5 Beginner Yoga Poses
Thinking of starting yoga but the thought of messing up in front of 20 strangers keeps you away? First of all, we promise yogis are a cool bunch, and there’s nothing to feel self-conscious about. But we totally get it. Trying anything for the first time with others (who may or may not be experts!) can feel a bit awkward, and that’s why we’re here for you with five basic yoga poses that are perfect for beginners.
If you’re choosing to stick with home yoga for now, these five poses should cover a good, easy, well-rounded beginner’s routine. And if you’re planning to join a class eventually, at least some of these five poses should be in there, helping you to feel a boost of confidence when it comes up in class!
Tips for yoga beginners
Let’s start with a few tips that will have you looking like an expert even at your first class (sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it!). With yoga movements, you need to be very purposeful. Think of each and every movement, even movements that are prep for the actual pose, as being meaningful on its own. You want to fully settle into each position before heading into another one rather than swinging or flopping from one pose to the next (unless the class or pose calls for it).
At all times, imagine you have super control over your muscles and body. No dropping or flopping your arms loosely at your sides, for example. Instead, your arms should be fully engaged at all times.
A lot of yoga, especially foundational poses, is all about relaxation and breathing correctly, and moving meditation. So try your best to surrender to the moment and let your thoughts settle on something peaceful rather than bouncing from topic to topic in your head (like they do at 2 a.m. when you’re trying to sleep).
This position itself is relatively simple, so you can focus more on breathing correctly and calming your thoughts rather than on whether you’re getting the pose right. It’s great for destressing. Sit down with your legs tucked under you. Lean your whole body forward so that you’re bending at the waist and relax your arms as you fully outstretch them in front of you. Your forehead should be touching the floor. Sometimes our bodies do need a bit of time to fully get into this position, so you can use a block or rolled-up towel under your forehead if it can’t reach the floor in this pose.
Downward facing dog
For this pose, you’re going to start in a standing position, feet close together but not touching, arms at your sides. Take a nice, big, deep breath in as you raise your arms above your head. Next, as you exhale, begin to fold your body at the waist until your hands reach the floor. Focus on keeping your back and legs straight, like you’re forming an upside-down V with your body. Support yourself with your palms on the floor in front of you. More of your weight should be on your legs.
This one will have you feeling like a warrior prince or princess. For this pose, bring one foot forward and keep the other foot in place. Your hips should remain facing forward. Lift one arm so that it’s pointing right in front of you, with your other arm straight behind you. Then, slowly bend the leg that’s facing forward at the knee so that it forms a 90-degree angle (like the corner of a square). Stand in this pose firm and tall and feel the power flow through you!
This one is a great stretch for your back, perfect after a day of sitting hunched over a computer or your phone. For this pose, you’ll get down on all fours. Slowly arch your back upward, like a cat stretching! Then, do the opposite. Let your spine relax and come down like you’re trying to let it fall to the floor. Hold each part for a few seconds (or longer if it feels really good). Cycle through these as many times as you’d like. Remember these movements are all slow and purposeful. Take your time!
Okay, okay, the name might throw you off a bit, but this pose is the ultimate relaxation pose and a great way to end your flow. Lay down flat on the floor with your arms at your sides and your legs straight out. That’s it! Relax in this position as long as you need.
We hope these beginner poses help you develop a love for yoga. And seriously, sign up for that class! You’ll learn a lot, and doing these poses with a teacher can help you perfect them. Don’t forget your Stratosphere41 towel to set the vibes (get yours HERE!).