By: VTC's Wellness Team

5 Beginner Yoga Poses

Namaste. Yoga is a form of movement that relaxes you while also building strength, balance and flexibility. If you are new to the world of being a yogi, there are simple poses to get you started. Don't feel like you have to be perfect. Continue to practice and remember to start slow. 

Beginner Yoga Poses

1. Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose (Balasana) is yoga's most important resting posture and it is a nice way to gently stretch various parts of your body. (1)  It's a chance to stop, realign your body, and reconnect with your breath.

How to: Come to your hands and knees on the mat. Spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your belly between your thighs and place your forehead to the floor. Stretch your arms out in front of you with the palms connecting to the mat. (2)

Tip: Your neck should stay in a neutral position. If you find you are bending your neck, use a pillow or yoga block. Remember to breath and relax your face, jaw, and eyes. 

2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Dog pose is a simple pose that provides many benefits to the body. It relieves stiffness in the back and between the shoulder blades. It also creates openness around the ribs and abdomen, and provides a sense of calm as the heart rate is slowed down (3)

How to: Start on all fours, hands and knees. Knees at hip distance apart. Walk the palms just out in front of the shoulders. Raise the knees off the mat. Lift the hips up high and allow legs to straighten. Keep toes pointing forward. Begin by maintaining a slight bend in the knees. 

Tip: Hold Down Dog for 5-10 breaths. Repeat many times throughout yoga practice or 2-3 times during the day to elongate & stretch the entire body.

3. Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

Cat-Cow is a fluid movement between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It stretches the back torso and neck.  It encourages the breath to become slow and deep through opening the chest. Coordinating this movement with your breathing relieves stress and calms the mind. (4)

How to: Start on your hands and knees. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your knees hip-width apart. Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and look toward the ceiling.  Next, move into Cat Pose: Exhale and draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the top of your head toward the floor. 

Tip:  Try a few rounds of Cat-Cow when you wake in the morning, or after sitting for a long period. You may notice yourself walking taller throughout your day. 

4. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

The standing forward fold will wake up your hamstrings and ease your mind. It calms the brain and helps relieve stress. This pose also stimulates the liver and kidneys, and stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips. It is not simply touching your toes, it is about everything in between. (5)

How to: Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs. Hinge at the hips, not the lower back. Let your hands land where ever is comfortable for you. Inhale to lengthen your spine and avoid rounding your back. Exhale and attempt to straighten legs without strain. Lengthen your neck, extending the top of your head toward the ground. Draw your shoulders down your back toward your hips.

Tip: This pose is not about eventually touching your toes. It is about connecting with your body and taking it slow. If you need to use a prop such as a yoga block it is okay. Everyone is going to be different. 

5. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

If you sit at a desk often, this pose is for you. The cobra pose is a heart-opening backbend that stretches your entire upper body. This simple pose can provide relief of back pain, upper body soreness, or tightness in your shoulders.  It improves posture and counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting and computer work. (6)

How to: Begin on your stomach with your feet at hip-width apart and your hands by in line with your ribs.  Press down lightly with your hands, start to lift your head and chest, rolling your shoulders back and down. Lengthen your neck and focus on lifting your chest instead of lifting your chin. Straighten your arms but  keep a slight bend in your elbows.

Tip: Focus on creating strength in the upper back and shoulder blades. Do not come too high in the pose to avoid strain on the back. 


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Published: June 3, 2022