7 basic yoga poses to get you started

Yoga can be intimidating for beginners.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different poses, often in a language you don’t understand.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

Starting yoga doesn’t have to be complicated or scary.

The key is to begin with a few basic poses.

These are the foundation of all yoga practice and will help you feel confident as you start your journey.

So here are seven basic yoga poses to get started with.

1) Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Before you start rolling your eyes at the simplicity of this pose, hear me out.

The Mountain Pose, or Tadasana as it’s known in Sanskrit, is the base for all standing yoga poses.

It’s also a great pose to return to between more difficult poses.

It may look like you’re just standing there, but this pose is actually a powerful one.

It teaches you the art of grounding yourself and finding your center.

Tadasana can help improve posture, balance, and calm focus.

It may seem simple, but trust me, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

So how do you do it?

Stand tall with feet together, shoulders down, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.

Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight.

Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

2) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Next up on our list is the famous Downward Facing Dog.

It’s one of my personal favorites and I often use it as a part of my morning routine to wake up my body.

This pose stretches the entire body, strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back, and improves overall flexibility.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to get some blood flowing to your brain!

When I first started yoga, I found this pose pretty challenging.

My arms and legs were shaky, and my heels were nowhere near the ground.

But with regular practice, I was able to build strength and flexibility.

Now it’s a pose that brings me comfort and energizes me for the day ahead.

To do this pose, start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips.

Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.

Tuck toes, lift knees off the floor and raise hips toward the ceiling.

It might take some time to get comfortable with this pose, but once you do, it’s truly revitalizing.

So don’t get discouraged if you’re not perfect at first, remember – practice makes perfect!

3) Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose, or Balasana in Sanskrit, is one of the most restorative poses in yoga.

It is often used as a resting position in between more difficult poses during a yoga practice.

This pose is not just about relaxation though.

It also stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue.

Additionally, it gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly stretching the muscles of the back torso.

Here’s something you might not know: the name Balasana comes from the Sanskrit words ‘bala’ meaning ‘child’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘pose’.

This is because when performed, the shape of the body resembles that of a fetus.

To get into Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor.

Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.

Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.

Incorporate this pose in your daily routine to help calm your brain and relieve stress and fatigue.

4) Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I is a standing yoga pose that helps increase focus, balance and stability.

It’s one of the foundational poses in many different styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power Yoga.

This pose strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest and stretches the arms and legs.

It also develops concentration, balance and groundedness.

To do this pose, start by standing in Mountain Pose.

Step your right foot forward about 4 to 5 feet.

Turn your left foot out about 45 degrees.

Bend your right knee until it’s directly over your right ankle.

Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other.

And there you have it – Warrior I.

5) Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree Pose, known as Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is an excellent pose for beginners to work on balance and stability.

Not only does it strengthen your legs and core, but it also helps you to feel grounded and connected to the earth.

To do this pose, begin in Mountain Pose.

Shift your weight onto your right foot.

Bend your left knee, then reach down and clasp your left inner ankle.

Use your hand to draw your left foot alongside your inner right thigh.

Press your hands together in a prayer position at your chest.

Remember to take it slow.

If you can’t reach your foot to your thigh, that’s okay.

Just place it on your calf or ankle instead.

Balance is a journey, not a destination.

6) Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is a great pose for stretching the chest, neck, and spine while rejuvenating your legs and improving digestion.

But more than just a physical stretch, it’s a heart-opening pose.

In yoga, heart-opening poses are seen as beneficial to liberate stuck emotions, enhance mood, and boost vitality.

To do this pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.

Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.

Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor and lift your hips upward.

Keep your thighs and feet parallel.

Whether you’re navigating a rough day or simply need a pick-me-up, Bridge Pose can bring a sense of lightness and liberation to the heart.

It’s a gentle reminder that you have the strength to rise above challenging situations, much like a bridge over troubled waters.

7) Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Last but not least, we have the Corpse Pose, or Savasana.

This is usually the final pose of any yoga practice and is a moment of deep relaxation.

But let’s be honest, for many of us, completely relaxing can be a challenge.

I remember when I first started doing yoga, I found it hard to stay still and clear my mind during Savasana.

My to-do list would start creeping in, and the serenity of the moment was often lost.

To get into this pose, lie flat on your back, arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing upwards.

Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths.

Allow your body to feel heavy on the ground.

Despite its simplicity, Savasana can be one of the most difficult poses to master due to the mental component.

But with time and practice, it became a moment I truly cherish – a chance to just ‘be’ and to honor the hard work done in my practice.

Essence of the journey

The beauty of yoga lies in its ability to unite the mind, body, and soul.

It’s not just about the physical poses, but the inner journey of self-discovery each pose invites.

Each pose has its own story, its own journey, and its own challenges.

And as you navigate through each pose, you’re not just stretching your body, you’re stretching your mind and spirit as well.

The poses we’ve explored today are just the starting point.

They’re the doorway to a world of balance, strength, flexibility, and serenity that yoga offers.

Remember this – yoga is not a destination, it’s a path.

A path of self-discovery, self-love, and self-improvement.

When you step onto your mat, you’re not just stepping into a physical practice.

You’re stepping into a space of introspection and self-discovery.

So roll out your mat and embrace the journey.

Because in yoga, every pose is a new beginning, and every breath is a new chance to find balance and peace within yourself.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Yoga Group to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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