an important role in aligning our bodies and minds. This restorative pose closes most yoga classes and gives you a chance to recover your breath, reflect, and feel the benefits of your practice. Leave ample time to enjoy it at the end of any yoga practice.

(P.S. If this pose becomes a favorite, be sure to check out yoga nidra classes.)

Corpse pose has the following benefits:

  • relaxes your muscles
  • activates the parasympathetic nervous system
  • encourages sleep

  1. Come to lie down on your back.

  2. Give your arms and legs ample space to splay out.

  3. Let your palms face up.

  4. Take inventory from your head down to your toes and relax your muscles with every breath. Don’t forget your jaw!

  • Cover yourself with a blanket or put on any extra layers before relaxing into this pose. Your body temperature cools down during corpse pose so it’s nice to stay warm and relaxed.

  • Add a yoga bolster behind the knees to let the lower back rest more comfortably into the mat.

  • Try pressing the back of your head into the yoga mat briefly to lift your chest and relax your shoulders down away from your ears as you release back onto the mat to create more space across the chest and collarbones.

As you begin to learn yoga poses and their shapes, it’s important to remember that yoga poses are meant to create space in the body. If you find yourself crunching or forcing your body into any of these yoga poses for beginners, refer to the modifications to create more space and ease. Also, don’t be afraid to use props!


10 Yoga Poses For Beginners? ›

Hatha yoga is always recommended for beginner yogis as it's considered a gentler form of yoga. It is, traditionally, a slower-moving class where you hold each pose for a few breaths while maintaining a focus on improving posture.

What is the most popular yoga for beginners? ›

Hatha yoga is always recommended for beginner yogis as it's considered a gentler form of yoga. It is, traditionally, a slower-moving class where you hold each pose for a few breaths while maintaining a focus on improving posture.

What are the 4 original yoga poses? ›

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (15th century) specifies that of these 84, the first four are important, namely the seated poses Siddhasana, Padmasana, Bhadrasana and Simhasana.

What is the most gentle yoga? ›

1. Hatha Yoga. It's all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga.

What is the simplest yoga? ›

Tadasana is the simplest yoga pose where you have to stand straight. Tada means “mountain”; thus, it is also known as the mountain pose. There is no risk associated with practicing it, however, pregnant ladies should avoid this posture since they might lose balance.

What is the queen of all yoga poses? ›

The name of the pose that is called the queen of yoga is sarvangasana poses. With this type of poses, many people have taken their fitness to the best level. With the name, it tells that sarvangasana yoga influences the functioning of all the body parts.

What is the king of all yoga poses? ›

Headstand is also known as the 'king of asanas' because this yoga pose is considered to be a master in curing many diseases. Headstand is one of the most effective asanas for body and mind.

What is the hardest yoga pose? ›

Savasana is believed to be the hardest yoga asana. Some would question why such a simple, motionless asana would qualify as being difficult, compared to more advanced asanas such as the headstand (Sirsasana), the king of asanas.

How many minutes of yoga is enough in a day? ›

Another study of over 700 people found that practising just 12 minutes of yoga poses either daily or every other day improved their bone health. And another small scale study found that 20 mins of yoga improved focus and working memory.

What will happen to my body if I do yoga everyday? ›

Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga.

How many minutes of yoga a day is good? ›

If yoga is your only workout, aim for at least 20-30 minutes of yoga, 6 days per week. If necessary, you can start with 3 days per week for your first month. As your fitness level increases, you can increase that to 40-70 minutes per day.

What is the best time to do yoga? ›

In general, yoga practice is recommended in the morning or the early evening. A morning yoga session can be quite active and consist of a full practice. Always finish with Savasana (Corpse Pose), no matter what time of day or season your practice. You may choose to do a different type of practice in the afternoon.

How many days a week should a beginner do yoga? ›

Newbies to yoga workouts should plan to log two or three yoga sessions per week to start. This will ensure that your body gets used to the stretches and poses that you'll be working on as you move forward in your journey.

What type of yoga is best for seniors? ›

Find the type of yoga that works best for you: Hatha yoga, restorative yoga, and yoga with chair exercises are usually more suitable for older adults because they're slower paced. They involve holding poses for longer periods of time.

How often should seniors do yoga? ›

Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy the best yoga has to offer.

Is yoga alone enough exercise? ›

Yoga can be considered "enough" of a workout, "but with the exception of sculpt-style classes, yoga typically does not address pulling strength of the muscles, developing fast-twitching muscles or adding progressive overload when it comes to strength training," Teragawa explains.

What are the three basics of yoga? ›

There are three basic elements in yoga: Asanas, Pranayama and Concentration.

