Yoga Poses for Beginners – With Easy Instructions

Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - With Easy Instructions

Yoga poses for beginners – with easy instructions

You are looking for yoga poses for beginners. Maybe you’ve never done yoga. You’re curious about the hype. Or perhaps you’ve done yoga and want to master the basics. Here is a list of yoga poses for beginners with instructions.

Mountain pose

  • First, stand with feet together or no more than 1 fist-width apart.
  • Then lean back on the heels, forward on the toes, then side to side. Balance evenly across all parts of both feet.
  • Next, activate the muscles above the knees: the quads.
  • Roll hips back and down, towards your heels. This juts the hips forward. 
  • Then, activate your seat and core.
  • Next, raise shoulders to ears then roll them back and down.
  • Relax the shoulders and relax the chest.
  • Then, place active fingers at your sides, palms facing the body.
  • Next, bring chin parallel to ground, and slightly back.
  • Then, activate finger tips, palms facing sides of the body.
  • Finally, lengthen spine, making yourself taller.

This is your mountain pose:

Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Mountain

Variation:

  • First, from standard mountain pose (above), extend arms overhead.
  • Then, keep arms straight. Don’t let elbows bend, if possible.
  • Next, have palms face each other.
  • Look up past your fingertips.
  • Then, drop head back. No weight in your head: You can shake the head “yes” and “no” easily as the neck muscles are relaxed.
  • Next, make sure your shoulders don’t lift toward your ears. Keep shoulders relaxed, back, and down.
  • Finally, to help remove tension in the shoulders, focus on relaxing the chest, as well.

Below is a variation of mountain, one of the best yoga poses for beginners:

Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Mountain Variation

There are other variations of mountain but these are good yoga poses for beginners.

Triangle yoga pose for beginners

  • First, from mountain pose, jump feet apart about 3-4 feet. You should feel a slight stretch in the legs.
  • Next, extend arms to a “T”, palms facing forward.
  • Then, bring right toes out, to the right, 90 degrees.
  • Next, keep left toes facing forward.
  • Then, keep hips facing forward. Make sure both hip bones are facing the same direction.
  • Next, imagine panes of glass in front and behind. You are stuck between them so your hips can’t jut forward or backward, and they can’t twist left or right.
  • Then, extend the sides of the torso, and hinge from the hip to the right. Lower right hand.
  • Next, place right hand on your ankle, a block, or the floor.
  • Then, point left-hand fingers straight up to the sky.
  • Next, ensure neck is strong, not collapsed.
  • Then, gaze either up past left fingertips (difficult), straight ahead (intermediate), or down at your hand (easier).
  • Next, put weight into left edge of left foot.
  • Then, activate front leg muscle (quad) above right knee. Put weight into right toe.
  • Next, keep lowering right hand down and raising left hand up, deepening the stretch.
  • Then, after one minute or ten breaths, inhale and lead with left arm back up to standing. Exhale, and jump feet together into mountain pose.
  • Finally, repeat on the opposite side.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Triangle Pose

Warrior I yoga pose for beginners

  • First, from mountain pose, jump feet apart about 3-4 feet. You should feel a slight stretch in the legs.
  • Then, spin back heel to ground. Left toes should point out, to the left, at 45 degree angle.
  • Next, put weight into both feet and raise both arms up.
  • Then, bend front knee 90 degrees.
  • Next, ensure back leg is straight and strong.
  • Then, keep hips square, facing forward.
  • Next, straighten arms & elbows, pointing fingers up.
  • Then, bring gaze up. Let weight in head drop back, loose.
  • Next, hold for at least 5 breaths.
  • Then, exhale, hands down to frame front foot.
  • Next, spin left heel up, placing weight on ball of the foot, toes touching the ground.
  • Then, bring front foot back to meet the left, raising hips, coming to downward dog.
  • Finally, repeat on the other side.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Warrior I Pose

Warrior II yoga pose for beginners

  • First, come to Warrior I with right foot in front.
  • Then, spin left foot so toes are to the left 90 degrees (perpendicular to the front foot).
  • Next, open hips. Tuck tailbone down towards ground behind you. This shortens the stomach and lengthens the lower back.
  • Left heel should be in same line as front heel.
  • Bring arms to a “T”, palms facing down.
  • Keep arms straight and strong. Imagine being pulled from fingertips in opposite directions.
  • Then, gaze past right fingertips.
  • Next, hold for at least 5 breaths.
  • Finally, come out of the pose (same way you come out of Warrior I), then repeat on the other side.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Warrior II Pose

