Beginning a yoga practice is one of the best things you can do to start taking better care of yourself as the benefits of yoga are endless. But where to start? There are many types & styles of yoga to choose from and hundreds of poses. Here we will run down the ten best yoga poses for beginners complete with video tutorials to get you on the mat with a boost of confidence.
1. Mountain Pose aka Tadasana
Looking for standing yoga poses for beginners? Then we must start here. Mountain Pose is a sneaky pose. It doesn’t look like much; anyone can do it. But look deeper. Also known as Tadasana, this pose presents the opportunity to return to home base, remember your intentions, and tap into a meditative state. It is the starting point for other standing poses. A strong, solid, and balanced Mountain pose provides a proper foundation and sets you up for success in other standing poses. It’s great for posture, and strengthens legs & abdominal muscles.
2. Plank Pose aka Kumbhakasana
It’s likely that within the first few minutes of your first flow class you will be doing plank pose, so let’s get comfortable with this one. And since this pose is repeated in the Sun Salutation A sequence, it is one that you will return to over and over again. This arm balancing pose builds endurance, tones the entire core, and strengthens arms & spine.
3. Low Plank aka Chaturanga Dandasana
This challenging strength pose is worth getting comfortable with early on in your practice as it is a transition pose used between two common poses – plank and upward facing dog. This full-body pose requires strength and focus. Low Plank will strengthen your shoulders and chest muscles.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana aka Downward-Facing Dog
If you are looking for some of the best yoga stretches for beginners, Downward Facing Dog is at the top of our list! This OG pose stretches the entire length of the body, from fingertips to toes. Do this first thing in the morning to wake up the mind and body. Do this mid-afternoon for a flush of activating blood to the brain. There may not be another pose that is used so often in Hatha & Vinyasa yoga. Try this one and you’ll see why.
5. Chair Pose aka Utkatasana
Chair pose looks easy, but it demands work in the legs, core, and shoulders. This pose is repeated in Sun Salutation B, common in many yoga styles for beginners, so it‘s a good one to learn early on. Practice often and strengthen your knees and ankles, stretch the muscles between the ribs, lengthen your spine, and increase your breathing capacity. This pose requires great focus!
6. Crescent Lunge aka Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Aptly named as this pose represents the shape of the crescent moon. This balancing pose demands that you find your center of gravity in the hips and torso as you lift the upper body skyward. Crescent lunge is the pose for a deep stretch in the hip flexors, quads, and groin muscles as well as a slight backbend.
7. Warrior I aka Virabhadrasana I
One of the most common poses in Vinyasa yoga, Warrior I will challenge your flexibility, strength, and focus. The alignment for this pose is somewhat complex, but with a few helpful cues, you’ll master this pose in no time. This foundational pose stretches the ankles & calves, strengthens the quads & back, lengthens the psoas, and stretches the torso & arms. We rate this as one of the best yoga poses for beginners to get comfortable with early on.
8. Warrior II aka Virabhadrasana II
What’s all this talk about hip-opening poses? Enter Warrior II. This deep hip-opening pose strengthens the muscles in the thighs and glutes. It strengthens the abs, ankles, and feet. This pose also opens the chest and shoulders and increases circulation. Try practicing this as a remedy for flat feet, back pain, and sciatica. This power pose also increases stamina and wakes up the entire body.
9. Triangle aka Trikonasana
Triangle is a beautiful, foundational pose that strengthens and stretches the entire body. It offers a blend of stability and heart-opening expansion of the chest. The hamstrings will feel a stretch and the core muscles will be strengthened, particularly the obliques. Triangle stimulates the digestive system and offers relief to an array of issues like indigestion and gas.
10. Tree aka Vrksasana
We end this list of Best Yoga Poses for Beginners with one of our all-time favorites. Tree is a standing pose, and a balancing pose, but most importantly it is an empowering pose. At first, it will challenge your balance and as you master standing on one leg now you can explore raising your arms above your head like beautiful limbs of a strong tree. This pose will strengthen your feet, ankles, and legs, it will tone your core, and will open and expand your chest and lungs. Tree pose is great for improving posture and confidence.