Beginners Yoga Poses: What You Need to Know

Thinking about starting yoga? Attended a class but forgot the name of the yoga poses or/and the set-up. Not to worry, we got you covered. See below to find beginner yoga poses you can try at home. ​

Cat Pose

1. Exhale and lift between shoulder blades, pull abs back toward spine.
2. Push middle of back up toward sky, tucking tailbone down and under.
3. Press firmly with hands.
4. Release head and neck

*Try combining Cat and Cow together.

Cow Pose

1. Keep arms and thighs straight.
2. Inhale and let back move toward the floor.
3. Reach sit bones up.
4 Lift and broaden chest away from the waist.
5. Slide shoulder blades down back.
6. Tilt pelvis forward to arch the spine.
7. Curve spine; avoid over-bending in the low back.
8. Keep pushing into hands, avoiding sagging into shoulders.

Low Lunge

  1. Start in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 
  2. Breathe in and step your right foot in between your hands.
  3. Lower down onto your left knee and untuck the top of the left foot on your mat.
  4. Check if the right knee is stacked directly over the right ankle, and isn’t moving forward toward.
  5. Take your hands to the ground on either side of your hips and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Your welcome to stay here and take some more breaths. 
  6. Take a breath in and lift both arms alongside your ears and Take 5- 11 breaths or longer.
  7. When your ready, tuck your back toes under, place your hands onto the mat, and make your way back into Downward-Facing Dog. 

Easy Cobra

1. Begin in prone position, resting forehead or chin on floor.
2. Straighten legs, toes pointed.
3. Fingertips in line with top of shoulders or middle of chest.
4. Draw shoulder blades down back.
5. In Cobra, hug elbows to side ribs.
6. Activate back muscles by lengthening out through top of head and toes.
7. Inhale, Press palms, pubic bone, thighs, tops of feet to floor.
8. Lift and press chest forward through shoulders. The movement is forward and up.
9. Keep chin level.

*Option: keep hands off floor or light with tented fingers.
Or place hands on floor and pull as though sliding floor backward.

Child Pose

1. Lower to onto your heels.
2. Either part your knees (mat width) or together with toes together.
3. Rest forehead onto mat or rest your forearms and allow your hand to hang softly. 


Bridge Pose

1. Lie on back. Bend knees and bring heels close to sit bones.
2. Separate feet hip-width. Keep knees over ankles and feet parallel.
3. Lengthen neck. Keep head centred evenly, forehead and chin in line with centre of the chest.
4. Flatten shoulder blades on floor.
5. Keep hands flat or clasp ankles (or strap around ankles).
6. When inhaling press evenly into feet and lift hips.
7. Draw shoulder blades together and open chest.
8. Keep chin tucked into throat and head on floor.
9. Relax back of neck.
10. Keep hands flat. Or to clasp, gently roll first one shoulder under, then the other.
11. Exhale and lower to floor

*Hold Time – 5-6 breaths, a minute, or as long as desired

Downwards Facing Dog

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists right under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Point your middle fingers straight to the top edge of your mat.
  2. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your hands. Share your weight equally across your hands.
  3. Breathe out and tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis towards the ceiling and sitting bones behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, avoid locking the knees, to begin. Imagine bringing your body into the shape of an “A.” or and upsidedown “V.” try to don’t walk your feet closer to your hands.
  4. Continue pressing from the floor and lift through your pelvis, lengthen your spine and lift your sit bones toward the ceiling. 
  5. Bring shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone and rotate your arms externally allowing your elbows creases face your thumbs.
  6. Move your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you.
  7. Contract your quadriceps and rotate your thighs inward as you continue to lift your sit bones high.
  8. Hold for 5-50 breaths.
  9. When ready, breathe out and gently lower your knees and come to your hands and knees on your mat.

Rag Doll

1. Start in Mountain Pose.
2. Breathe in, reach your arms up to the sky.
3. Breathe out, bend your knees and reach your hands toward the floor.
4. Breathe in, catch opposite elbows.
5. Breathe out and allow your back to be long and your head to be relaxed.
6. Breathe.
7. When you are ready, bring your hands to your hips. Breathe in, tuck your chin to your chest to roll up to Mountain Pose.

Tree Pose

  1. Begin standing in Mountain Pose, with your arms at your sides. Standing tall with a straight back.
  2. Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then place your foot above the ankle or knee. Ensure that the foot is not on the knee joint.
  3. Then, press your palms together in a prayer position in the centre of your chest.
  4. Fix your gaze gently on something in front of you that is not moving, to help with balance.
  5. Hold for up to one minute. Then release and repeat on the opposite side. 

Seated Side Bend

  1. Begin seated with your legs crossed.
  2. The spine is lengthened, and your back is straight
  3. Place your right fingers or hand to the right side of your mat. 
  4. Breathe in and lift your left hand upwards, when you breathe out lend over to the right side—creating a gentle stretch down the side of the body.
  5. Breathe in and return upwards and then repeat on the opposite side. 

Chair Pose

  1. Start standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together or feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Breath in and raise your arms upwards.
  3. Breath out and bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor. 
  4. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs as you reach your elbows back towards your ears and ring your hips down even lower and lift through your heart.
  5. Keep your breath smooth, even, and deep. 
  6. Gaze directly forward. For a deeper pose, hold for up to one minute. Then, inhale as you straighten your legs, lifting through your arms. Exhale and release back to Mountain Pose. 

Reclining Bound Angel 

  1. Begin in a seated position crossing your legs. Extend your legs in front of you and bend your knees and bring the foot together. Press the soles of the feet together.
  2. Very slowly, begin to lean backwards and bring your elbows onto the floor and then your back to the floor. 
  3. Gently move side to side, adjusting your position and lengthening your spine along the floor. 
  4. Gently relax your arms beside the body palms facing upwards. 
  5. Close your eyes and relax. Stay here for up to 10 minutes.
  6. Let your breath be natural.
  7. To come out of the pose, draw your knees together. Then, roll to your right side and use your hands to press yourself up to a comfortable seated position.

© All rights reserved | NamasJay 2015 – 2019​

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