The Best Yoga Poses for Beginners: 18 Simple Asanas to Try (Today!)

Geoffrey Lions
Written by
Last update:

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

It may not seem like much of a stretch (pardon the pun), but mountain pose is actually an extremely important part of any yoga routine. It’s common for yoga practitioners to spend a few minutes perfecting this pose and taking the time to relax and center themselves before moving on with their routine.

Mountain Pose is the first pose beginners learn. It is performed with legs straight and standing up tall with your chest lifted and back straight. The arms are held loosely by your sides or stretched overhead. The mountain pose is believed to stimulate the thyroid gland and tone the muscles and tendons of the entire body. It also helps regulate respiratory and nervous systems.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

In this pose, you balance on your hands and feet. You can do yoga poses for beginners with your knees on the floor or your legs straight and bring your full weight into the hands. This is the perfect pose for a yoga workout because it strengthens the muscles of the arms, back, hips, abdomen, and legs. When you press the arms into the floor, the chest opens and the shoulders broaden. This should happen naturally because the energy settles and relaxes through the space created in the chest and shoulder area. The result is better posture, more strength and stability, and a stronger center.

Engaging Downward Facing Dog Pose for Beginners:

{1}. Lie on your stomach with your knees close together and your hands stretched out in front of you.
{2}. Push the bottoms of the feet down and the tops of the feet away from you.
{3}. Keep both of the legs straight or you can bend the knees if you are a beginner.
{4}. You can actually flex the toes for more mobility.
{5}. Press the hands into the floor and your shoulder blades against the back.
{6}. Keep your head between your arms.
{7}. Exhale and lift the hips up.
{8}. Pull in the core to prevent the lower back from arching.
{9}. The chin should be parallel to the floor.

Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

The plank pose is one of the most recommended poses for beginners. The plank is easy to learn and will help you improve back and abdominal muscles. It’s also excellent for reading your body, and you will understand your body better by practicing it.

Lie down on your stomach, arms stretched forward. Lift yourself from the floor by putting your weight on the palms and toes. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Come down and relax for a while.

You can do the pose for 3 to 5 minutes in the beginning, gradually increasing the time.

You can also do the plank with straight arms, placing the palms at shoulder level, and then lift your arms straight.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Draw your belly button toward your spine and press your palms into the floor beneath your shoulders. Then raise your head upward and look forward. Keep your inner thighs grounded and lift through your chest and shoulders.

It’s the back of your body that’s will feel this pose. Pilates, swimming, and yoga are excellent ways to strengthen the back of the body. Backbends are difficult for people that are not used to them. Remember, the lower back is the foundation for the body and the spine.

Hound Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana) – Simply said the "Downward Facing Dog". Opening the chest, lengthening the back of the arms, and stretching and separating the legs, this pose is a great beginner backbend. It’s a variation of the Plank/Chaturanga Dandasana as it works all of the same muscles in the back of the body.

If you haven’t already, learn how to fold your mat and place it on the floor for these poses. You’ll save your hands from possible injury.

Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana)

An exercise that you can do in your comfy home, Chakra vakasana will effectively help you work on your back and neck muscles. Doing this pose will also make your spine flexible and reduce the risk of injury.

Bend your back and neck toward the ceiling. Bend your back a little more than your neck. Make sure to bend your neck so that it is as close to the ceiling as possible. This position will help open up your chest, which will, in turn, help your breathing become deeper and more relaxing.

Hold this position for roughly ten seconds. Return to your normal position and then do another set of this exercise.

The Chakra vakasana also helps relieve stiffness and tension in your neck, and it is a great exercise for beginners.

Staff Pose (Dandasana)

(aka: “Table pose”)

Sometimes you just need to start from the beginning. Staff pose is the perfect pose for those new to yoga.

What does it do? Beneficial in strengthening the spine and increasing mobility.

How to do it:

Start seated cross-legged. Ensure your weight is equally distributed on your sit bones, and inner thighs.

Now, take your hands behind you, up, and interlace your fingers.

Widen the space between your heels, and widen the space between your toes.

Relax your shoulders and ground your toes.

Breathe deeply. Hold for at least five breaths.

Release your hands, and sit up on an inhalation.

