So Many Yoga Poses, So Much Time
As a beginning yoga student, don't feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of yoga poses. Hopefully, your practice will be a lifelong pursuit, giving you plenty of time to learn scores of postures. As your practice progresses, you will feel comfortable taking on more challenging poses, but when you are just starting out, keep things simple. Below (in both English and Sanskrit), are the poses that are most appropriate for new yoga students. Follow the links to find the full, illustrated instructions for each pose. If you just want to hit the highlights, check out our top ten essential poses for beginners.
Standing pose are usually the most strenuous for beginners. They are often done first in a yoga class to build heat. In vinyasa/flow style
yoga, standing poses are strung together to form long sequences. In hatha classes
, the standing poses may be worked on individually with rest between each pose.
Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward Facing Dog Split
Extended Side Angle Pose - Utthita Parsvakonasana
Garland Pose - Malasana
Half Forward Bend - Ardha Uttanasana
Mountain Pose - Tadasana
Pyramid Pose - Parsvottonasana
Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana
Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana
Standing Straddle Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana
Triangle Pose - Trikonasana
Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I
Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II
These beginners' balances are an important way to build the core strength
that is necessary for many of yoga's more advanced postures. Though balances may seem difficult at first, you will find that you can improve markedly with regular practice.
Hands and Knees Balance
Side Plank Variations - Vasisthasana Variations
Tree Pose - Vrksasana
Backbends can be some of the most uncomfortable poses for beginners, so we usually start with some gentle flexion and extension of the spine as an introduction. Since we rarely move like this in daily life, backbends are essential for spinal health and longevity.
Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Bridge Pose (Supported Version)
Cat - Cow Stretch
Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana
Knees, Chest, and Chin - Ashtanga Namaskara
Seated stretches are often done towards the end of a yoga class after the body is warmed up. The following poses stretch the hips and hamstrings. Placing a folded blanket or block under your butt is a good way to make yourself more comfortable in these postures.
Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana
Easy Pose - Sukhasana
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose - Ardha Masyendrasana
Head to Knee Pose - Janu Sirsanana
Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana
Seated Wide Legged Stradle - Upavistha Konasana
Staff Pose - Dandasana
It's important to get to know your resting poses, especially child's pose, which you are encouraged to do whenever you need a break during a yoga session. These supine poses continue the hip and hamstring work of the seated poses above, as well as gentle backbending, twisting and inversion.
Child's Pose - Balasana
Corpse Pose - Savasana
Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
Happy Baby Pose - Ananda Balasana
Legs Up the Wall - Viparita Karani
Reclined Big Toe Pose - Supta Padangusthasana
Supine Spinal Twist - Supta Masyendrasana