10 Yoga Poses for Beginners (+ a Free Yoga Sequence Library)

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

There’s a first time for everything and today’s first will be doing….

Yoga

Key word here friends… today, not tomorrow, not the next day, but right now.

All firsts are scary.

I vividly remember my first yoga class and it wasn’t pretty…. but I came back to my mat, day after day, week after week and with time, the practice became natural, graceful, and so incredibly rewarding.

Like anything we do in life, the more we practice and stay consistent, the easier and more natural it will become. This is definitely true with yoga.

Before we get into the physical postures and how to do them, I want to stress the points below.

  • Yoga is a practice for all ages, shapes, and sizes.
  • Yoga doesn’t discriminate.
  • The practice can benefit everyone – even if it’s just breathing, quieting the mind, and reducing stress.
  • Yoga is not about bending the body into a pretzel shape. 
  • Like any physical activity, a consistent yoga practice will yield weight loss, toning, strengthening, and flexibility. But the real work is how we practice yoga off our mats, this is where it truly matters.
  •  The postures and their names will sound like alien talk at first. This is normal. Everyone is lost the first couple of classes and that’s part of the fun, the unknown.

So with all that in mind….. roll out your yoga mat, play some funky tunes, and get moving!

Below are 10 yoga poses for beginners to help inspire, motivate, and clear up any confusion.

And if you’re someone who is seeking more yoga information + inspiration, grab your free yoga sequence library below. This library is packed full with helpful yoga sequences and matching yoga videos to go along with them. Simply click the picture, enter your information, and it’s coming your way!

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1. Child’s Pose

Sanskrit name: Bālāsana

How to do the pose (from tabletop):

  1. Bring big toes together to touch.
  2. Send the hips back over the heels.
  3. Take the knees wide to open and stretch the hips or keep knees together to lengthen and stretch the low back.
  4. Extend arms straight out to the front of the mat.
  5. Gently rest the forehead on the ground, keeping length in the back of the neck.
  6. Let the chest melt down.
  7. Relax the entire body, feel supported by the ground beneath you, and melt into the space that’s being created.

Benefits:

  • Massages the abdominal organs, kidneys, and adrenal glands.
  • Good for cramps and constipation.
  • Heals, relaxes and rejuvenates the entire body.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

2. Downward Facing Dog

Sanskrit name: Adho mukha śvānāsana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin in tabletop position with shoulders stacked over wrists and hips aligned over knees.
  2. Curl the toes under and spread the fingertips as wide as possible.
  3. Exhale – send the hips back and high as you straighten the legs.
  4. Engage the entire arms – rolling the upper arm outwards & melting shoulders away from the ears.
  5. Lengthen the backside of your legs, letting the hamstrings towards the back of the mat and keeping a slight bend in the knees.
  6. Head and neck should be completely relaxed – let it hang heavy.
  7. Inhale and send the breath up the front side body, exhale send it down the back side body.
  8. Continue to breathe and find stillness here.

Benefits:

  • Creates integration and balance between the upper and lower body.
  • Strengthens and stretches the legs and shoulders.
  • Calming for the nervous system.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

3. Upward Facing Dog

Sanskrit Term: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin lying on the stomach with palms face down by the lower ribs and the feet toe nail side down.
  2. Spread the fingertips wide, roll the shoulders away from the ears and onto the back, and engage the core by guiding bellybutton back to spine.
  3. Focus on the fingertips, use the entire hand for support, and press down firmly between the index finger and thumbs.
  4. On the inhale breath, simultaneously lengthen and lift the chest – forward and up to the sky.
  5. Push into the tops of the feet, engage the legs and lift the knees off the ground, zip up through the core, and continue to roll the shoulders onto the back.
  6. Gaze forward and gently up – be careful to not crank the neck.
  7. Breathe into the open space being created.

Benefits:

  • Creates spinal health as long as the forces are distributed evenly.
  • Provides a massage and opening for the endocrine system.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

4. Warrior 1

Sanskrit name: Virabhadrasana I

How to do the pose (from tadasana):

  1. Begin in mountain pose at the top of the mat and bring hands to rest on the hips.
  2. Step the left leg back – 2 to 4 feet – depending on flexibility and strength.
  3. Plant the back left foot at a 45 degree angle, root down through the outer edge of the foot and feeling a gentle lift of the inner arch and ankle.
  4. Bend the right leg and stack knee over ankle.
  5. Guide the right knee to the right pinky toe and feel the inner right leg open and strengthen here.
  6. Keep the back leg super strong and engaged – think warrior here!
  7. Begin to square the hips towards the front of the mat. *This is the most challenging aspect of this pose, be patient and honor your body!
  8. Raise the arms overhead, keep fingertips active, melt shoulders away from the ears, and pinky fingers rotate inwards.
  9. Root down through both feet to find extension and expansion both vertically and horizontally.
  10. Gaze can be straight out on the horizon or gently up to the sky.

