The Beautiful art of Yoga
Yoga is over a thousand year old practice, good for exercise, mental health, and overall wellness. This beginners guide to Yoga poses will help you understand some basic yoga movements, as well as learn a short yoga sequence that you can do everyday.
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Becoming familiar with yoga can be very beneficial to your everyday life, and help you become more physically able, and bring your focus back in your daily life.
This post is unique in the way that I am going to go through some basic, beginner yoga postures, but you can also use this post as a sequence.
Go through each move, breathe for 5-10 seconds through each pose before moving to the next.
Start standing at the front edge of your mat.
Hands in prayer position, (palms pressed together) and take a few deep breaths.
Float your arms up above you taking a nice deep breathe in, and let it out to hang into forward fold.
In forward fold, you are letting your whole relax. Don’t tense the neck in this position, but let the top of the head drift downward to get a good stretch in your spine.
From forward fold, you can place your hands down on the mat in front of you and step your feet back to high plank.
In high plank the wrists are below the shoulders, head and neck are forward (no tension here) and face is looking down or out.
Don’t let your belly hang down, but keep a tight core to protect your spine.
There should be a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
From High Plank, take a breath in, and release the elbows down to low plank.
(This short sequence I am about to show you is called a Vinyasa. It is the movement from Chatarunga or Low Plank to Upward Dog and Downward Dog. Later, I will say we are going through Vinyasa again, which will mean to repeat this three step sequence.)
Low Plank (or Chatarunga Dandasana)
Low Plank, Chatarunga Dandasana, or Four-Limbed staff pose, is the same as High Plank, but the elbows are tucked into your ribs.
For this pose, it is easiest to keep your head relaxed, and face looking toward your mat.
Hold low plank for a couple seconds, making sure to pay attention to your breath.
Take a deep breathe in,
From Low Plank, tuck your feet so that the tops of your feet are laying on the mat. Let your breath out and straighten up into Upward Facing Dog.
Upward Facing Dog
In Upward Facing Dog, your chest is up, your arms are straight, and the top of your feet are facing your mat.
Bring the chest and the eyes up, stretching the back of the shoulders, the top of your thighs, and your chest.
Roll back onto the ball of your feet (how your feet were in low plank), and move into Downward Facing Dog.
Downward Facing Dog
If you can in this position, try to get the whole bottom of your feet onto the mat.
If you can’t and your heels are off the ground, that is no problem either.
This position stretches the back of the shoulders, and gets your blood flowing from the inversion.
From Downward Facing Dog, we move onto Downward Dog Splits.
Downward Dog Splits (Do on both sides)
Staying in Downward Facing Dog, lift one leg into the air straight up behind you.
You can hold this, breathing for as long as you like, and then switch sides.
Bring both feet back to your mat, and then roll back out to High Plank.
From here, walk your feet up to your hands.
Hang in Forward Fold for a few breaths,
and then drop your butt and raise your arms in Chair Pose.
In this pose, you are sitting on an invisible chair.
Keep the legs at a 90 degree angle, raising your arms up above you.
Stay in this pose for 20 seconds, and then take a deep breath to straighten your legs and stand up tall.
Hang in Forward Fold again, taking breathes in and out as you move, and we are going to go through that Vinyasa movement again. (Refer back to Low Plank)
From Downward Facing Dog, bring one knee between your arms, and plant your foot between your hands for a low lunge position.
Next, raise both arms and straighten up into Warrior One.
Warrior One is a high lunge pose with the arms extended above you.
Your gaze should be straight ahead, keeping focused on your breath.
(In the photo above, she has her heel up, which would technically make this another pose. Shift your heel down and your feet out at a slight angle for Warrior One.)
From here, take a deep breath in and release the arms into Warrior Two.
Keep your gaze forward, your chest facing away and your arms parallel to the ground.
Breathe into this position for a few seconds, and then straighten your bent knee, keeping the arms extended.
From here, we will take the arm that is in front of us, and reach as far as we can hinging at the waist into Triangle Pose.
Place your hand on your shin, a yoga block or on the floor depending how flexible you feel.
Let your gaze drift upwards toward the ceiling, toward your other arm.
From here, drift upward back to stand, arms extended.
Bend your knee back to Warrior Two, and then swing your arms upward into Warrior One.
Go back down into High Plank from here, and go back through the Vinyasa sequence.
After Vinyasa, repeat your Warrior sequence on the opposite leg.
Child Pose is a great place to pause, or end your practice for the day.
Start sitting up on your shins with your hands on your thighs, and then extend the arms letting your forehead rest on your mat.
Keep with your breath here, and stay as long as you like.
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I hope this beginners guide to Yoga poses helps you start a regular yoga routine, or just give you some comfort and peace in the midst of a busy day.
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