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5 Yoga Poses for Beginners

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These five yoga poses are foundational to the practice. You’re bound to see them in nearly every class you’ll ever take. Luckily, they are totally doable — especially when they’re explained clearly and when you are offered beginner-level modifications. 

If you are looking to begin a regular yoga practice, you are very wise! The science is clear that yoga reduces stress, improves body composition, and reduces chronic pain, among other benefits (NIH). 

If you are not sure where to get started, you’re in the right place. You can piece the following yoga poses together to make a complete flow. Best of all, the equipment is minimal, and you can do this in the comfort of your home. 

Read on to find out how to get started making yoga a regular part of your life.

Try these 5 approachable yoga poses to get your journey started!

1. Wide Legged Fold Prasarita Padottanasana

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Wide legged fold is a wonderful way to stretch the hamstrings at the back of the legs. It also targets the inner thighs. 

How To Do Wide-Legged Fold:

  1. Grab 2 blocks + place them in front of you. Place them on the highest height, and have them ready to place your hands on.
  2. Spread your feet quite wide, with feet parallel to each other. One trick is to open your arms wide and place your feet under your elbows or wider if you can (within reason).
  3. Keeping the back as flat as you can, fold forward and place your hands on the blocks. Do your best to keep straight knees, but it’s okay to bend them if your back is rounding. 
  4. Relax your head down. Allow your upper body to be heavy.
  5. Take 5 full breaths. All the way in, all the way out.

2. Warrior 2 Virabhadrasana 2

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Warrior two is a foundational and powerful yoga poses that you’ll probably see in nearly every yoga class you take.

It creates strength in the legs and improves the posture. 

How to Do Warrior 2 Pose:

  1. With feet spread wide, draw your left toes in 10 degrees and point your right foot to the front of the mat. No need to get too fussy about foot placement at this point. Try to make yourself comfortable.
  2. Bend the front knee (right) until your leg makes roughly a 90-degree angle. Once again, you don’t have to worry too much about how deep the bend should be. You will gain confidence and comfort over time, and you’ll be able to adjust the shape as you see fit. 
  3. Spread your arms open wide, keeping them parallel to the floor with palms facing down. Stay broad across the front body at the hips and the chest. Relax your shoulders down.
  4. Take your gaze toward the fingers of the bent knee. This gaze point will help you to stay focused and strong.
  5. Take 5 full breaths in and out of the nostrils (if possible). If you feel a burn, that’s normal! Stay with it and trust that you are getting stronger every time you enter this pose.
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Take this free 10-min class on YouTube

3. Triangle Pose / Trikonasana

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Triangle pose is a wonderful pose that — true to yoga — combines strengthening with stretching. 

This posture stretches the inner thighs in particular and gives you the chance to spread your wings wide. Don’t be afraid to take up room with your long lines!

How to Do Triangle Pose:

  1. Starting with feet roughly 3 or 4 feet apart, turn your left toes in sightly and point your right toes to the front of the mat. Keep the legs long and strong with your hips wide open. 
  2. With arms spread wide and the front body open, take your right hand to your thigh and reach your left arm up to the sky. You have the option to take your right hand lower and lower, but don’t compromise the openness of your hips and chest. 
  3. Finally, take your gaze up toward the top hand. Stay for 5 full breaths focusing on keeping your spine and “wings” long. See if you can feel a connection to your abdomen as it supports you.

4. Side Angle Pose Utthita Parsvakonasana

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Try this modified version of side angle pose to make it easier when you’re first getting started on your yoga journey.

The intermediate variation has you place your front fingers on a block or on the floor, but it’s perfectly cool to take your forearm to your thigh when you’re building strength. I still do this version myself because I love how it helps me to activate the muscles of anti-gravity a lot easier. I find it freeing, and I hope you will too. g

How to Do Side Angle Pose for Beginners:

  1. Take the same feet and legs as Warrior 2. See above for details.
  2. Place your right forearm on your front thigh with the palm facing up. Press firmly enough that you can draw your shoulder down away from your ear.
  3. Sweep your top arm over your temple line with the palm facing down. Make an effort to lengthen and energize this arm. The fingers will be pointing toward the top of your mat.
  4. Gaze upward, underneath your tricep. Take 5 full breaths, and marvel at the whole-body lengthening and strengthening you’re creating with your yoga practice.
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Take this class on Leigha's membership site. Click the image to sign up for a free trial.

5. Downward Facing Dog Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Downward facing dog might just be the most iconic yoga pose out there! 

It can be tiring when you first do it, but if you stay with it long enough, it will become a restful-feeling pose — promise!

Read below for the adjustments you can make when you’re first getting started on your yoga journey.

How to Do Downward Facing Dog for Beginners:

  1. Place your hands shoulders-width at the top of the mat. Spread your fingers wide with the pointer fingers pointing forward.
  2. Step your feet toward the back of the mat. If you want to know how far to place your feet, then wave yourself forward into a plank pose and back into downward facing dog.
  3. Lift your hips sky high. You’re making an upside-down “V” shape. 
  4. Remain for 5 full breaths, in and out. If it’s too tiring, set your knees down and recover. 

Some final encouragement for beginners to yoga:

Like anything worth doing, yoga can feel tough when you’re first getting started. 

Just know that yoga is great for you — mind, body, and spirit. And for that reason, it’s worth exploring until you find the style(s) and teacher(s) that feel right for you!

There are as many styles and approaches as there are teachers in the world, so don’t give up! Your whole being will feel better for it. 

Stay with it. 

In peace, 

Leigha Butler

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Leigha Butler is the founder of LBY, an online portal for yoga lovers who want to take their practice to new heights. Stay superlatively supple and strong — for life. You can learn more or sign up for a free trial right here.

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