Chair – yoga poses for beginners

  • First, stand in mountain pose.
  • Then, inhale and raise arms up overhead.
  • Next, straighten arms & elbows, palms facing each other.
  • Lower hips behind you as if you’re sitting on an invisible chair.
  • Shift weight into the heels.
  • Twist tailbone back and down towards ground behind you. This lengthens the lower back and shortens the stomach.
  • Then, lower hips down further, as far as you can.
  • Take at least 5 deep breaths.
  • Finally, to come out of the pose: inhale, raise hips, and lower arms back to mountain pose.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Chair Pose - Side View
Chair Pose – Side View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Chair Pose - Front View
Chair Pose – Front View

Tree yoga pose for beginners

  • First, stand in mountain pose.
  • Next, shift all weight into left foot and raise right foot up.
  • Then, bring bottom of right foot either to calf or inner thigh. If having trouble balancing you can keep the right big toe touching the ground.
  • Next, do not place bottom of foot anywhere on the knee joint.
  • Then, make sure spine is straight. Imagine one energy line from top of head to bottom of right foot.
  • Then, extend your right knee out to the right, opening the hip.
  • Next, tuck/scoop your tail bone back and in, towards your heels. This will make your lower back longer and your stomach shorter.
  • Find something in front of you that’s not moving. This is where you should fix your gaze.
  • Imagine roots growing from bottom of right foot into the ground. You are strong and stable.
  • Once you have your stability, bring hands to prayer at heart-center.
  • Inhale and raise arms up overhead. Extend fingertips to the corners of your view.
  • Then, sway your arms in the breeze.
  • Stay for at least 5 deep breaths.
  • To come out of the pose bring arms back down to prayer. Bring right knee forward, then trace a line down your leg with the big toe. Step your right foot down with intention, and bring arms down to the side.
  • Finally, repeat on other leg.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Tree Pose

Cat/cow yoga pose for beginners

  • First, come to hands and knees on ground.
  • Then, place palms down, directly under shoulder.
  • Next, bring knees under hips.
  • Then, inhale and look up.
  • Next, curl tail bone up. Imagine trying to point middle of seat towards sky behind you.
  • This is cow pose.
  • Then, exhale, and look towards belly button.
  • Next, tuck tail bone. Imagine trying to point middle of seat towards ground behind you.
  • Then, curve upper back, raising it as high as possible.
  • This is cat pose.
  • Finally, keep taking these movements while alternating breaths. Inhaling into cow, exhaling into cat.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Cat Pose
Cat Pose
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Cow Pose
Cow Pose

Plank yoga pose for beginners

  • First, contact ground with hands and knees.
  • Next, bring palms down, directly under shoulders.
  • Then, extend feet back behind you and rest on pad of feet, toes touching the ground.
  • Imagine you need to keep pushing heels into an invisible wall behind you.
  • Then squeeze abs and obliques.
  • Next, imagine a straight line from shoulders to heels.
  • Finally, ensure hips are not too high up or down.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Plank From Side
Plank pose from the Side
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Plank From Front
Plank pose from the Front

Downward facing dog

  • First, from plank pose, push hands into ground, raise hips up, and push heels towards ground behind you.
  • Next, straighen arms & elbows. Put weight into palms, thumbs, and index fingers.
  • Then, keep pushing ground away with hands.
  • Next, keep trying to raise hips up high. Lengthen through spine.
  • Then, keep bringing heels closer to ground. If already touching, take a small step back, and keep digging heels into ground.
  • Finally, gaze towards navel, keeping ears between biceps.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Downward Facing Dog From Side
Downward Facing Dog From Side
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Downward Facing Dog From Front
Downward Facing Dog From Front

Staff yoga pose for beginners

  • First, sit on the ground with legs extended in front of you.
  • Then, push out through heels.
  • Next, bring toes in towards the body.
  • Then, use leg muscles to push knees down towards the ground. Don’t use hands.
  • Next, sit up tall. Lengthen through the spine and sides of torso. Top of head towards sky.
  • Then, look straight. Tuck chin in and back slightly.
  • Next, trunk should be 90 degrees to the legs, perpendicular to the ground.
  • Finally, rest arms at sides, palms down, near hips. Push through hands into ground, straightening elbows.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses For Beginners - Staff

Seated twist yoga pose for beginners

Getting into the pose

  • First, sit on knees and heels.
  • Then, sit to the right, off your heels. Heels are to your left.
  • Next, loop left leg and place bottom of left foot to the right of the knee that’s on the ground. Keep knee touching the ground.
  • Then, grab left knee with crook of right elbow. Hug knee into chest.
  • Next, check that left sit bone touches the ground without knees lifting from the ground. If yes, skip the next instruction.
  • If sit bone doesn’t touch the ground without lifting the knees, use left hand to straighten the leg with the knee that’s lifted. Once that leg is straight, push from the heel and bring toes towards you.
  • Next, inhale and raise left hand up. Exhale and place left hand behind you. Make as much contact with your spine as possible with the left arm. Left palm should be right up against your seat, fingers facing behind.
  • Then, inhale and raise right hand up. Exhale and twist to the left from the belly button first, then shoulders, then neck.

