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Yoga involves a combination of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and ethical principles. The goal of yoga is to achieve physical and mental well-being and to attain a state of inner peace and spiritual insight. This  ancient practice of holistic well-being offers numerous types of yoga poses or asanas when it comes to yoga for beginners and can be included in your daily practice.

Yoga poses for beginners

If you’re a beginner and looking to indulge in yoga, then some of the following yoga asanas are the perfect way to start your mornings! These have been identified as beginner friendly and can be easily done by yourself or under the guidance of a Sri Sri Yoga trainer.

We bring to you four sets of basic yoga poses that can be practiced in the following positions.

  • Standing yoga poses
  • Sitting yoga poses
  • Lying down on stomach yoga poses
  • Lying down yoga poses

It is also advised to follow the mentioned types of yoga poses in an orderly manner. 

  • Begin with standing yoga poses
  • Then move to sitting yoga poses
  • Next move to stomach yoga poses
  • And finally, end your session with lying down yoga poses.

Standing yoga poses

1. Konasana or Sideways Bending Pose

Konasana or Sideways Bending Pose

Konasana, also known as the Sideways Bending Pose, involves stretching one arm towards the sky while the other hand rests against the leg.

Benefits: This pose helps increase flexibility, balance, and strength and can also help in relieving stress and tension in the spine and hips. It also helps those suffering from constipation. 

Who Should Avoid: Anybody who has had a recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips, spine, or neck, high or low blood pressure, migraine and diarrhoea.

Another form of the Konasana is the Konasana-2. This posture requires bending sideways using both arms.

2. Katichakrasana or Standing Spinal Twist Pose

Katichakrasana or Standing Spinal Twist Pose

Katichakrasana, also known as Standing Spinal Twist Pose, helps to stretch and twist the spine, hips, and waist. 

Benefits: This yoga pose helps relieve constipation, and strengthen the spine, neck, and shoulders. It is extremely beneficial for people with deskbound jobs.

Who Should Avoid: People with hernia or spinal conditions, knee injuries, high blood pressure or heart conditions.

3. Hastapadasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose

Hastapadasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose

Hastapadasana, also known as Standing Forward Bend Pose, is one of the basic poses in yoga for beginners that involves a forward bend of the torso and legs.

Benefits: It invigorates the nervous system, makes the spine supple, and stretches all the muscles of the back.

Who should avoid: People with recent or chronic back, neck, or leg injuries or spinal conditions. 

4. Ardha Chakrasana or Standing Backward Bend Pose

Ardha Chakrasana or Standing Backward Bend Pose

Ardha Chakrasana, or the Standing Backward Bend Pose  involves balancing on one hand while extending the other arm and leg, creating an arc shape with the body.

Benefits: It stretches the front upper torso and tones the arms and shoulder muscles. 

Who should avoid: Individuals with recent or chronic injury to the arms, wrists, shoulder, neck, back, or hips or any medical conditions that make inversion or balancing poses challenging.

5. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose

Trikonasana or Triangle Pose

Learn how to do Trikonasana and its benefits in detail.

It involves stretching the legs apart and reaching down with one hand while extending the other hand towards the sky, creating a triangular shape with the body. 

Benefits: Trikonasana or Triangle Pose improves digestion, and reduces anxiety, stress, and back pain. It also increases physical and mental balance. 

Who should avoid: People with recent or chronic injury to the knees, legs, hips, or back, heart problems, dizziness or any medical conditions that make balance challenging.

6. Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose

Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose

Learn how to do Virabhadrasana and its benefits in detail.

It is an asana that involves standing in a lunge position with one leg forward and the other leg back while the arms are extended overhead. 

Benefits: Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose increases stamina, strengthens arms, and brings courage and grace. It is an excellent yoga pose for those in seated jobs. It is also very beneficial in the case of frozen shoulders.

Who should avoid: Individuals with recent or chronic injury to the knees, legs, hips, or back, high or low blood pressure and heart problems.

7. Prasarita Padahastasana or Standing Forward Bend with Feet Apart Pose

Prasarita Padahastasana or Standing Forward Bend with Feet Apart Pose

In Prasarita Padahastasana posture, the legs are spread wide apart, and the upper body is bent forward from the hips, reaching towards the floor. The arms are stretched out, and the palms are placed flat on the ground or on blocks.

Benefits: It is considered to be a relaxing and grounding posture that can help to stretch the hamstrings, hips, and lower back and also calm the mind.

