Yoga for beginners: 10 easy poses to try – Insider

  • Yoga is a great form of exercise for people of all ages and physical abilities. 
  • Beginner yoga poses include child’s pose, easy seat, tree pose, and down dog. 
  • Benefits of yoga for beginners include increased strength and flexibility and reduced stress. 

Yoga began in India thousands of years ago and has become increasingly popular in the Western world over the last few decades. It uses a series of movements, breaths, and/or meditation exercises to strengthen the body and ease the mind. 

And you don’t have to be an expert to reap the rewards. In fact, a 2015 study of beginner yogis in Hong Kong found an hour-long Hatha yoga session once a week for 12 weeks increased strength and flexibility. 

Yoga can be practiced in-person either at a studio, gym, or recreation center or virtually with online videos. When starting out, opt for a gentle class like restorative yoga, and let the teacher know you’re a beginner so they can modify poses, says Maria Santoferraro, a yoga teacher at multiple studios in Vermillion, Ohio. 

Here are 10 easy yoga poses for beginners: 

1. Easy pose

Woman meditating

Easy pose is sometimes called easy seated pose.
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This pose strengthens back and abdominal muscles while stretching the hips and groin. 

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the floor, with your legs out in front of you.
  2. Cross your shins and slip each foot under the opposite knee.
  3. Rest your hands on your knees. 

2. Child’s pose

Child's pose

Child’s pose is a place of rest.
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Child’s pose stretches the back, hip, and arm muscles as well as calms the nervous system.

How to do it:

  1. Kneel on the floor, with your knees wider than your hips, and toes pointed and together.
  2. Stretch your arms out on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Rest your forehead on the floor.

3. Tree pose

tree pose yoga class

If you are struggling to balance, place your inner foot closer to your ankle or hold onto a wall for support.
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Tree pose improves balance and stretches muscles surrounding the hip. 

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip widths apart.
  2. Shift your weight onto your right foot. 
  3. Raise your left leg and gently turn your knee outwards. 
  4. Place your left foot at the inside of your right calf or above your knee, never on the knee. 

4. Downward Dog

downward dog

Peddle out your legs as you settle into the position.
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Downward dog stretches the back of the legs, spine, hamstrings, palms, and feet. It also strengthens shoulders, arms, legs, and abdominal muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Start on all fours. 
  2. Put your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. 
  3. Place your knees on the floor underneath your hips. 
  4. Tuck your toes and lift your hips toward the ceiling.

5. Warrior Two

warrior two

Warrior II can be challenging, but that’s why it also tests your mental strength.
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This vigorous pose improves balance. It works thigh and core muscles and stretches the knees, ankles, and shoulders. 

How to do it:

  1. From a standing position, place your feet around 4 feet wide.
  2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot inward towards your body slightly.
  3. Bend your right knee.
  4.  Raise your arms parallel to the floor, palms down. Look out over your right hand.
  5. Try to keep equal weight in the front and back leg.

6. Low Lunge

Low lunge

Low lunge is a great stretch for after a run.
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Low lunge stretches the chest, shoulders, and hamstrings. 

How to do it:

  1. From downward dog pose, step your right foot between your hands.
  2. Lower your left knee and calf to the floor, pointing your toes.
  3. Raise your arms alongside your ears.

7. Seated Forward Bend

touching toes

Make sure your spine is long.
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This pose stretches the hamstrings, spine, and shoulders.

How to do it:

  1. Sitting with legs out in front of you and bend forward, keeping your back as straight as possible.
  2. Reach towards the outsides of your feet and grab them if possible. 

8. Reclining Twist

spinal twist yoga

Don’t force the full twist if it hurts your back.
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This relaxing twist also stretches the spine and shoulders and strengthens the lower back.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor with your arms in a T-shape.
  2. Bring your knees to your chest.
  3. Keeping your arms out, let knees fall to one side.
  4. Look over your opposite shoulder. 

9. Bridge pose

bridge pose

Bridge pose is great for building your glutes.
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Bridge pose strengthens the thighs, buttock, back, and shoulder muscles. It also stretches the spine, shoulders, and hip, easing the tight muscles that come from hunching over a computer all day, says Sarah Court, DPT, a physical therapist and yoga teacher at multiple locations in Los Angeles.

How to do it:

  1. Lying on your back with your arms by your sides and your knees bent, place your feet flat on the floor about two feet from your hips.
  2. Raise your buttocks up off of the floor, keeping your knees hip-distance apart. 

10. Legs up the wall

waterfall pose legs on wall pose

This pose is sometimes called waterfall pose.
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This calming pose stretches hamstrings and calves and promotes blood flow to the brain.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor with your hips as close to the wall as possible.
  2. Stretch your legs up the wall.
  3. Rest your arms at your sides.

Insider’s takeaway 

Yoga is a great form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, beginners should look for slower-paced classes to start. With regular practice, you’ll build strength and flexibility in muscles and joints and reap mental benefits.