For anyone just starting with a yoga practice or getting back into a routine, here are the beginner yoga poses that will provide exceptional benefits.
The 5 Top Yoga Poses
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana: tah-DAHS-anna)
Mountain Pose is the foundation for all movement and flows into your other poses. It targets your entire body as you aim to stand stable and grounded like a mountain. This stance helps align your focus for your practice, become aware of your breathing, and aligns your posture.
Stand with your feet together, where your big toes touch but leave a small space between your heels. Then, root your feet to the ground by gripping with your toes and outer foot while lifting your arches.
Draw your shoulders back and down while keeping your gaze level in front of you. Next, align your head with your heart and pelvis. It should be as if you have a string from the floor reaching up through your body and your head.
Pull your thigh bones back while checking to ensure your tailbone is slightly tucked down and under for proper alignment. Mountain Pose can last for several breaths or several minutes.
2. Child's Pose (Balasna: bah-LAHS-anna )
Child’s Pose is a gentle resting posture that is excellent for stretching the lower back, hips, legs, thighs, feet, and ankles while providing the opportunity for reflection and mindfulness.
Kneel on your yoga mat with your legs and feet under you so your big toes touch. Sit back on your heels and spread your knees outwards to about hip-width. Breathe deep and as you exhale, fold forward so your abdomen is resting between your knees and your head lies on the mat.
You can use a block if your head does not reach the floor. You can rest your arms by your sides, palms facing up to the sky or over your head facing the palms down. Hold this pose for a few breaths or a few minutes.
3. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
Downward-Facing Dog Pose works your core muscles and improves circulation throughout your body. It is a full-body stretch that you can use in transition between poses or resting posture. It encourages deep breathing and flexibility while toning the arms and shoulders.
Start in a table-top position on all four limbs. Position your hands a few inches above your shoulders and spread your fingers. Root your hands as you inhale, then exhale as you lift your knees off the mat, curl your toes, and lift your lower body, pressing your hips up and back.
Try to straighten your legs while forcing your heels to the floor as much as possible. Maintain a flat back as your head positions between your biceps, and bring your face to your knees. Your feet should be hip-width apart, and your ears should be alongside your elbows.
Hold this pose for several breaths or minutes, depending on your practice.
4. Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: URD-vah MOO-kaa chvon-AS-ana)
Many yoga sequences will pair the Upward-Facing Dog Pose with the Downward-Facing Dog posture. This pose provides an essential stretch for the front of the body, including the abdomen and chest, while strengthening the upper torso.
Lie flat on your stomach, face down, with your legs outstretched behind you and your foot resting on the mat. Put your hands palm down at your sides along your upper rib cage and spread your fingers wide.
Inhale as you straighten your arms to push your chest up and raise your upper thighs just above the mat. Keep your shoulder blades engaged and pull them back towards your mid-back. Keep your thighs firm but not tense as you breathe deeply. Your chin should tilt towards the ceiling as you open your chest.
Hold this pose for several deep breaths or several minutes before releasing your chest back to the floor.
5. Corpse Pose (Shavasana: Sa-va-sa-na )
This yoga posture signifies the end of your practice as the last pose in a routine. It helps to bring mindfulness and awareness to your body as you relax into the mat. However, it can be one of the most challenging poses to master when you are not in a meditative state.
Lie on your mat with your legs slightly apart towards the edges of your mat. Spread your arms down along your sides, away from your body, with your palms turning upward to the sky. Some people will use props, such as a light blanket or pillow, to remain comfortable during this time.
Remain still and focus on your breathing as you bring awareness to the space around you. Feel how your body sinks into the floor as you remain in Corpse Pose for 5 to 10 minutes.
When coming out of this pose, begin by wiggling your fingers and toes to bring awareness back into your body. Next, clasp your hands together and stretch them above your head, then roll to one side and use your arms to move to a seated position gently.
Top Yoga Poses
Although these top five yoga poses are an excellent start for beginners, they are also some of the more fundamental postures that will help you through your practice at any stage. Now that you know what are the 5 basic yoga postures, remember to keep breathing as part of your yoga practice while working through these top yoga poses. Learn more by taking on of our yoga classes.