Yoga is one of the most effective mechanisms for combating anxiety and stress. It offers a sense of calmness and physical benefits while boosting mental well-being.
If you're new to yoga, the practice can feel intimidating, though. You might feel overwhelmed by the number of asanas and their odd-sounding names. Although it's normal to worry about not being flexible or in good enough shape, yoga doesn’t have to be difficult.
As a beginner, it's a good idea to keep things as easy and simple as possible to get the form right.
To help you get started on your yoga journey, we’ve compiled a list of some basic poses you can practice as a sequence or standalone depending on your preference. You can practice these asanas at home, but it's recommended to start under the guidance of a certified yoga trainer.
Easy Yoga Exercises for Beginners
Here’s a list of five basic poses that can get you started with your yoga practice:
1) Sukhasana (Ease Pose)
Sukhasana is one of the basic asanas you are probably already doing without realizing. This pose offers great benefits ranging from inner peace, relieving mental stress and anxiety, and improving balance and posture.
To do this pose, sit cross-legged on a mat or floor, and make sure you cross your legs at your shins, and position each foot under the opposite knee. Keep your spine elongated throughout and in line with your head and neck.
Close your eyes; keep your hands on your knees with palms down, and inhale and exhale deeply. Hold the pose for two minutes, and change sides by placing the top leg down.
2) Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Tadasana is the foundational pose for all other standing asanas and inversions. This yoga pose helps reduce anxiety and stress by improving breathing and allowing you to feel more grounded, secure, and confident. When done correctly, it works on the legs and torso.
To do this pose, stand straight with your big toes barely touching, and position your heels apart. Press all four corners of your feet, and push into the ground. Take a deep breath, and slowly roll your shoulders back and upwards. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths while maintaining this position.
3) Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Balasana is a great relaxing pose that impacts the lymphatic and nervous system and also eases fatigue and stress.
To do this asana, kneel on the mat with your legs together, and slowly sit back on your heels, with your hips resting on them. Without moving your hips, bend forward till your chest reaches your thighs, and your head touches the mat.
You can place your arms by your side, with the palms pointing up, or simply stretch them in the front for extra support.
4) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
This yoga pose helps lengthen the spine, stretches the legs, and also helps improve the digestive system. It's a mild-inversion pose that releases stress, eases headaches, and calms the nervous system.
To do this pose, get on all fours, with your hands and knees on the floor, and lift your hips back and upwards. Keep your shoulders engaged, but do not work them too hard, as that can put pressure and strain on them.
Keep your spine in a neutral position, with legs straight and heels pointing towards the floor. Maintain this position for a few minutes, and release.
5) Baddhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
The butterfly pose in yoga is a great hip opener that also improves the functioning of the bowel system. It relieves menstrual pain and enhances flexibility in the hip and groin region. As this pose enhances flexibility and eases tension, it's ideal for people with tight hips or mobility issues.
To do this asana, start in a seated position; bend your knees, and press the soles of both feet together. Interlace your fingers, and wrap them around your pinkie toe. You can also place your hands on either your shins or ankles.
Lengthen your spine, and widen your chest. Draw your shoulders back and down, and stay in this posture for up to five minutes. Extend your legs forward and out, and lean back on your hands to release.
When starting your yoga journey, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to learn the poses, even the basic ones mentioned above. Practice regularly, and make use of a mat, block, pillow or folded blanket, if needed, for extra support.
While these asanas are safe and suitable for everyone, mostly beginners, it's advisable to consult a doctor if you have any health problems. Most importantly, it's recommended to learn these poses under trained practitioners to avoid any injury or pain.