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The supported bridge pose is an intense backbend that strengthens the muscles of your back. In this pose, you fold your arms and place your palms flat on the mat to the side of your shoulders. You lift your hips up to a 45-degree angle to the ground and then walk your feet forward. The position of your shoulders and the placement of your arms should form a T-shape.

You will like how strong and stable you feel after you do this pose, and you should take the time to relax here when possible.

Seated Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

The Seated Spinal Twist Pose Ardha Matsyendrasana helps with digestion, prevents constipation and keeps the heart healthy. It also helps in stretching the back and spine and helps relieve any pain caused due to poor posture. The stretch helps relieve stress and tension in the back and neck and the twist helps to keep your spine healthy and flexible. This pose is best done in the morning when your body is fresh. You can also do it before going to bed to relax your body and fall asleep quickly.

How To:

{1}. Take a wide seated position on the mat.
{2}. Sit straight with knees evenly placed on the floor.
{3}. Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the left thigh.
{4}. Then place your left hand on the left thigh with the palm facing down.
{5}. Twist the upper body to the left and place your left hand on the floor for support.
{6}. Lift your right arm up and place it outside your left knee.
{7}. Rest your head on the right shoulder.
{8}. Remain like this for a few seconds and slowly lift your head backwards.
{9}. Hold and breathe normally. Then release the pose.

How it works:

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Happy Baby Pose is an asana that is useful for arthritis or rheumatism. It is also one of the poses used for general back pain. Sitting in this pose is calming and relaxing, and helps 'ground' feelings of anxiety, stress, stretchiness and fear. This is one of the best yoga poses for beginners.

Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Koṇāsana)

__ Sitting on the heels, each hand on its respective knee (righthand on right knee, left hand on left knee): This is a simple pose that can also be used as an alternative to stretching one’s hamstrings, as it stretches them. It is recommended that one keep the back straight, but not too tense; a flat back is the best position.

Benefits of the Pose: Not only does this pose stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, but it also helps to ease menstrual cramps and to combat fatigue. It can help to correct flat feet as well.

Note: The toes of the feet should point outward. You should never force your legs open…they must open gradually with time.

Benefits of the Pose: This pose opens up the groin, hips and knees, and it does not require a huge amount of flexibility (as long as the back is not hunched up). The knees should be level.

Note: Never force the back arch in this pose. Concentrate on opening the hips and stretching the back muscles.

Benefits of the Pose: It helps to relieve backaches and aches and pains in the lower back, and it relieves the symptoms of sciatica. It also improves the health of muscles and joints throughout the back.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

The Child’s Pose (Balasana) is probably one of the simplest yoga postures to do, however, it’s also one of the most effective.

Most people think of yoga as something that is hard to learn, but really, it’s all about the breathing.

When you think of the Child’s Mode, imagine a healthy and safe place where you can forget all your worries and just let yourself be who you really are.

The pose is a meditative position that has a lot of physical and mental benefits for you.

It helps to relax the body and mind and you can hold it for as long as you need.

It also adds flexibility and works on the whole spine, including the neck, back, and abdominal muscles.

If you’re a beginner, then the Child’s Pose is one of the best ones to try.

The other great thing about it is that you can do it anywhere, even at your desk at work.

Practice it during your lunch break if you find yourself stressed and frazzled from dealing with all your deadlines and responsibilities.

Supine Pigeon Pose (Supta Kapotasana)

Lie down on your front with your hips and knees bent, and feet wider than hip-width apart.

Exhale, and lower one knee to the floor.

Grab the thigh of that leg, and pull it in towards your chest.

If you can, take hold of the outer shin, and pull it in towards your chest.

If your foot is still on the floor, grab the back of your foot as well.

Hold for 15 seconds, and then return to your starting position.

Repeat on the other side.

Tree Pose (Vriksasana)

This pose is largely considered to be the most challenging pose for a beginner. But with the right amount of patience and practice, the Tree Pose will soon become familiar territory.

The first thing to do is to stand with your feet together and bring your arms out to just above shoulder height and the palms flat. You’ll want to point your fingers towards your toes.

Now slowly start to lift one foot off the ground, either pointing it towards the sky or towards the floor.
You’ll want to get your knee as close to the ground as possible, with it resting against your ankle. You should also be able to get your toes rested against your ankle.