Who should avoid: People with lower back pain, knee injuries, or tight hamstrings may need to use props such as blocks to support the upper body and relieve pressure on the lower back. Additionally, individuals with neck or spinal injuries may need to keep their heads elevated and avoid bending forward too far. This yoga pose during pregnancy in the third trimester may also need to be avoided or modified with the support of props.

8. Vrikshasana or Tree Pose

Vrikshasana or Tree Pose

It strengthens the legs and improves balance and stability. In Vrikshasana pose, one foot is rooted to the ground while the other foot is placed on the thigh of the standing leg, resembling the trunk of a tree. The arms are usually raised overhead to complete the pose.

Benefits: Vrikshasana is an excellent yoga pose to increase focus. It makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hip. It also helps those suffering from sciatica, a pain that travels from the pelvic region all the way through the hips and thighs.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee, ankle, or hip injuries, those who suffer from high blood pressure or vertigo.

9. Paschim Namaskarasana or Reverse Prayer Pose

Paschim Namaskarasana or Reverse Prayer Pose

In Paschim Namaskarasana posture, the hands are brought together behind the back in a “prayer position”, with the fingertips pointing upwards towards the sky.

Benefits: It can help to open up the chest and shoulders, improve posture, and calm the mind.

Who should avoid it: Individuals with shoulder injuries or conditions such as rotator cuff impingement may need to modify their posture or avoid it altogether. In such cases, it may be beneficial to place a strap or towel between the hands to reduce the strain on the shoulders.

10. Garudasana or Eagle Pose

Garudasana or Eagle Pose

The Garudasana requires interlacing one’s arms and legs to resemble the form of an eagle. The pose requires concentration and stability while strengthening the legs, ankles and core muscles.

Benefits: It is a balancing yoga posture that improves coordination and stability. It also stretches the hips, thighs, shoulders, and upper back. Garudasana, or the Eagle Pose, is also an excellent yoga pose for rheumatism and sciatica. 

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee injuries, neck pain or any lower back issues

11. Utkatasana or Chair Pose

Utkatasana or Chair Pose

One of the yoga poses for beginners, Utkatasana or Chair Pose, is a strengthening yoga posture that targets the muscles of the legs, back, and core. The knees are bent, and the hips are lowered, as if sitting in an imaginary chair in this pose with the arms raised overhead to complete it.

Benefits: It strengthens the lower back and torso, balances the body, and helps develop willpower.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee injuries, ankle injuries or any lower back issues.

Sitting yoga poses

1. Janu Shirasasana or One-Legged Forward Bend

Janu Shirasasana or One-Legged Forward Bend

Janu Shirasasana is a stretching yoga posture that targets the hamstrings, lower back and hips. In this pose, one leg is extended forward with the foot flat on the ground, and the other leg is bent with the foot pulled towards the thigh. The torso is then folded forward over the extended leg, reaching towards the foot.

Benefits: This pose stretches the lower back and massages the abdominal organs.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee injuries or any lower back issues.

2. Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend

Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend

Learn how to do Paschimottanasana and its benefits in detail.

This is a stretching yoga posture that targets the hamstrings, lower back, and spine. In this pose, the legs are extended forward while the torso is folded forward towards the legs. The hands are usually reaching towards the feet or ankles.

Benefits: Paschimottanasana massages pelvic and abdominal organs and tones the shoulders. 

Who should avoid: Individuals with lower back or hamstring injuries

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3. Poorvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

Poorvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

Poorvottanasana targets the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and core. In this pose, the body is supported on the hands and feet while the chest and hips are lifted towards the ceiling.

Benefits: Poorvottanasana stimulates the thyroid gland and improves respiratory function.

Who should avoid: Individuals with wrist, shoulder or neck injuries. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also avoid this pose.

4. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Spinal Twist

Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Spinal Twist

Ardha Matsyendrasana is a twisting yoga posture that targets the spine and hips. In this pose, the legs are crossed, and the torso is twisted towards one of the bent legs while the other arm extends behind the back.

Benefits: This pose makes the spine more flexible and increases the oxygen supply to the lungs.

Who should avoid: Individuals with lower back or neck injuries. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also avoid this among the other sitting yoga poses. 

5. Badhakonasana or Butterfly Pose

Badhakonasana or Butterfly Pose

Badhakonasana targets the hips, inner thighs, and groin. The soles of the feet are brought together, and the knees are opened out to the sides, resembling the wings of a butterfly.

Benefits: It helps with bladder issues, relieves menstrual discomfort, and aids in bowel movement.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee injuries or any lower back issues. Pregnant women in their second or third trimester should also avoid this pose. 

