Michelle Welling

Best Yoga Poses for Beginners

Words by Puravi Joshi

yoga for beginners

If you’ve never been to a yoga class before, it’s time to roll out your mat and reap the benefits and discover something that has existed for thousands of years. The beauty of yoga is that absolutely anybody can do it. No matter your age, fitness levels there will be a style of yoga asana (postures) that will suit you. Yoga is for everyone.

TOP TIPS BEFORE YOU GO TO A YOGA CLASS

  1. Don’t be intimidated by anyone else in the room, your mat is your island, yoga meets you where you are, you don’t need to match what the person next to you is doing.

  2. Props are your friends, use them! Can’t touch your toes!? Grab those blocks and bring the floor up to you

  3. Breathe is key, focus on your breath even if that’s all you do!

  4. It’s called a yoga practice for a reason, we’re all progressing each time, progression over perfection

  5. Laugh and enjoy yourself, it’s just a yoga class, if a yoga pose comes easy to you great if it doesn’t it doesn’t matter!

how to start yoga for beginners

Mysa London was created to break down barriers and make yoga accessible to everyone, with diversity and inclusivity at its core. A 54 card yoga deck for all levels, breaking down the yoga postures (asanas) to teach you how to get into them correctly and safely. This deck is a great way to familiarise yourself with the various yoga poses, and perhaps start with ones that are especially useful for beginners.

What’s even better, it’s a business with a cause: every yoga deck sold Mysa London donates £1 to Papyrus UK a charity for the prevention of young suicide 

These below poses are great ones to learn as you start to build a regular practice.

BEST YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS

childs pose in yoga

Child's Pose/ Balasana

This pose is one that a teacher will always offer throughout the class whenever you get tired or too calm.  It gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs and releases tension through your spine, shoulders and neck.

  • Do it: To relax your body and mind and to get a gentle release through your back and hips

  • Avoid: If you are pregnant or suffering from high blood pressure

  • Modify: Rest your head on your hands or a block

  • Be mindful: Focus on relaxing the muscles of the spine and your lower back 

downward dog in yoga

Downward-Facing Dog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana

This pose strengthens the arms, shoulders and back while stretching the hamstrings, calves. It is also a nice way to relieve tension in your back

  • Do it: To help relieve back pain.

  • Avoid: If you have high blood pressure or are in the late stages of pregnancy.

  • Modify: Hold the outside edges of your mat, this will take the  weight off your wrists. Bend your knees if the soles of your feet don’t touch the mat this will take the pressure off your hamstrings

  • Be mindful: Spread your fingers wide and distribute your weight evenly through your hands. Lift your hips up and away from your shoulders 

how to hold a plank pose

Plank Pose / Phalakasana

This pose builds strength in the core, shoulders, arms and legs.

  • Do it: This pose helps strengthen your upper body and core

  • Avoid: If you suffer from lower back pain.

  • Modify: Place your knees on the floor to alleviate pressure

  • Be mindful: In this pose, imagine the back of your neck and spine lengthening.

cobra pose in yoga

Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana

This pose helps to strengthen the back and increases flexibility in the spine. It also stretches your front body from your shoulders down to your abdomen

  • Do it: This post is great for strengthening the back.

  • Avoid: If you have arthritis in your spine or neck, or lower back pain

  • Modify: Keep your elbows bent to reduce the intensity of this pose.

  • Be mindful: Try to keep your core engaged so it’s not resting on the floor

tree pose yoga

Tree Pose / Vrkasana

Great from improving balance, it also helps strengthen the spine and maintain good posture

  • Do it: Great for working on your balance and posture.

  • Avoid: If you have low blood pressure

  • Modify: Place one of your hands on a wall for support.

  • Be mindful: Focus on your breath and relax your jaw muscles as you hold this pose.

lord of the fishes pose in yoga

Half Lord Of The Fishes / Ardha Matsyendrasana

This twisting pose can help increase flexibility in your back, 

  • Do it: To release tension around the shoulders and upper and lower back.

  • Avoid: If you have a back injury.

  • Modify: Relax the twist to make it more comfortable

  • Be mindful: Lengthen your spine as you inhale, and twist as you exhale.

bridge pose yoga

Bridge Pose / Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

This is a passive backbend that helps to open up through your chest.

  • Do it: If you sit most of the day, this pose will help you open your upper chest.

  • Avoid:  if you have a neck injury

  • Modify:  place a block under your pelvis to release tension from your lower back.

  • Be mindful: Try to keep your chest lifted and engage your shoulder blades

savasana in yoga

Corpse Pose / Savasana

Savasana, how all yoga classes end

  • Do it: Always!

  • Avoid: Try not to avoid this one

  • Modify: Place a blanket under your head, if that feels more comfortable. You can also place cushions or bolsters under your knees to release tension in your lower back and to increase relaxation

  • Be mindful: Allow the weight of your body to feel supported by the ground underneath you.

THE TAKEAWAY 

Remember to take a yoga class at your own pace and most importantly enjoy yourself. Like any other practice you will improve with time. Your mat is your safe space to deepen your yoga practice, tune into yourself, and grow.