This pose should really help you to stretch out your legs so if you feel it’s too hard, allow yourself to continue to practice and you should feel like you’re getting more flexible.

Next up on our list of poses for beginners is the Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana).

High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

The Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana is a standing yoga pose that stretches and opens up the hip flexor and groin areas. It also firms up the thighs. You will feel this pose in a good stretch from the butt to the quads. When this pose is done correctly and with an even flow of breath, all the breathing cycles are calmed after several breaths.

Benefits to Your Body

The Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana is good for those who are looking to get rid of edema and swelling. It helps to regain a normal blood pressure. The pose, when done in a sequence or preceded by a few other poses, aids in proper body alignment. This is a beneficial pose for the hips and legs because it helps to restore their flexibility and strength.

Benefits to Your Mind

The Utthita Ashwar Sanchalanasana is a fairly basic pose, yet it is beneficial for those who are new to yoga. The main issue with beginners is that they lack flexibility and strength. This pose helps in both those areas. It is beneficial for those who have just started yoga, as it will help them maintain their practice and keep on improving as they move higher up the ladder.

Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

The triangle pose is one of the most fundamental and simple poses in yoga. It can be performed face down (like shown above), or face up.

The exercise is named triangle, because your body looks like a triangle when you do it right. To begin the exercise, begin by standing upright, and then bring one foot forward. You can either have your feet together or legs spread apart a bit in a wider stance.

Inhale and raise your arms. Your hands should be touching above your head, as if you were touching the ceiling. While you hold your breath, stretch your right upturned arm out as far as you can.

Exhale, and then slowly bend to the right while trying to hold your breath out for as long as you can during the movement. With your left arm, stretch across your body to the empty space of the right arm and try to hold your left elbow with your right hand. If this isn’t possible for you, then just wrap your right hand around your left wrist. Hold this position for as long as you can. This is the biggest part of the exercise. After you’ve reached the end of the movement, inhale and change sides, stretching out your left arm first and then bending to the left and trying to hold your breath out while you bend.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Targets: Thighs, torso, and nervous system

Benefits: Improves flexibility and strong posture, calms the brain, stretches the hamstrings

Seated forward bend is a good pose for beginners because it helps you become more flexible. After establishing a solid base in this pose, you can go on to more complicated poses.

When performed correctly, you will feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings and thighs. This will lead to more limbering and warming down of your lower body in preparation for more challenging postures.

You can also be more focused during seated forward bends if you are closed or lightly open your eyes. By doing this, you create a sense of meditative calm and relaxation.

Begin seated forward bend by sitting on the floor with one leg in front of the other. Bring your right foot to rest on the inside of your left thigh. Keep your palms on your knees and extend your spine. Look down at the floor.

This is the basic pose. Feel free to take time and enjoy the stretch. Release any tension you are holding, preferably through your belly.

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

What It Does:Invites relaxation and healing. This pose opens the hips, releases tension from the spine, and calms the mind. It allows you to settle deeply and release the discomfort associated with sitting cross-legged, slouched, or in an office chair.

How to Do It:

Find a quiet space, and fold a yoga mat lengthwise two or three times to elevate your hips (a folded blanket works, too). Pile a few blankets underneath your hips, and lie down. Prop yourself on your elbow, and lay your head, neck, and spine on the floor. Gently lift your legs up the wall, and rest your feet with toes turned out. Allow your feet and legs to release, and then allow your knees to touch the floor. Breathe deeply for 5 to 20 minutes.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Corpse Pose is the best known and most useful pose in yoga. It is also called Savasana or “the relaxation pose”. When your body is still in Corpse Pose, it is more likely to experience physical and mental healing, as well as emotional release.

When done correctly, Corpse Pose relaxes the entire body, inviting a state of deep restfulness while the mind likewise slows down and is more likely to be enticed by internal conversations that may or may not be helpful.

It is considered that the pose works quietly and patiently on all the major systems in the body – circulatory, endocrine, respiratory, digestive, and nervous – so that, after a thorough inner cleaning, the body can return to its normal routine from a state of balance and well-being. You don’t have to be super flexible to do this pose, but it is essential to take your time and receive the complete benefits from its practice.