Basic Yoga Positions For Beginners - Yoga Practice Blog

Basic Yoga Positions For Beginners

yoga instructor certificationBy Kathi Duquette

Some basic yoga positions for beginners can give you benefits that you might not think about. You might think you don’t need to practice the basic yoga poses once you feel you are at an intermediate level, or you might think the basics won’t help you because you are not flexible enough to “do yoga.” All levels of practitioners can benefit from foundational yoga positions.


If you are new to yoga or interested in starting a yoga practice, the basics are your starting point. You can always modify a more difficult pose by practicing a basic pose. You can even modify a basic pose. The object is to find the benefit that each pose has for you – inside your own body.

If you are an intermediate yogi, practicing the basics can re-root you to your poses. Sometimes we move through the poses like we’ve been there before and it is easy. Try re-connecting with the basic poses. Be mindful of the four corners of your feet pressing into the ground – making your feet the root of your pose. Stand a little straighter and be aware of how small changes affect how you feel in the pose.


Basic yoga poses can seem like they have no benefit at all, such as mountain pose. It looks like you are simply standing. By actively pushing your feet into the ground and consciously lifting your spine, you are straightening your posture, and strengthening your ankles. By opening your shoulders you are relieving stress in your shoulders and neck and opening your chest to promote full utilization of the lungs. When focusing on your breath you are increasing your cardio respiratory function and endurance. Add in tightening your quadriceps in an upward motion and tucking the tailbone under slightly and you add the benefits of strengthening the upper leg muscles and abdominals. This is all accomplished by simply standing up straight and breathing with awareness.

Other foundational yoga poses can have just as many benefits, some physical, some stress relieving, some just feel good. Basic positions for beginners include child pose, forward bend, warrior 1, 2 and 3, triangle pose, cat/cow pose, downward dog, spinal twist and cobra.


You usually want to practice an inversion such as a forward bend which gives your brain a fresh dose of oxygenated blood. A side stretch, a twist, and a back bend will keep your spine lubricated and supple. By moving the spine in different directions with awareness you are improving flexibility and decreasing risk of injury. Back bends stretch the front side of your body, forward bends stretch the back. Twists give your organs a gentle massage.

Overall moving through the poses and breathing with awareness while tuning in to how your body feels builds your mind-body connection. This connection can help you with many things from stress relief to pain relief.


Basic yoga positions can be practiced as often as you like; daily is best to keep the benefits coming. You can practice for 15 minutes or up to an hour (or even more). Fifteen minutes of yoga training daily can provide you with a feeling of general well-being. You will be relieving stress while promoting healthy breathing and gentle flexibility.

Practice some basic yoga positions. Pay attention to your body, your breath … yourself.

By Kathi Duquette

Certified Yoga Instructor

Certified Personal Trainer

Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

Related Resources


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Anderson, F, Winterbone, A (1979) Yoga in a short-stay psychiatric unit. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(8), 191–93.

Bastille, JV, Gill-Body, KM (2004) A yoga-based exercise programme for people with chronic poststroke hemiparesis. Physical Therapy, 84(1), 33–48.

Bhargava, R, Gogate, MG, Mascarenhas, JF (1988) Autonomic responses to breath holding and its variations following pranayama. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 32(4), 257–64.

Bixler, S (1979) Yoga. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(12), 338–39.
Google Scholar

Dixit, SST (2002) Life energy for a healthy heart. Mylapore: OJAS Research Foundation.

Doubleday, HE (1980) Yoga: A reply to Mrs Eakin’s letter in the November Journal. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 43(1), 30.

Eakin, P (1979) Yoga. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy 42(11), 295–96.

Fieldhouse, J (2000) Occupational science and community mental health: Using occupational risk factors as a framework for exploring chronicity. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 211–17.

Frawley, D, Lad, V (1988) The yoga of herbs. 2nd ed. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

Galantino, ML, Bzdewka, TM, Eissler-Russo, JL, Holbrook, ML, Mogck, EP, Geigle, P, Farrar, JT (2004) The impact of modified Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain: A pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 10(2), 56–59.

Greendale, GA, McDivit, A, Carpenter, A, Seeger, L, Huang, M-H (2002) Yoga for women with hyperkyphosis: Results of a pilot study. American Journal of Public Health, 92(10), 1611–14.

Lennon, A (1979) Yoga. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(12), 339.

Miller, R (1979) Yoga. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(12), 337–38.

Oken, BS, Kishiyama, S, Zajdel, D, Bourdette, D, Carlsen, J, Haas, M, Hugos, C, Kraemer, DF, Lawrence, J, Mass, M (2004) Randomised controlled trial of yoga and exercise in multiple sclerosis. Neurology, 62(11), 2058–64.

Raghuraj, P, Ramakrishnan, AG, Nagendra, HR, Telles, S (1998) Effect of two selected yogic breathing techniques of heart rate variability. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 42(4), 467–72.

Raub, JA (2002) Psychophysiologic effects of Hatha yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: A literature review. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 8(6), 797–812.

Ravetz, C (1979) Yoga. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(12), 338.

Shannahoff-Khalsa, DS (2004) An introduction to Kundalini yoga meditation techniques that are specific for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 91–101.

Shannahoff-Khalsa, DS, Sramek, BB, Kennel, MB, Jamieson, SW (2004) Hemodynamic observations on a yogic breathing technique claimed to help eliminate and prevent heart attacks: A pilot study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(5), 757–66.

Telles, S, Nagarathna, R, Nagendra, HR (1994) Breathing through a particular nostril can alter metabolism and autonomic activities. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 38(2), 133–37.

Telles, S, Nagarathna, R, Nagendra, HR (1996) Physiological measures of right nostril breathing. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2(4), 479–84.

Woolery, A, Myers, H, Sternlieb, B, Zeltzer, L (2004) A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 10(2), 60–63.

Learn basic yoga poses and beyond. To see our selection of Yoga teacher training and continuing education courses, please visit the following link.

2 thoughts on “Basic Yoga Positions For Beginners”

  1. My first yoga practice was quite interesting, I started it a proper breathing doing some basic poses. That was really good. I tried also to relax and stay in focus on practicing yoga.

Leave a Comment

Your Cart