Adjustments while in the pose

  • Next, lower right arm so it’s using raised knee as a brace to help deepen the twist.
  • Then, if you can, with right hand, reach for the knee or foot touching the ground and push against it to deepen the twist. If you can’t reach, just place on the ground wherever you can.
  • Next, as you inhale, imagine lengthening your spine up.
  • Then, as you exhale, twist left, from the belly button first.
  • Next, bring your gaze as far left as you can.
  • Then, to deepen the twist push raised knee to the right.
  • Next, keep your two sit bones and bottom knee connected to the ground.
  • Finally, take 5 breaths.

Coming out of the pose

  • First, when ready to come out of the pose, inhale and raise both arms to a T and start counter-twisting to the right. Exhale and place hands as far as you can twisting to the right. Place both palms down on the ground then bring your forehead to touch.
  • Next, inhale and lift hands and head back up.
  • Finally, loop left leg back around so you can sit on your knees and heels. Perform the twist on the other side.
Seated Twist – Front View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Seated Twist - Back View
Back View

Seated forward bend yoga pose for beginners

  • First, come to staff pose.
  • Then inhale, raising arms straight up, fingers towards sky.
  • Next, lengthen arms up, stretching the back. Shoulders should be back and relaxed, chest forward.
  • Then, exhale, bending knees if-needed to touch chest.
  • Next, inhale, grab big toes with first two fingers. Use thumbs to lock fingers around big toes. If you can’t reach toes place fingers where you can – tops of feet, shins, knees, or thighs. Don’t over-stretch. Keep shoulders back.
  • Next exhale, straighten legs, pushing heels away from you. Lower chest and elbows towards ground.
  • Then, if hamstrings and back are flexible, elbows will touch the ground and knees will straighten.
  • If hamstrings and/or back are not flexible, that’s ok, elbows may not touch ground and knees may remain slightly bent.
  • Next, keep looking forward past toes as you breathe.
  • Then, take at least 5 breaths.
  • Finally, to come out, inhale both arms up overhead and extend legs out at the heels. Exhale, bringing arms to side in staff pose.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Seated Forward Bend - Front
Seated Forward Bend – Front View

Variation:

  • First, come to staff pose.
  • Then inhale, raising arms overhead.
  • Next, exhale, bringing arms forward and down, with a straight back.
  • Don’t let the back curl in the middle. Keep the back straight.
  • As soon as you can’t go deeper without curving the back, inhale back up, arms overhead to the sky.
  • Next, repeat exhaling down with flat back, then inhaling up, 2 more times.
  • After 3rd time, exhale down as far as you can with flat back.
  • Then keep back flat, drop arms down to wherever they land – past toes, at the ankles, shins, knees – whatever.
  • Next, don’t curve back. Look straight ahead. Breathe into the chest and suck the belly in. Keep belly in, breathing only into the chest.
  • Finally, after at least 5 deep breaths come out of the pose by inhaling arms overhead, then exhaling down to sides.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Seated Forward Bend - Side View
Seated Forward Bend – Side View

There are other variations of seated forward bend but these two variations are good yoga poses for beginners.

Cobra yoga pose for beginners

  • First, lay down on stomach.
  • Next, bring palms to the ground, underneath shoulders, fingers facing forward and in-line with top of shoulder.
  • Then, point elbows up towards the sky. Keep them close to the body.
  • Next, flatten feet. Toes should be facing behind you. Extend toes back as far as possible. Keep feet together and connected to the ground.
  • Then dig hips down towards ground.
  • Next, connect your forehead to the ground.
  • Then, inhale, graze your nose, then your chin, then lift your chest up.
  • Next, keep hips connected to the ground. Don’t lift hips off the ground.
  • Then, keep shoulders away from ear. Lift up and out from shoulders.
  • Next, keep elbows close to the body.
  • Finally, bring head up and back. The goal is to look up, then behind you.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Cobra - Side View
Cobra – Side View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Cobra - Front View
Cobra – Front View

Child’s pose

  • First, rest on hands and knees on the ground.
  • Next, bring knees as wide as comfortable, big toes touch behind you.
  • Then, lower hips down towards your heels and the ground.
  • Extend arms overhead, palms down, fingers are facing forward and spread wide.
  • Next, connect your forehead to the ground.
  • You can push hands down into ground and keep elbows up to deepen the pose. Or, let elbows drop to the ground and don’t push into the hands.
  • Stay for at least 5 breaths.
  • Finally, to come out of the pose, inhale, and slowly lift up onto hands and knees.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Child’s Pose - Side View
Child’s Pose – Side View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Child’s Pose - Front View
Child’s Pose – Front View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Child’s Pose - Back View
Finally, child’s Pose – Back View

