Updated: Mar 28
Are you new to yoga and wondering what the best yoga poses for beginners are? In this blog I’ll share my top 10 yoga poses for beginners.
I have to admit it was hard for me to pick just 10 yoga postures 😊 But this selection of simple yoga poses also cover a wide range of postures that together will form a balanced practice for your entire body.
I suggest you don’t just read this blog but also try out my YouTube video tutorials in the order provided below to get the most out of these different yoga poses for beginners.
1. Child Pose | Balasana
Why Should You Practice Child Pose
Child Pose—known as Balasana in Sanskrit—is a great posture to begin your yoga practice with since your body doesn’t need to be warmed up. It will help release tension from your shoulders and lower back due to the gentle rounding of your spine.
Child Pose also works on opening the shoulders and hips. This is done by stretching the arms out in front and sinking the weight of the hips down.
How to Do Child Pose
Begin on your hands and knees. Bring your knees mat width apart and big toes together. From here start to sink your hips down towards your heels. At the same time you can reach your arms out in front. Letting your spine and arms lengthen and head be heavy dropping to the ground.
Once you’re in Child Pose stay for around five to ten slow breaths. Seeing if you can keep lengthening your spine on your inhale and relaxing your face and hips on your exhale.
2. Mountain Pose | Tadasana
Why Should You Practice Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose—also known as Tadasana—is an essential standing yoga pose for all beginners to start with. The shape of this posture will guide you in your alignment of many other yoga poses and give you the chance to establish a steady and slow breath.
Bringing awareness to your posture in Mountain Pose can also help improve your posture when standing or sitting outside of your yoga practice.
How to Do Mountain Pose
If you take a quick look at this pose you might ask what’s the difference between the Mountain Pose and standing upright?
The biggest difference is the awareness we bring to our posture and breath. It’s a helpful to start bringing attention to your toes and feet and then gradually scanning up your entire body.
See if you can activate and engage your legs while lengthening upwards. Allow your shoulder and head to stack above your hips. Let your spine grow tall, engage your belly, drop the weight of your shoulders down and relax the muscles in your face.
You can stay here as long as you like. All the time trying to keep some focus on breathing deeply in and out your nose.
3. Chair Pose | Utkatasana
Why Should You Practice Chair Pose
Chair Pose—also known as Utkatasana—is a great yoga pose to do towards the beginning of your practice. It strengthens and engages your thighs and creates heat. Allowing your body to warm up and prepare for other yoga poses that focus more on flexibility.
Chair Pose works on lengthening and strengthening your ankles and hip flexors. As well as actively stretching around your shoulders and arms.
How to Do Chair Pose
You can do Chair Pose with your feet together or slightly apart. Draw the weight back towards your heels as you start to bend your knees and sink your hips down and back.
Allow your belly to firm, spine to lengthen and arms to lift up overhead. Try and draw your inner thighs towards each other as you stay here for five slow breaths in and out.
4. Standing Forward Bend Pose | Uttanasana
Why Should You Practice Standing Forward Bend Pose
Standing Forward Bend Pose—also known as Uttanasana—that can help stretch out your hamstrings and back of your legs. Releasing tension that has built up from sitting, walking, running and cycling.
It’s also a relaxing yoga pose for beginners that can help ease tightness from your back and neck. As well as bring your attention more inwards towards your body and breath.
How to Do Standing Forward Bend Pose
Stand with your feet about hip distance apart and slowly fold forward with your upper body. Bend your knees as much as you need to so that the stretch on your hamstrings doesn’t feel too intense.
You could experiment with bending your knees a little deeper so that your belly rests on your thighs. Allowing your lower back to relax. With every exhale let your head and neck drop down. Leaning a little towards your toes if that feels comfortable.
Stay here somewhere between five and ten breaths. Seeing if you can relax your body on every exhale.
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose | Adho Mukha Svanasana
Why Should You Practice Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward Facing Dog Pose—also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana—is a useful yoga posture for beginners to learn. It’s one of the most common yoga poses found in every sun salutation. Since Downward Facing Dog Pose works the entire body it can feel a bit tricky to begin with to know if you’re alignment is correct.
This yoga pose works on strengthening your wrists, arms, and core. While also stretching your ankles, legs, and shoulders. It also gives you the possibility to work on deep and flowing breath while lengthening your spine.
How to Do Downward Facing Dog Pose
Start by coming to your hands and knees. Spread your fingers wide and ground your palms into your mat. At the same time tuck your toes and draw the weight back towards your legs as you lift your hips up.
Work on lengthening your spine and arms while you draw your hips up and back. If your hamstrings feel tight or you find your weight is more in the arms try bending your knees and lifting your hips up.
If this pose feels difficult to begin with you might try building up towards five breaths. As you get more comfortable you can start staying here for longer.
6. Triangle Pose | Utthita Trikonasana
Why Should You Practice Triangle Pose
Triangle Pose—also known as Utthita Trikonasana—works on flexibility and strength. It really allows the sides of your torso and obliques to engage and lengthen. As well as working on shoulder mobility and stretching your legs.
I also like the way Triangle Pose helps bring awareness to where your hips and shoulders are in space. As well as challenging you to still maintain a steady breath.
How to Do Triangle Pose
Start in Mountain Pose and then take a big step back with your left foot. Pay attention to the positioning of your feet—keeping your right foot facing forward and left foot spinning out to the left side. Feet can be aligned heel to heel or slightly wider if that feels better for your body.
