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.


Starting Point

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 challenging pose by practicing a basic pose. You can even change a basic pose. The object is to find the benefit that each pose has for you – inside your own body.

As 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 reconnecting 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 your feelings in the pose.


Technical Details

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. Backbends 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.


Final Thoughts

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 give you 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.

About Kathi Duquette:

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Related Research

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 program 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.

Related Studies

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: Pilot study results. American Journal of Public Health, 92(10), 1611–14.

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

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division


Basic Yoga Positions For Beginners Today

By Faye Martins, Jenny Park, and Kimaya Singh

Yoga offers many physical and mental benefits that can transform your life for the better. From improving strength and balance to reducing stress and anxiety, it’s no wonder why millions of people worldwide have embraced this holistic discipline.

Let’s go through the basics of yoga positions specifically designed for beginners. Whether you’re seeking tranquility or simply want to get fit, these foundational poses will set you on the path towards achieving your goals. Clear your mind, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of basic yoga positions!

Benefits of Practicing Yoga for Beginners

When it comes to starting a new fitness journey, yoga is an excellent choice for beginners. Not only does it offer physical benefits, but it also provides a range of mental and emotional advantages. One of the key benefits of practicing yoga is increased flexibility and strength. As a beginner, you may find yourself unable to touch your toes or hold certain poses for long periods of time. However, with regular practice, you will notice improvements in your body’s range of motion and muscular endurance.

Another advantage of yoga is stress reduction. In today’s fast-paced society, many people experience high levels of stress on a daily basis. Yoga offers a peaceful escape from the chaos by allowing you to focus on your breath and be present in the moment. This can help lower cortisol levels and promote relaxation.

Yoga also promotes mindfulness and self-awareness. Through various breathing techniques and meditation practices, beginners can learn to quiet their minds and become more attuned to their thoughts and emotions. This heightened sense of awareness can lead to improved decision-making skills and better overall mental health.

Physical benefits aside, yoga has also been known to improve sleep quality. Many beginners report falling asleep faster and experiencing deeper sleep after incorporating yoga into their routine.

The benefits of practicing yoga for beginners are vast – from increased flexibility and strength to reduced stress levels and improved sleep quality. Whether you’re looking for physical fitness or inner peace, incorporating yoga into your life can have transformative effects on both mind and body.


Preparing for Your First Yoga Class

So, you’ve made the decision to try out yoga and attend your very first class. That’s great! Before you roll out your mat and strike a pose, there are a few things you should know to ensure that your experience is enjoyable and successful.

It’s important to choose the right class for your skill level. As a beginner, look for classes labeled as “beginner-friendly” or “introductory.” These classes will provide a solid foundation of basic poses and techniques while allowing you to gradually build strength and flexibility.

Before attending your first class, take some time to familiarize yourself with common yoga terminology. Understanding terms like “asana” (pose), “pranayama” (breath control), and “savasana” (final relaxation) will help you follow along with ease during the class.

When it comes to what to wear, comfort is key. Opt for clothing that allows freedom of movement without being too loose or restrictive. A pair of stretchy leggings or shorts with a breathable top should do the trick.

Arrive at least 10-15 minutes early for your first class so you have enough time to check in, set up your mat, and get settled in the space. This will also give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the instructor if they’re available before class begins.

Come with an open mind and be patient with yourself as you navigate through this new practice. Remember that yoga is not about comparing yourself to others but focusing on connecting with your body and breathing.

By taking these steps before attending your first yoga class, you’ll be mentally and physically well-prepared for this transformative journey ahead!

Basic Yoga Positions

Mountain Pose, or Tadasana in Sanskrit, is the foundational posture for all standing poses. It may seem simple at first glance – just standing upright with feet together and arms by your sides – but it requires focus and alignment. This pose helps improve posture and balance while grounding you to the earth.

Downward Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, is a staple pose that targets multiple body areas. From strengthening your arms and shoulders to stretching your hamstrings and calves, this inversion pose offers many benefits. It’s also great for calming the mind and relieving stress.

Warrior I pose, or Virabhadrasana I in Sanskrit, embodies strength and power. With one foot forward in a lunge position and the back foot turned slightly inward at an angle of about 45 degrees, this pose engages your entire body. It opens up the hips while building strength in the legs and core.

Tree Pose or Vrikshasana in Sanskrit is excellent for improving physical and mental balance. By placing one foot on your inner thigh or calf (avoiding pressure on the knee), you can challenge yourself to find stability while focusing on a fixed point ahead.

Remember that these basic yoga positions are just starting points on your yoga journey! As you become more comfortable with them over time, feel free to explore variations or move on to more advanced poses under proper guidance from an experienced instructor.

Keep practicing these fundamental poses regularly to build strength, flexibility, and mindfulness – all aspects that will enhance your physical well-being and bring harmony into other areas of life!


