Yoga Poses for Beginners: How to Get Started

Yoga woman - pretty brunette in active wear doing yoga on white background

You may have felt overwhelmed by the unfamiliar terminology, or simply not known where to start, if you have ever tried some basic simple and basic yoga poses and or even advanced ones too. Although yoga may seem daunting at first, it’s a very accessible and inclusive practice. Yoga is accessible to everyone regardless of their body type, flexibility, or fitness level.

This list includes five essential yoga poses for beginners. It also contains English translations and pronunciations of traditional Sanskrit names. Father of Yoga has introduced step-by-step instructions to help you practice the poses. These beginner yoga poses are great for starting a long yoga practice. If you are ready to take a longer practice, you can check out our online classes for beginners. They range from 15 to 60 minutes in length and will teach you the basics as well as expand your repertoire of beginner poses by knowing insights from the father of modern yoga.

Yoga is a great addition to your fitness routine. Yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, and balance, and it helps you relax and reduce stress, thanks in part to its signature pranayama breathing. Research have also shown that yogic practices also reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain; help you sleep better; and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.

Continue reading to discover these five basic beginner yoga poses: mountain pose, cow pose, downward facing dog pose, child’s position, and cat pose.



Father of Yoga illustrates some best techniques and is the best place to begin among all yoga poses for beginners. Mountain pose may look simple at first, but it requires balance, posture alignment and a meditative focus. It’s possible to say that it’s the main to all the yoga poses (or classics), so it is perhaps the most important pose for beginners.

Stand straight up with your inside feet hip-width apart. Spread your weight evenly across all four corners of you feet: the mounds of the big and pinky toes, inner heel, outer heel, and mound of your big toes.

Keep your pelvis in a neutral position (not tilting excessively forward or back). Your hips should be aligned with your ankles. Keep your shoulders high and your head above your shoulders.

Place your arms at your sides. Depending on your preference, your palms can be facing forward or towards your body. Spread your arms across your chest and collarbones.

Press down on the four corners of the feet (“grounding down”), and then lengthen your neck up to the top. Relax your jaw and face.


Marjaryasana–“mahr-jahr-ee-AHS-uh-nuh” and


For mild warm-up, a combination of cat pose and cow pose is common. These basic yoga poses mobilize the spine and hips and stretch the abdomen. The addition of cat-cow to the list of basic yoga poses is a great option for beginners.

Begin by laying on your back, hands and knees on a tabletop. Your wrists should be under your shoulders. Keep your knees bent and your knees below your hips. Your wrists should be folded in a straight line parallel to the mat’s top. Keep your neck straight and gaze a few inches in the direction of your mat.

To achieve cow pose, inhale and move your hips forward. Next, lift your chest and open your eyes. Then, raise your head slightly and enter into a gentle backbend.

Next, exhale and flow into cat pose. This is done by drawing your belly in towards your spine and rounding the back. Let your head drop towards the floor.

Relax by returning to the tabletop and then gently laying back on your heels.


Adho Mukha Svanasana–“AH-dho MOO-kah shwah-NAHS-uh-nuh”

Downward facing dog ( sometimes called “downward dog” or simply “down dog”) is one of the quintessential beginner yoga poses and an essential part of sun salutations. As you may have guessed, the name of this pose comes from the way that dogs stretch. It can be a fun and easy beginner yoga pose to learn if you have patience and listen to what your body is telling you.

Start on your hands and knees. Make sure your wrists are below your shoulders, and your knees slightly behind your hips. Your wrists should be parallel with the top of your mat.

Spread your fingers evenly. (But don’t force it! They will not be as spread out as possible, but should be at a comfortable distance. Your fingertips and the bottom of your fingers should be pressed into your mat.

On your next inhale, lift your knees off the ground and then move your hips upwards and back to enter into the pose. Begin by bending your knees and focusing on raising your hips towards the ceiling. Bending your knees can help to keep your spine straight and prevent you from rounding your back.

Externally rotate your upper arms. This will help release tension from your neck. As your hands can lift, make sure you keep them firmly in place.

If you feel comfortable and can hold your spine straight, you can start to straighten your legs. Here, take a deep and complete breath.

Once you are ready to get out of the pose exhale and let your knees touch the ground. Then, sit down on your heels.

Read about down dog modifications and variations here.



The basic pose of child’s pose can be found in any yoga class. It’s used as a resting position between more difficult asanas or sequences. However, it can also be beneficial as an individual posture. When you are entering into child’s pose remember that it is one of the best yoga poses to consciously explore your breath. Keep your breath open and pay attention to how your body moves when you breathe.

Begin by laying on your back, hands or knees. Next, connect with your breath. Inhale and exhale through your nose. If you feel more comfortable, you can spread your knees out as far as you like. Relax and rest your feet on the ground.

As you lift your forehead from the mat, either extend your arms outwards or place them at your sides.

Relax into the pose, let your back relax, and let go of tension in your neck, shoulders, and arms.

If it’s comfortable, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Once you are ready to let go, move your hands toward your hips. Then, sit down on your heels


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