Yoga is an ancient practice from India that has been adapted to fit the needs and lifestyles of modern people. It is one of the most common forms of exercise in the world and is known for being incredibly calming and physical challenging. For those just starting, it can seem intimidating; however, with a few simple and easy-to-follow yoga poses for beginners, anyone can get started.
Mountain pose is a foundation pose for many other poses—including more complicated poses—as it helps you to find both stability and balance. Start this pose by standing at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart, palms facing your thighs, and a straight back. As you feel more stable in this pose, reach your hands up above your head while taking a deep breath. Then, on an exhale, bring your hands back down to your sides.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The downward facing dog is an iconic yoga pose. To get into this pose, start on your hands and knees in a table-like position, making sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists and knees are hip-width apart. As you press your hands into the mat, lift your knees off the ground as you straighten your legs and press your heels towards the ground. If your hamstrings are tight, you can keep your knees bent, just make sure your hips stay in line with the rest of your body.
The high plank is a must for any beginner’s practice. Start in a push-up position with your wrists underneath your shoulders. Then, press through your palms to create enough space between your shoulder blades and keep stretches up your spine. From there, engage your core muscles to keep a neutral spine, tuck your tailbone in, and keep your neck neutral. Once you’ve achieved this proper alignment, hold the pose for as many breaths as desired.
Bridge Pose is a great way to stretch and strengthen the body, as well as the open the chest and throat areas. To get into this pose, start by lying on your back, hands at your sides and feet hip-width apart. Take a deep breath and on your exhale, use your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips up off the mat. Once you’ve found a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths before lowering your hip and easing yourself out of the pose.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair Pose is an intermediate level pose that helps to build strength in the legs and arms, as well as improve balance. To get into this pose, start by standing at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart. Once you’ve found your balance in this pose, take a deep breath and as you exhale, start to bring you arms up over your head while bending your knees and lowering your hips down and back as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold the pose for a few breaths before slowly reversing the movement to get out of the pose.