Variation:

  • Same as above, but keep knees touching together, and bring arms to sides of body, hands by hips, palms facing up.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Child’s Pose Variation - Side View
Child’s Pose Variation – Side View
Child’s Pose Variation – Front View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Child’s Pose Variation - Back View
Finally, child’s Pose Variation – Back View

Bridge yoga pose for beginners

  • First, lay on ground on your back, toes pointing up towards sky, arms straight at sides, palms down.
  • Next, bend knees and bring bottoms of feet to the ground. Feet should be hips-width distance apart, and parallel.
  • Then, bring heels close enough to seat that you can brush them with fingertips.
  • Inhale, raising hips up. Try to aim center of chest behind you.
  • Activate leg muscles to raise seat with every inhale.
  • Then, ease into new higher position with every exhale.
  • Next, take at least 5 deep breaths.
  • Finally, to come out of the pose, exhale hips down, then straighten legs.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Bridge Pose - Side View
Bridge Pose – Side View

Variation 1:

  • First, from bridge, bring shoulder blades together under the back.
  • Then, bring shoulders underneath body, resting weight on them.
  • Next, interlace fingers together into a fist underneath body.
  • Keep pushing fist towards ground.
  • Finally, when ready to come out of the pose, un-interlace fingers, separate shoulder blades, and move shoulders out from under the body. Place palms on ground, lower hips, then straighten legs.
Bridge Pose – Front View

There are other variations of bridge pose but these two variations are good yoga poses for beginners.

Wheel yoga pose for beginners

  • First, come to bridge pose.
  • Then, bring hands, with palms facing the ground, to the left and right of ears, with fingers facing same direction as toes.
  • Next, inhale lifting hips up. Push hands into ground and bring head to ground, looking behind you.
  • Exhale, push hands into ground and lift head off ground.
  • Then straighten arms & elbows.
  • Next, look between hands and keep ears between biceps.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.
  • When ready to come out of the pose bring chin to chest, curling the head up towards sky.
  • Then, aim to land on upper back first, then hips, then head.
  • Finally, straighten legs and arms down.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses For Beginners - Wheel

Happy Baby yoga pose for beginners

  • First, lay on back.
  • Then, bring bottoms of feet up so they’re pointing at the sky, toes pointing behind your head.
  • Next, bend knees, grab outer edges of both feet or however it’s comfortable for you.
  • Then, gently rock left and right.
  • Next, massage back, hips, shoulders, and spine – whatever needs massaging from you.
  • Then, try and keep hips and lower back on the ground while keeping shoulder blades and head on the ground.
  • Finally, for a deeper stretch try to roll left knee as close to the ground to your left as possible, bending deeply at the knee, hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Happy Baby - Front View
Happy Baby – Front View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Happy Baby - Side View
Happy Baby – Side View

There are other variations of child’s pose but these two variations are good yoga poses for beginners.

Corpse yoga pose for beginners

  • First, lay down on your back.
  • Next, close your eyes.
  • Then, bring heels wide (about yoga mat width apart) and let your toes fall out to the sides.
  • Connect shoulder blades together under your back.
  • Move your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Relax your shoulders. Relax your chest.
  • Arms are at your sides, about 45 degrees out from the body.
  • Palms facing up.
  • Then, bring your awareness to your breath. Don’t judge or try to alter the breath. Just notice it. Then accept it, exactly how it is in reality.
  • Let thoughts occur in the mind. Don’t try to push them away. Just as you did with the breath, observe your thoughts. Then accept them. Don’t identify with your thoughts. They don’t define you. They are not really yours. You can’t control them. But you can control your reactions to your thoughts. Be the observer of your thoughts. The person behind the mind. Behind the body. Behind the ego and intellect. Remember who you really are. You are infinite. Divine. All-powerful. All-knowing. Everywhere. And nowhere. Beyond time. Beyond space. You are light. Everlasting. You are exactly where you should be right now. And you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Finally, you are already pure perfection. Complete potential. Energy. Silence. And bliss.
  • Finally, stay in corpse pose for at least 5 minutes.
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Corpse Pose - Side View
Corpse Pose – Side View
Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga Poses for Beginners - Corpse Pose - Front View
Corpse Pose – Front View

Learning more

If you wish to learn more yoga poses for beginners join a yoga teacher training in India at Shanti Yoga School. Learn more about trainings here.

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