Can you lose weight doing yoga? ›

There is good research that yoga may help you manage stress, improve your mood, curb emotional eating, and create a community of support, all of which can help with weight loss and maintenance. Yoga can also help you burn calories, as well as increase your muscle mass and tone.

What is the most famous yoga move? ›

Downward facing dog is probably the most popular yoga move in many yoga classes around the country. The pose helps strengthen the shoulder and upper back muscles as well as stretch the calves and hamstrings. If this pose places too much pressure on the wrists or shoulders, you can modify by going down to your elbows.

How do I choose yoga poses? ›

Focus on a Single Pose

Each week, pick one pose you'd like to explore more deeply and commit to practicing it at least once a day. Consider choosing an asana your teacher has recently focused on in class, or flip through the pages of an introductory yoga book until you find a pose that speaks to your imagination.

What is the hardest yoga pose to master? ›

One of the most difficult of all the yogasanas is Shavasana. It requires many approaches at one time. It appears the corpse pose looks very easy to practice, But don't get deceived by the posture as its the most difficult yogasana posture to master. After each of the yogasanas Shavasana should be practiced.

Which pose do most yoga classes end with? ›

Savasana (shah-VAH-sah-nah or shih-VAH-snah) is the final resting pose at the end of almost every yoga practice – including the Modo Yoga series. Savasana is likely the first Sanskrit word learned by yoga students, and it often quickly becomes their favourite.

What is the upside down yoga pose called? ›

An inversion is a yoga pose that turns the body upside down, where the head is below the heart. This can be done in many different poses, such as handstands, shoulder stands, and even headstands.

What is the most popular yoga class? ›

The 6 Most Popular Yoga Workouts
  • Hatha Yoga. Recommended for: Beginners, because of its slower pace. ...
  • Vinyasa Yoga. Recommended for: Intense exercisers because of its quick pace. ...
  • Iyengar Yoga. Recommended for: Detail-oriented yogis. ...
  • Ashtanga Yoga. Recommended for: Type-A folks. ...
  • Bikram Yoga (Heated Yoga) ...
  • Restorative Yoga.

What is the most popular type of yoga? ›

The 6 Most Popular Yoga Workouts
  • Hatha Yoga. Recommended for: Beginners, because of its slower pace. ...
  • Vinyasa Yoga. Recommended for: Intense exercisers because of its quick pace. ...
  • Iyengar Yoga. Recommended for: Detail-oriented yogis. ...
  • Ashtanga Yoga. Recommended for: Type-A folks. ...
  • Bikram Yoga (Heated Yoga) ...
  • Restorative Yoga.

What is the most popular yoga practice? ›

The most popular style of yoga in the West is “Hatha Yoga”, which uses postures, breathing and meditation techniques to create balance and harmony in your life. The postures are designed to tone, strengthen and align the body and although they are consistent in each style, the approach to each posture can vary.

How do I choose the right yoga style? ›

How to Choose a Yoga Style to Fit Your Intention
  1. To Become Svelte: Try Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga. ...
  2. To Gain Stability and Increase Mobility: Try Iyengar Yoga. ...
  3. To Sweat: Try Bikram Yoga. ...
  4. To Become More Centered: Try Integral Yoga. ...
  5. To Ignite Your Passion and Creativity: Try Kundalini Yoga.
Jul 6, 2016

What type of yoga is widely used? ›

(Vinyasa, Bikram, and power yoga are popular styles.)

What is the hardest yoga to learn? ›

What is the Hardest Type of Yoga? Although this is unique to everyone's personal struggles, the most commonly classified as “difficult” are Ashtanga, Bikram, Power Vinyasa, Rocket, and Yin Yoga.

What is most popular yoga in the United States? ›

The most common type of yoga in the U.S. is hot yoga, based on data from 2022. The next most common types of yoga are Power Yoga and Bikram Yoga (both heated as well), Yin Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga, respectively.

How do I know if I'm doing yoga correctly? ›

However, there are 3 surefire ways to know if you are executing your poses correctly.
  • You will still be able to breathe slowly and deeply while you are executing the pose.
  • Your mind will want to focus on your body.
  • Your body will feel “aligned”.
Jan 4, 2013

Do you start yoga with left or right? ›

From a cultural perspective, it is not just Yoga practice but most of the action in India is started from the right as it is considered auspicious. We enter the temple or any auspicious place by placing the right leg first.

What ages is yoga most popular? ›

What age do most people do yoga? People aged between 30 and 49 years old practice yoga more than any other age group. However yoga statistics show it's growing in popularity with those over 50: 19% of yoga practitioners are 18 – 29 year olds.

What is standard yoga called? ›

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is Hatha yoga.


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