Though Yoga is several thousand years old, it is still a popular exercise choice due to its low-impact nature and ability to reduce the risk of injuries. In this guide, we’re going to cover the 12 basic yoga poses that are essential for beginning any practice. While some of these poses may feel intimidating, they are all very achievable in time with some practice and patience.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain Pose (or Tadasana) is the foundation pose of all standing poses in yoga. It requires significant balance and body awareness as it engages multiple muscle groups throughout the entire body. To get into this pose, stand with feet at hip-distance apart and soften your knees to slightly bend them. Engage your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvic forward. Next, bring your shoulder blades close together and slightly lift your chest. Lastly, bring your hands to your sides, or raise them up in the air.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair Pose (or Utkatasana) is an intense hip and thigh opener while also working your abdominal muscles. Begin by standing with feet at a wide stance and your arms up in the air. Bend your knees, keeping your thighs parallel to one another and your torso upright, allowing your chair to slowly sink towards the ground with every inhalation.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-Facing Dog (or Adho Mukha Svanasana) is an inversion pose that strengthens and stretches the entire body. Begin by coming onto all fours in tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Next, curl your toes and press your palms firmly into the mat as you lift your knees away from the floor. Gently straighten your legs and press your heels towards the ground while keeping your thighs engaged. Then, press your chest towards your thighs and reach your tailbone towards the ceiling to help lengthen your spine.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s Pose (or Balasana) is a resting pose that offers moments of stillness and connection, allowing the entire body to relax. Begin by kneeling on all fours and then slowly sit back onto your heels. Place your forehead onto the ground and reach your arms back behind you while keeping your palms firmly connected to the ground. If your back is rounded, feel free to place a thin blanket or two underneath your belly for additional support.
Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
Plank Pose (or Kumbhakasana) is a great foundational exercise for its ability to strengthen and tone the core muscles, as well as its link to other poses. To begin, come into tabletop position and then spread your palms a comfortable distance in front of you, pressing your palms firmly into the mat. Next, tuck your toes and pressing back into a straight line. Your brow should be in line with your chin and your gaze should be forward.
Tree Pose (