6. Padmasana or Lotus Pose

Padmasana or Lotus Pose

Padmasana is often used for meditation and breathing exercises. In this pose, each foot is placed on the opposite thigh, creating a stable and comfortable seated position. 

Benefits: This pose is ideal for meditating. It alleviates menstrual discomfort and improves digestion. You may also opt for this yoga for anxiety issues.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee or hip injuries should avoid this asana. Pregnant women in their second or third trimester should also avoid this pose.

7. Marjariasana or Cat Stretch

Marjariasana or Cat Stretch

Learn how to do Marjariasana and its benefits in detail.

It is a yoga posture that targets the spine, neck, and hips. In this pose, the body is alternately arched and rounded, like a cat. The pose is often performed in a flowing sequence with the opposite pose, the Cow Pose.

Benefits: It relaxes the mind, makes the spine flexible, and improves digestion. You can practise this yoga for flexibility of the spine.

Who should avoid: Individuals with neck or lower back injuries. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also avoid this pose.

8. Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana or One-Legged Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana or One-Legged Pigeon Pose

Learn how to do Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana and its benefits in detail.

It is a deep back-bending yoga posture that targets the hips, thighs, back, and chest. In this pose, the body is supported on the hands and knees, with one leg extended behind the body and the other leg bent under the torso.

Benefits: This yoga pose for anxiety helps relieve stress. It is extremely beneficial for those suffering from pain travelling from the pelvic region through the hips and thighs.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee, hip, or lower back injuries. Pregnant women in their second or third trimester should also avoid this pose. 

9. Shishuasana or Child Pose

Shishuasana or Child Pose

Shishuasana or Child Pose is a relaxing yoga posture that targets the hips, thighs, and lower back. In this pose, the body is folded forward, with the knees spread apart and the head resting on the mat.

Benefits: This yoga asana helps calm the nervous system and relieve constipation.

Who should avoid: Individuals with knee or ankle injuries. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also avoid this pose.

10. Chakki Chalanasana or Mill Churning Pose

Chakki Chalanasana or Mill Churning Pose

The Chakki Chalasana is an excellent workout for the body as it mimics the movements of a hand-moved wheat grinder. It’s performed by twisting the torso to the right, then to the left, and repeating it several times.

Benefits: This yoga pose reduces fat in the abdomen. It helps to stimulate the digestive system and can improve the flexibility of the spine. It is also said to help release tension in the back and neck and to improve circulation in the body. You can do this yoga during periods to prevent painful menstrual cycles. 

Who should avoid: People with back injuries, spinal conditions and knee injuries should avoid them. It is also not recommended to practise this yoga during pregnancy.

11. Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose

Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose

Vajrasana is performed while seated on the floor. The posture involves kneeling on the floor and sitting back on your heels, with your toes touching and your knees spread apart. The hands are placed on the knees, and the back is kept straight.

Benefits: It is considered a meditative pose and is often performed after a meal to aid digestion and improve blood circulation. It is also said to help with stress and anxiety and strengthen the back and leg muscles.

Who should avoid: People with knee injuries, back injuries or ankle injuries.

12. Gomukhasana or Cow Face pose

Gomukhasana or Cow Face pose

Gomukhasana targets the hips, thighs, and shoulders. In this pose, one arm is extended behind the back while the other arm is bent in front of the body, with the hands reaching towards each other.

Benefits: Relieves anxiety and high blood pressure, and cures pain from pelvic region to the thighs.

Who should avoid: Individuals with shoulder or wrist injuries. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also avoid this pose.

Lying down on Stomach yoga poses

1. Vasisthasana or Side Plank pose

Vasisthasana or Side Plank pose

Vasisthasana is a balancing yoga posture that targets the arms, core, and hips where the body is supported on one arm, with the legs extended straight and the body forming a straight line from head to feet.

Benefits: Helps strengthen the abdomen and improve balance. 

Who should avoid: Individuals with wrist or shoulder injuries. Pregnant women in their second or third trimester should also avoid this pose.

2. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose

Learn how to do Adho Mukha Svanasana and its benefits in detail.

The Downward Facing Dog Pose targets the arms, legs, back and core. The body is inverted, with the hands and feet supporting the body and the hips lifted towards the ceiling in this pose.

Benefits: Apart from lengthening the spine and calming the mind, this pose also helps relieve headaches, insomnia, and fatigue. 