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Benefits:

  • Develops flexibility in the hips and shoulders as it enhances stability.
  • Tones the abdominal organs.
  • Teaches us to face life with an open heart – directly and honestly.

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5. Warrior II

Sanskrit name: Virabhadrasana II

How to do the pose (from down dog):

  1. Begin in downward facing dog – inhale the right leg in between both hands.
  2. Exhale – rise up and windmill the hands open to a T shape.
  3. Open the body to left side of the mat and square the hips in this direction.
  4. Bend the right knee and stack knee over ankle.
  5. Bring special attention to the knee – guide it to the right pinky toe, make sure it doesn’t collapse inwards.
  6. Plant the back left foot at a 45 degree angle.
  7. Engage the entire leg to support the posture.
  8. Center the trunk of the body over the perineum – not leaning forward or backwards. *If unsure of the body’s placement, tick-tock from front to back, then find stillness in the center.
  9. Position arms to a T shape and roll the shoulders back and down.
  10. Keep both arms active from fingertip to fingertip.
  11. Slightly tuck the tailbone and engage the core.
  12. Gaze is soft and positioned over the right middle finger. Breatheeeee.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens and aligns the shoulders, legs, pelvis, and hips.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

6. Triangle Pose

Sanskrit name: Trikonasana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin in Warrior II with the right foot forward.
  2. Straighten the front leg and keep arms in a T shape.
  3. On an exhale breath, begin to move the chest and right hand as far forward as possible, creating length and space in the body.
  4. Send the left hip high and the right hip to the back of the mat.
  5. Windmill the right arm down to the shin, floor, big toe, or a block & send the left hand high to the sky.
  6. Arms are in line with one another, shoulders stacking on top of one another, and fingertips active.
  7. Imagine the tailbone is melting down towards the back left foot and your body is pressed between two panes of glass – making one straight line.
  8. Gaze can be wherever the neck is comfortable – straight out, at the ground, or up towards the left thumb.

Benefits:

  • Aligns the legs, hips, and arms.
  • Tractions the spine and creates gentle rotation from a lengthened position.
  • Works with all of the respiration muscles to create fuller breathing.
  • Balances the entire being physically and energetically.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

7. Chair Pose

Sanskrit name: Utkatasana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin in mountain pose, on an inhale breath – bend the knees, drop the hips, and lift the chest.
  2. Extend arms towards the sky, keep fingertips active, and relax shoulders away from the ears.
  3. Glance down at the toes – make sure they are visible and knees aren’t surpassing them.
  4. Bring all of your weight into the heels.
  5. Gently tuck the tailbone here – no banana back shapes.
  6. Zip up through the core and lengthen both the front and back side body.
  7. Practice a strong breath here to support the posture – this is a tough one!

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the supporting muscles of all the major joints in the body
  • Develops core strength.
  • Massages the abdominal organs and builds digestive fire.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

8. Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Sanskrit name: Prasarita Padottanasana

How to do to the pose:

  1. Begin in mountain pose at the front of the mat.
  2. Step the left foot back, 3  to 4 feet, and turn both feet to face the left side of the mat.
  3. Position the feet with toes in & heels out and press the big toes into the ground (feel the inner thighs fire up).
  4. Brings hands to hips, inhale to lengthen and open the chest, and exhale to fold forward.
  5. Hands can stay on the hips, come to the floor, or peace fingers can wrap around the big toes.
  6. Engage the quadriceps to protect the hamstrings.
  7. Keep your weight in the toes and out of the heels.
  8. Relax the head & neck and breathe into the posture!

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Benefits:

  • Strengthens and stabilize the legs.
  • Lengthens the hamstrings and inner thigh muscles.
  • Tractions the spine and hydrates the spinal discs.
  • Circulates fluids and energy to the trunk and head.
  • Invigorates the brain.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

9. Crescent Pose

Sanskrit name: Ashwa sanchalasana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin in mountain pose at the front of the mat and step the left foot back 2 to 4 feet.
  2. Stay on the ball of the left foot with the heel pointing towards the sky and foot flexed.
  3. Square the hips to the front of the mat.
  4. Gently tuck the tailbone and bring bellybutton back to the spine to protect the low back.
  5. The back left leg can be straight or slightly bent – do whatever feels right for the low back!
  6. Right foot is rooted firmly into the ground and knee is stacked over the ankle.
  7. Arms extend overhead with fingertips active and pinky fingers spiraling inwards.
  8. Melt the shoulders away from the ears.
  9. Gaze softly straight out or up to the fingertips.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens and aligns the legs.
  • Opens the hip joints in extension and flexion.
  • Helpful for sciatica.
  • Massages the digestive and reproductive organs and is helpful for elimination.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!

