Basic Yoga Poses

No matter what your fitness level, yoga can be a great activity for those looking for a low-impact workout — one with countless potential benefits both physically and mentally. Here are 12 basic poses that any beginner can find their way into, including some of the most popular starting points for your yoga journey.

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

photo of a woman demonstrating mountain poseThis is the simplest and most basic yoga pose, and a great way to start any sequence. Stand in a neutral position with your feet together, arms by your sides, and weight evenly divided on both feet. Kick off your practice the right way by using the mountain pose to bring a sense of balance and intention to your practice.

Downward Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward dog is one of the most recognizeable yoga postures, and can be a great way to stretch the arms, legs, back and shoulders simultaneously. Begin in an all-fours position and then push back onto your heels and lift your hips up towards the sky. Focus on grounding through your palms and toes, and be sure to keep your core engaged and your back flat.

Crescent Lunge – Anjaneyasana

photo of a woman demonstrating crescent lunge pose This pose stretches the front body and strengthens the legs. Step one leg back into a lunge position and lift your arms up towards the sky. Make sure your front knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and your back heel is lifted off the floor. Push your hips forward to deepen the stretch and focus on rooting down through your back heel and palms.

Plank Pose – Kumbhakasana

photo of a woman demonstrating plank pose Plank is an effective, low-impact move to strengthen the core, shoulders and quads all at the same time. Start in an all-fours position, then lower down onto your elbows and toes. Make sure your wrists are aligned below your shoulders, your core is engaged, and your tailbone is pushed back towards your heels. Your body should form a nice, straight line from head to toes.

Four-Limbed Staff Pose – Chaturanga

photo of a woman demonstrating four-limbed staff pose This pose requires a lot of upper-body and core strength, as it mimics the push-push motion of a push-up. Start in plank position, then lower your chest and hips down to hover about an inch or two off the floor. Make sure your elbows stay tucked into the body and your forearms remain perpendicular to the floor. Keep turning the shoulder blades away from each other, trying to ultimately fit your shoulder blades into your back pockets.

Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

photo of a woman demonstrating upward facing dog pose This pose provides a nice counter to the previous plank and chaturanga poses. Begin with the chest lying face-down on the ground, then use your palms and forearms to support your chest and lift up your upper body and head. Look up and press your shoulder blades down, trying to open your chest as much as possible.

Tree Pose – Vrksasana

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