Who should avoid: Individuals with wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries. Pregnant women in their second or third trimester should also avoid this pose. 

3. Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or the Dolphin Plank pose is a yoga posture that is often used as a preparation for the Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) posture. In this posture, the body is supported on the hands and forearms, with the legs extended behind the body and the back arched.

Benefits: It is considered to be a strengthening and energising posture that can help to build core strength, improve posture, and increase flexibility in the shoulders, arms, and legs. It can also be a great posture for improving balance and coordination.

Who should avoid: Individuals with wrist injuries or conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome may need to modify their posture or avoid it altogether. In such cases, it may be beneficial to place the hands on blocks or a rolled-up mat to reduce the strain on the wrists.

4. Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

Learn how to do Dhanurasana and its benefits in detail.

The Bow Pose is a dynamic and energising yoga posture where the body is supported on the belly, with the arms holding onto the ankles and the legs lifted up and bent backwards like a bow, strengthening and stretching the back, neck, and legs. 

Benefits: It is considered to be a beneficial posture that can help to improve posture, increase flexibility, and stimulate the digestive and reproductive systems. It can also be a great posture for improving balance and coordination. It can be practised as part of yoga during periods.

Who should avoid: Individuals with back injuries or conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs may need to avoid this posture or modify it with the support of props such as blankets or blocks. Additionally, individuals with high blood pressure or neck injuries may need to avoid this posture or keep the head and neck relaxed and supported on the ground.

5. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

The Bhujangasana or cobra pose is often performed as part of a vinyasa flow. In this pose, the practitioner lies on their stomach with hands placed under the shoulders and elbows close to the body. The chest is then lifted off the ground, while the head and neck are extended.

Benefits: This yoga pose reduces fatigue and stress and is useful for people with respiratory disorders. 

Who should avoid: People with inflammation or back or neck injuries such as slipped discs or spinal injuries. Women who are pregnant should also modify this pose or avoid it in the later stages of pregnancy.

6. Salamba Bhujangasana or Sphinx Pose

Salamba Bhujangasana or Sphinx Pose

The Salamba bhujangasana (sphinx pose) is a gentle back-bending pose. It also helps to open the chest, acting as a heart opener.

Benefits: This yoga pose helps in improving blood circulation and stretching the back. 

Who should avoid: People with neck, back, or shoulder injuries or high blood pressure should avoid this pose or modify it with the guidance of a trained yoga instructor. Additionally, women who are pregnant should also modify these poses or avoid them entirely.

Learn how to do Salamba Bhujangasana and its benefits in detail.

7. Viparita Shalabhasana or Superman Pose

Viparita Shalabhasana or Superman Pose

The Superman pose involves lying down on the ground with the arms extended overhead while the legs are lifted off the ground and held together.

Benefits: It is considered to be a beneficial posture that can help to improve posture. It is the perfect yoga for flexibility and to build strength in the muscles of the back, hips, and legs. It can also be a great posture for improving balance and coordination.

Who should avoid: Individuals with back injuries or conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs may need to avoid this posture or modify it with the support of props such as blankets or blocks.

8. Shalabasana or Locust Pose

Shalabasana or Locust Pose

The Locust Pose is where the person lies on their belly and lifts their arms, legs, and torso off the ground. It is considered to be an intermediate-level pose and is used to strengthen the back, neck, and legs.

Benefits: This yoga pose increases the flexibility of the entire back and improves digestion.

Who should avoid: People with lower back injuries, neck injuries, or wrist injuries. Pregnant women should also avoid this pose as it places pressure on the abdominal area.

Learn how to do Shalabasana and its benefits in detail.

9. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward Facing Dog Pose

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward Facing Dog Pose

The Upward Facing Dog Pose is where the person starts in a prone yoga position, touching their belly to the floor and then lifts their chest and legs off the ground while keeping their arms extended. 

Benefits: This pose helps to stretch the spine, chest, and legs while strengthening the arms, shoulders, and back muscles.

Who should avoid: People with carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist injuries, or shoulder injuries. Pregnant women should also avoid this pose as it can put pressure on the abdominal area. People with lower back pain or injuries should be cautious when performing this pose.

Lying down on back yoga poses

1. Naukasana or Boat Pose

Naukasana or Boat Pose

Naukasana is a variation of yoga poses for beginners in which our body takes the shape of a boat. It makes the circulation of blood and oxygen around the abdomen and lowers back time much faster. 

Benefits: This yoga pose is useful for people with a hernia. It also helps to reduce tummy fat, address digestive disorders and improves blood circulation.

