If you live in Hong Kong, you’ve most likely taken a yoga class or considered taking one but couldn’t because you’re too busy (or stressed out). So instead, you would rather watch House of Dragons with a pillow stuffed against your face.
If you’ve never signed up for a yoga class, hitting the mat can be intimidating. Don’t stress, as few yoga poses are designed for beginners. These include poses you’ve probably heard – downward-facing dog and warrior poses. Utkatasana, anyone?
The good news is, even if you’re starting out, most yoga poses are attainable for every level of practice or can be modified to make them easier. Plus, yoga has a slew of benefits (read: strength and flexibility) no matter how advanced you are. Moving quickly through your flows will give you some cardio perks too! There are about a billion reasons to practice yoga, whether you want to transform your core or boost digestion.
Before your first flow, familiarise yourself with the beginner yoga asanas below. Then, roll out a mat, sink into these poses, and remember that there’s no judgment here — do your best.
Table of Contents
10 easy yoga poses for beginners
1. Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend
- Sit with your spine erect and stretch your legs out forward (you may keep your knees slightly bent).
- Raise your arms and keep your spine straight.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hip.
- Try to hold your big toes with your fingers.
- Hold the pose for a while you take slow, deep breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the lower back, massages the pelvic organs, and tones the shoulder muscles.
2. Marjiarasana or cat pose
- Get on your knees with your knees under your hips. Place your palms under your shoulders.
- Inhale as you look up and curve your spine.
- Exhale as you flex your spine to form an arch of the back. Let your neck drop down as you gaze towards your chest.
Benefits: Improves digestion, relaxes the mind, and strengthens wrists and shoulders.
3. Balasana or child pose
- Sit on your heels with your knees slightly apart.
- Raise your arms and bend forward.
- Let your head and belly touch the ground.
- Stretch your hands out and 2-3 slow breaths and then return to the starting position.
Benefits: Stretches the back muscles, beats constipation and soothes the nervous system.
4. Veerabhadrasana or warrior pose
- Stand with your legs two feet apart.
- Turn out your right foot at a 90-degree angle and your left foot slightly inward.
- Keep your shoulders down and gradually extend your arms to either side of your body.
- As you keep your weight on your right leg, lunge into your right knee such that your knee is above your foot.
- Look ahead and take slow, deep breaths.
- Follow the steps with the opposite leg.
Benefits: Improves balance in the body and releases stress from the shoulders.
5. Ardha chakrasana or standing backward bend
- Stand straight with your feet together.
- Inhale and raise your arms overhead. Your palms should face each other.
- Bend backwards as you breathe out, pushing the pelvis forward.
- Keep the arms in line with the ears, elbows and knees and lift your chest towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and come back up.
- Exhale as you bring your arms down and relax.
Benefits: Tones the arms and shoulder muscles.
6. Hastapadasna or standing forward bend
- Stand straight with your feet together and extend your arms overhead.
- Breathe out as you bend forward.
- Stay in the posture for 20-30 seconds and take deep breaths.
- Keep your legs and spine erect and your hands on the floor.
- Exhale and move your chest towards the knees.
- Press the heels down and relax your head.
- Keep breathing deeply, stretch your arms forward, and return to standing.
Benefits: A perfect yoga pose for beginners, it stretches the abdominal muscles, the upper back, and the calf muscles.
7. Utkatasana or chair pose
- Stand with your feet together.
- Bend your knees over your ankles and keep the thighs parallel to the floor.
- Take a deep breath as you raise your hands into the air.
- Hold for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
Benefits: Strengthens the lower back and balances the body.
8. Baddhakonsasana or butterfly pose
- Sit with your spine erect and spread your legs out.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet towards the pelvis, making the soles of your feet touch.
- Grab your feet with your hands and get the heels as close to your groin as possible.
- Press the thighs and knees downward towards the floor as you breathe out.
- Take long, deep breaths and relax your muscles.
- Take a deep breath in and bring the torso up.
- As you exhale, gently release the posture.
Benefits: Improves bowel movement, relieves menstrual discomfort and improves flexibility in the hip area.
9. Konasana or angle pose
- Stand straight with feet about hip-width distance.
- Inhale and raise the left arm, pointing the fingers towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and bend to the right, from the spine, and then your pelvis.
- Turn your head and look up.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Manages sciatica pain and tones arms, legs and abdominal organs.
Savasana or corpse pose
- Lie flat on your back and keep your arms by the side of the body with your palms facing up.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly through the nostrils.
- Relax your entire body.
Benefits: Always end the routine with Shavasana. It improves blood circulation and helps reduce stress.
Which yoga type is best for beginners?
There’s no need to choose one yoga style if you are a beginner. Instead, listen to the needs of your body. Are you looking to stretch after a stressful week or an uplift in lieu of caffeine? You can pick your favourite elements of a few different styles; or choose an online application to guide you. For example, an Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow can be a dynamic yoga style for beginners to strengthen and work on making body parts more flexible. On the other hand, try a restorative class if you want to de-stress.
What is the best time to practice yoga for beginners?
There is no perfect time to practice yoga for beginners. Choose a space that is free of clutter and distraction. If it helps you to set the mood with some candles, go for it. If you feel that the pets, kids or the doorbell will disturb you inevitably, press pause and come back to your mat any other time of the day.
(Hero and feature image credits: Pexels)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Utkatasana, Malasana, Pashimottanasana and Balasana are some of the best yoga poses for beginners.
Answer: There's no need to choose one yoga style if you are a beginner. Instead, listen to the needs of your body. You can pick your favourite elements of a few different styles; or choose an online application to guide you. For example, an Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow can be a dynamic yoga style for beginners to strengthen and work on making body parts more flexible. On the other hand, try a restorative class if you want to de-stress.
Answer: There is no perfect time to practice yoga for beginners. Choose a space that is free of clutter and distraction. If it helps you to set the mood with some candles, go for it. If you feel that the pets, kids or the doorbell will disturb you inevitably, press pause and come back to your mat any other time of the day.
Answer: Veerabhadrasana or the warrior poses is the best to tone and sculpt muscles.