10. Pigeon Pose

Sanskrit name: Kapotāsana

How to do the pose:

  1. Begin in tabletop pose – bring right knee to right wrist and left foot towards left wrist.
  2. Let the left knee melt down and slide the left leg back.
  3. Let the hips melt down towards the ground, use a block here if the hips are tight.
  4. If flexibility in the hip permits – the right shin can works towards parallel with the front of the mat.
  5. Bring fingertips to either side of the body, lift the chest, and puff the chest up like a pigeon.
  6. Lengthen the spine, slowly walk the hands forward, and bring the chest to rest over the right leg.
  7. Rest the head to the ground or a block.
  8. Breathe into the right hip and relax into the posture.

Benefits:

  • Opens the hip joints.
  • Provides a powerful stretch and opening for the glutes and piriformis muscle, which can be helpful for sciatica.
  • Massages the digestive and reproductive organs and helpful for elimination.

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now! 10 Yoga Poses for Beginners - Pin now, start your yoga journey now!


10 Yoga Poses for Beginners: Pin now, learn 10 traditional and common yoga postures with a step-by-step tutorial!

Holy information overload.

I know that was a lot of alignment cues, steps, foreign terms, and loads of movement. I suggest doing a few poses at a time and easing yourself into the practice. And remember, if you’re wanting more yoga information + inspiration, download the free yoga sequence library to get started today.

Let’s Talk – What poses did you try first? Which poses are your staples and go-tos? What poses are your biggest challenge?

Leave any questions, comments, or general yoga love down below.

Until next time – xoxo.

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Allie - The Journey Junkie

Allie is the creator + soul behind The Journey Junkie Community. She is a sucker for all things life - movement, sunshine, creativity, and connection. Allie's deepest desire is for you to embrace the idea of intention setting, false belief breaking, and dream making! Through sharing her journey - wholeheartedly & unapologetically - she hopes to inspire & shape your journey!

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45 Discussion to this post

  1. Jaylene says:

    I need to know where you got that top/bodysuit? 🙂

  2. Ric B says:

    As a newbie how long should i hold each pose? Thanks

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      I recommend whatever feels good in your body, but I like to hold five expansive breaths!

  3. Keith says:

    I appreciate your introduction to yoga. I use five of the poses, but I am somewhat limited because of knee and hip replacement. Do you suggest additional movements that will facilitate those types of limitations? Do you suggest a site for those like me who want to learn more but who are 65 years old, with some artificial parts in the legs and hips?

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Keith, I definitely recommend Yoga International, it’s a great site with loads of intelligent, credible knowledge! I hope that helps and enjoy your yoga journey!

  4. Mel says:

    How long do you do each pose?

  5. Uzzal Besra says:

    The Topic is very informative. I read all your articles very carefully. The website is very user friendly. Thanks for sharing the resource.

  6. Hey,
    I really appears your instruction is peaceful and I’m started to trying it. Please write more helpful method. Thanks

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi, I recommend checking out my Youtube channel – The Journey Junkie – you’ll find a lot more instruction here!

  7. Lesia says:

    Allie,
    My dear cousin sent me this link. I am trying to get started into yoga. Your information was very precise and very helpful. Thanks so much!!

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Lesia – so happy your cousin led you to here & that you’re ready to get on the yoga journey! I highly recommend signing up for the 30 Pose Journey – it’s 30 short video tutorials to learn 30 poses! This will help you a lot, I promise!

  8. Cassidy Mae says:

    Love it! And love your outfit! It looks so comfortable and movable ! Can you share where you got it? Thanks!

  9. Lindsay says:

    Do you have a list of more advanced balancing poses?

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Lindsay! Funny you ask… I’ll actually be offering a free download with 20 advanced postures to try! Check back in a few and I’ll have the guide available.

      Thanks for stopping by – xoxo!

  10. Ahmed says:

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing, I very much like the way you describe the poses. The trick is also in the breathing. How do you manage to sync the poses and the inhale-exhale breathing that goes with them!

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Ahmed – you’re so welcome! Thanks for stopping by and leaving some love!