Your belly and torso wants to face the long side of your mat rather than towards your front foot. Arms can reach wide to the side. From here lengthen your torso on your inhale, and then exhale as you drop your right hand down towards your right leg and left arm upwards.
Keep lengthening your spine as you breathe in and grounding through your feet as you breathe out. Staying here for around five breaths. And then repeat the other side.
7. Plank Pose | Phalakasana
Why Should You Practice Plank Pose
Plank Pose—also known as Phalakasana—is a challenging yoga pose for beginners focused on core strength. Since many yoga postures work on flexibility, this posture is particularly important to help cultivate strength and stability.
The Plank Pose is a foundational yoga pose to prepare for the Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga) found in sun salutations as well as any arm balances. This posture doesn’t just build strength in your arms but also in your wrists, shoulders, core and legs. As well as helping you find alignment in the spine that can be useful for many other yoga poses.
How to Do Plank Pose
Begin on your hands and knees. You want to spread your fingers wide and ground through your palms, with special attention towards grounding your index fingers and thumbs. This will help protect your wrists.
Step both feet back, tucking your toes under and drawing your heels actively back. Keep your belly firm and breathing steady. Try pressing your hands down as you lift up from your shoulders.
Build up towards staying in the pose for five to ten breaths.
8. Cobra Pose | Bhujangasana
Why Should You Practice Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose—also known as Bhujangasana—is a great yoga pose to start working on building strength for your back and mobility in your spine. It’s a foundational backbend that can be found in sun salutations and useful to start before progressing to deeper backbends.
The majority of us spend most of the day sitting with a slight rounding in our spine, shoulders and neck. The Cobra Pose helps us counter this posture with an opposite movement of arching our spine, lifting our chest up and drawing our shoulders down.
How to Do Cobra Pose
Start by lying on your belly with your hands under your shoulders. Draw your elbows in towards your body, press your hands into the ground and activate your belly.
On your next inhale reach your chest forward and up. While keeping your legs active and feet pressing into the ground. You can either move in and out of the pose a few times or pause in the posture for around five breaths.
Think more about lengthening your head forward than lifting up to help maintain the length through your spine.
9. Butterfly Pose | Baddha Konasana
Why Should You Practice Butterfly Pose
Butterfly Pose—also known as Baddha Konasana—is a useful seated yoga pose for beginners to work on opening your hips. It will help stretch your inner thighs and open your hips. And loosen tension from your back, shoulders and neck.
Butterfly is a versatile yoga pose that you can do towards the end or beginner of your yoga practice. It’s also possible to do this pose while sitting on the sofa watching TV to help create more mobility in your hips. Something helpful to integrate into our daily life given the fact that our daily activities of sitting, walking and running tend to build up tightness in the hips.
How to Do Butterfly Pose
Start by sitting with your legs out in front of you. From here bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to drop out to the side.
You can adjust the position of your feet depending on how your hips feel in the pose. Feet can move further away from your hips if it feels too intense, or closer to your hips if you want to feel a deeper stretch.
Stay in the pose anywhere from five to twenty breaths. As you stay a little longer you could start to fold a little forward with your upper body while still keeping the back of your hips on the ground.
10. Corpse Pose | Savasana
Why Should Your Practice Corpse Pose
Corpse Pose—also known as Savasana—is physically a simple yoga pose that everyone should do at the end of their yoga practice. From the outside it might look like you’re just lying down but on a more subtle level it requires focus and attention to allow your body to relax completely.
Most of us tend to be very busy throughout our day and move from one task / activity to the next. Leaving very little time to be still and aware without doing something. Even when we are lying in bed or watching TV our mind tends to be distracted from our body sensations and breath.
Corpse Pose gives us the opportunity to be aware of the present moment while letting our body rest. It’s very useful to do at the end of our yoga practice to allow the body to feel the effects of our practice. While also working on a more subtle level with our thoughts and feelings by bringing awareness to our body and breath.
How to Do Corpse Pose
Lie down on your back with your feet falling out to the sides and palms facing up. You want to find a position where your body feels comfortable.
If you have discomfort in your neck you could try placing a blanket or towel under your head. Or if you have lower back pain try putting cushions under your knees. You could also place a blanket over your body because your body temperature will drop as you lie in stillness.
Softly close your eye and let the weight of your body sink down into the ground. Bring awareness towards your body and breathing.
It’s worth mentioning that no matter how long you practice Corpse Pose you will keep experiencing thoughts and feelings arising that distract your mind from watching your breath. You can allow your thoughts to be there. But each time you notice that your mind has moved elsewhere try and intentionally bring your focus back to your body and breath.
You can stay here anywhere from two to ten minutes.
Using These Top 10 Beginners Yoga Poses in Your Practice
These ten yoga poses can be a great place to start for a home yoga practice. You could do all of these yoga postures together in around 10 – 15 minutes.
Another approach could be to focus on one of these yoga poses over a period of a week to get familiar with the alignment and approach of the pose. Each week focusing on a different yoga pose.
Good luck and happy practicing!
Receive Personal Guidance from Irene
Would you like personal guidance to help dive deeper into your yoga practice?
Start a Home Yoga Practice
Do you want to develop a home yoga practice but not sure where to start? Follow the three steps in this free guide to start practicing yoga consistently at home.
Complete your details below to receive your free guide with tips for a home yoga practice. In this guide you'll also receive cheat sheets and links to guided videos for seven short sequences, as well as a practice calendar to get started.