Modifications for Beginners

When starting with yoga, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why modifications are crucial to the practice, especially for beginners.

One common modification is using props like blocks and straps to help achieve proper alignment and support. For example, if you find reaching the ground in certain poses difficult, placing a block under your hand can make a world of difference.

Another modification option is taking things at your own pace. Modifying poses by bending knees or lowering down when needed is okay. Remember, yoga is about listening to your body and honoring its limitations.

Breathing deeply throughout each pose is also key. This allows you to stay connected with your body and helps prevent strain or injury.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek guidance from an experienced teacher. They can provide personalized modifications based on your individual needs and goals.

Remember that there’s no rush in mastering all the poses right away – progress takes time! Be patient with yourself and embrace modifications as part of the journey towards building strength, flexibility, and mindfulness through yoga practice.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As a beginner, it’s common to make mistakes when practicing yoga. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls to have a more enjoyable and effective yoga practice.

One mistake many beginners make is trying to force themselves into poses their bodies aren’t ready for. Remember, yoga is about listening to your body and honoring its limitations. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injuries. Instead, focus on balancing effort and ease in each pose.

Another common mistake is neglecting proper alignment. Alignment plays a crucial role in maximizing the benefits of each pose while minimizing strain on your joints and muscles. Take the time to learn proper alignment from an experienced teacher or through online resources.

Breathing incorrectly is also a frequently overlooked mistake. Your breath should guide your movements during yoga practice. It helps you stay present, calm, and connected with your body. Pay attention to your breath throughout each pose, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling fully through your mouth.

Comparing yourself to others in the class can harm your progress as a beginner yogi. Yoga is not a competition; it’s about self-discovery and personal growth. Embrace where you are in your journey without judgment or comparison.

By avoiding these common mistakes – pushing too hard, neglecting alignment, breathing incorrectly, and comparing yourself – you’ll set yourself up for success on the mat! Keep practicing with patience and kindness toward yourself as you navigate this beautiful path of yoga exploration.


Developing a Personal Practice

Now that you have familiarized yourself with some basic yoga positions and gained confidence, it’s time to take the next step: developing a personal practice. This is where you tailor your yoga routine to suit your needs, preferences, and goals.

Creating a personal practice allows you to delve deeper into yoga and explore different styles, poses, and sequences. It allows you to design a routine that aligns with your schedule and caters to your unique body and mind.

Start by setting aside dedicated time each day or week for your practice. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, consistency is critical. Find a quiet space where you can focus without distractions – this could be at home or outdoors if weather permits.

Experiment with various styles of yoga, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, or Yin Yoga. Each style offers its benefits and challenges, so don’t be afraid to try new things. Pay attention to how different poses make you feel both physically and mentally.

To further personalize your practice, consider incorporating meditation or breathing exercises into your routine. These practices can help calm the mind and deepen relaxation during yoga sessions.

Remember that progress takes time; don’t get discouraged if certain poses feel difficult initially. Listen to your body’s cues and modify any pose as needed – yoga has no one-size-fits-all approach.

As part of developing a personal practice, it can also be beneficial to attend workshops or classes led by experienced instructors who can guide you on proper alignment techniques while offering insights on variation options for different skill levels.

Last but most importantly – enjoy the journey! Your practice should bring joy and fulfillment into your life. Explore new postures and experiment with sequences that challenge you yet leave room for growth!


In this ultimate guide to basic yoga positions for beginners, we have explored the wonderful world of yoga and its benefits. We have discussed how practicing yoga can enhance flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. Whether you want to improve your physical fitness or find inner peace and tranquility, yoga is a powerful tool that can transform your life.

Before attending your first yoga class, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Take the time to research different types of classes and find one that resonates with you. Gather the necessary equipment such as a mat and comfortable clothing. And most importantly, approach your practice with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

We have also delved into some basic yoga positions that every beginner should know. From the grounding Mountain Pose to the energizing Warrior I pose, these foundational postures will set you on the path towards mastering more advanced poses in the future. Remember to start slowly, listen to your body’s limits, and always prioritize proper form over pushing yourself too far.

Modifications for beginners ensure a safe practice explicitly tailored for your needs. Don’t be afraid to use props like blocks or straps if they help you maintain alignment or provide support during challenging poses.

As with any new endeavor, there may be common mistakes. But fear not! By being aware of these potential pitfalls – such as forgetting about breathing or comparing oneself to others – you can navigate them skillfully.

Developing a personal practice is key to deepening your understanding of yoga beyond just attending classes. Set aside time each day even if it’s just 10 minutes -to connect with yourself on the mat; experiment with various poses while paying attention to how they make you feel physically and emotionally; explore different styles of meditation or mindfulness practices that complement your physical practice.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Additional Research

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 treating psychiatric disorders. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 91–101.

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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.

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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.

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