      For syncing the breath – you want to come into a posture on an inhale breath, settle in on the exhale breath. On the inhale, you want to find length through the spine and crown of the head, and on the exhale – settle into the space you created!

      I hope that helps!

  11. […] Exercise: 10 Yoga Poses for Beginners. Not only are there pictures of each post, she also explains the health […]

  12. Jean Heavrin says:

    How long is each pose held?

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Jean – I recommend holding each pose for at least 5 breaths, possibly 10 (or work up to 10). And 5 breaths should be about 30 seconds, make them nice, long, and deep!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Nicole says:

    Amazing post. I just finished the routine. I feel great. Thanks!

  14. yogaposebid says:

    Good stuff, thanks… I’ve been a weight lifter for 30 years now, but as I’ve aged my joints are not liking the weight lifting anymore, getting little injuries all the time

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi – so happy this could be helpful! I barely weight light and still feel joint pain, so I can only imagine yours. I recommend incorporating yoga into your weekly workout routines, with consistency and patience, your joints should start to feel less tension.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Yoga En casa says:

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after browsing through many of the posts I
    realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be
    bookmarking it and checking back regularly!
    Yoga En casa recently posted…Yoga En casaMy Profile

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi there – well I’m definitely thrilled that you found me, even if it’s for the second time!

      Thanks for stopping by & please keep coming back for more! Have a great weekend 🙂

  16. Heather says:

    Great list for starters. Thanks!

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Thanks Heather! Please share if you know anyone who’s starting their yoga journey!

      • Lisa says:

        Love this site! I am just starting. I am a dental hygienist and was told that yoga would be good for my back and neck! Where can I purchase a good, thick yoga mat?

        • The Journey Junkie says:

          Hi Lisa – thank you for stopping by and showing some love! And yes, yoga will help reverse a lot of our daily habits from working, so please – get to moving and breathing! Just jump into it 🙂

          And I wrote a post about yoga mats, check it out here! My favorite is the Liforme mat, it’s a bit pricey, but well worth the investment!

          Have a beautiful week ahead and enjoy your journey!

  17. anna says:

    Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 are the yoga poses I like the most. Though I only spend couple of days a week and perform yoga.

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Anna – thanks for stopping by! And I LOVE both of those poses – they’re so strong & empowering, yet calming at the same time! And a couple days a week is awesome, anything is beneficial!

  18. shona says:

    All new to this but love the simple instructions, just one question. As a newbie can you tell me how long you should hold each pose?

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Shona – welcome to the yoga club! General rule of thumb is 5 deep inhalations and exhalations, which is about 30 seconds. With that said, if you’re ever in pain, come out… and if you need more, then stay for 10 breaths.

      Thanks for stopping by, have a great week ahead – xoxo!

  19. […] Yoga Poses for BeginnersHow to Start a Yoga Practice […]

  20. heidi says:

    What modifications do you suggest for pigeon pose with bad knee? Thanks

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Heidi. I definitely recommend modified pigeon which is performed while lying on your back. Here’s how to do it:
      -lying on the back, bend at the knees and plant both feet into the ground.
      -cross right ankle over the left knee and keep flexion in the right foot.
      -interlace the hands through the hole you created and catch the back of the left thigh.
      -use the strength of your arms to pull the legs closer to the chest.
      -relax shoulders down, keep the back of the neck long, and breathe!

      That’s the safer, more gentle version of pigeon! I hope that helps you!

  21. Carrie says:

    Best written instructions I’ve seen!

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Thanks Carrie! I tried to include all the details that a beginner should know. All too often, I see stuff floating around on Pinterest with no true depth or alignment cues. Hopefully this aids a few aspiring yogis!

  22. Thank you so much for this post! I have been taking yoga on and off for about a year, but I rarely practice at home. This will give me the perfect opportunity to work on perfecting some poses 🙂

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass
    Seersucker Sass recently posted…Wednesday Wisdom | Lessons from a Cancer DiagnosisMy Profile

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi love. Glad you enjoyed it!
      Yoga can be intimidating at first with all the foreign names, fancy poses, and thousands of alignment cues. If you’re looking for a great at home alternative, looking into yogaglo.com, it’s awesome and super affordable! Have a great day <3

  23. Yula says:

    Love this page! Thanks for the great step-by-step.
    Where is your awesome outfit from?

    • The Journey Junkie says:

      Hi Yula.
      So happy you found me! I hope it helps you practice more at home or refine your practice in the yoga studio.
      The outfit is O’Neill but it’s not out yet, I got to attend a sample sale last weekend that has clothes upcoming for summer. They usually sell their workout gear in Bealls. I hope that helps!

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