Who should avoid: People with recent stomach surgery or ulcers. People with high/low blood pressure, heart diseases and asthma are not recommended to try.

2. Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Pose

Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Pose

Setu Bandhasana is a yoga pose where the body is positioned in a bridge shape supported by the arms, legs and back. It is considered to be an intermediate-level posture and provides numerous physical and mental benefits.

Benefits: This yoga pose calms the brain, reduces anxiety, and reduces thyroid problems. 

Who should avoid: People with neck or spinal injuries, high blood pressure, or serious eye problems. It should also avoid by pregnant women. 

Learn how to do Setu Bandhasana and its benefits in detail.

3. Matsyasana or Fish Pose

Matsyasana or Fish Pose

The Fish Pose or Matsyasana is a yoga asana that involves lying on the back and lifting the chest and head with the support of the arms. This asana provides a deep stretch to the neck, throat, and chest. 

Benefits: This yoga pose provides relief from respiratory disorders. It is often used to improve posture, stimulate the thyroid gland and relieve stress and anxiety.

Who should avoid: People with neck or shoulder injuries, high blood pressure, or any recent surgery in the neck, shoulder or arm area. People with back problems should also avoid this posture. 

4. Pavanamuktasana or Wind-Relieving Pose

Pavanamuktasana or Wind-Relieving Pose

Pavanamuktasana asana is a variation of yoga for beginners and involves lying on the back and using the legs to apply gentle pressure to the stomach.

Benefits: Helps in digestion, improves the flexibility of the lower back and hips, and releases gas. 

Who should avoid: People with a hernia, ulcerative colitis, severe back or hip problems, or if they have recently undergone abdominal surgery. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this posture.

5. Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand

Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand

Saravangasana involves supporting the entire body on the shoulders and neck with the legs pointed straight up towards the ceiling. This posture is considered to be an advanced level of asana and is said to provide numerous physical and mental benefits, including improving blood circulation and reducing stress.

Benefits: This asana brings relief from constipation, indigestion, and varicose veins. It also has benefits such as improving blood circulation and reducing stress.

Who should avoid: People with neck or spinal injuries, high blood pressure, glaucoma, detached retina, or other serious eye problems. Women who are menstruating or pregnant should also avoid this posture.

6. Halasana or Plow Pose

Halasana or Plow Pose

Included in yoga for beginners, Halasana involves lying on the back and bringing the legs over the head to touch the floor behind. This posture provides a deep stretch to the neck, back, and legs and is said to improve flexibility and relieve stress.

Benefits: This yoga pose calms the nervous system and reduces stress while increasing flexibility.

Who should avoid: People with neck or spinal injuries, high blood pressure, or if they have had recent surgery in the neck, shoulder or back area. Women who are menstruating or pregnant should also avoid this posture.

Learn how to do Halasana and its benefits in detail.

7. Natrajasana or Lying-Down Body Twist

Natrajasana or Lying-Down Body Twist

Learn how to do Natrajasana and its benefits in detail.

As the name suggests, the lying-down body twist position involves balancing on one foot while reaching forward with the other hand. 

Benefits: This yoga pose brings deep relaxation to the body and mind while strengthening legs, improving balance and stability, and stretching the muscles of the chest, back, and hips.

Who should avoid: People with recent or chronic ankle, knee, or hip injuries, as well as those with balance difficulties.

8. Vishnuasana or Lying-Down on Sides

Vishnuasana is a yoga posture that is often used for relaxation and stress relief. In this posture, the body is lying supine on the ground, with the arms and legs extended and relaxed.

Benefits: It is considered to be a restorative posture that can help to calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality. It can also be a great posture for increasing flexibility in the back and hips, and improving circulation throughout the body.

Who should avoid: Individuals with back injuries or conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs may need to avoid this posture or modify it with the support of props such as blankets or blocks.

9. Shavasana or Corpse Pose

In this posture, the body is lying supine on the ground, with the arms and legs extended and relaxed. The Corpse Pose is considered to be one of the most important postures in yoga, as it provides a quiet and peaceful space for the body and mind to rest and rejuvenate. It is often used at the end of a yoga practice to help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality.

Benefits: This yoga pose brings a deep meditative state of rest and helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.

Who should avoid: Individuals with back injuries or conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs may need to avoid this posture or modify it with the support of props such as blankets or blocks.

Learn how to do Shavasana and its benefits in detail.

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures and understand the benefits of yoga asanas under the supervision of a trained Sri Sri Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher. Find a Sri Sri Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you.