If you ever wondered about the “magic” of yoga, I’m here to tell you, it is a type of magic. It took me forever to try it, in fact, I was 49 before I first jumped on the yoga train. I never was able to convince myself that yoga was something I could slow down and do. I was always in a rush, it actually sounded painful for me to slow down that much! Also, I was under the mistaken impression that yoga wouldn’t do much except tone your body, and that it would take forever, at that. Boy, was I wrong! The trick is to start out slow, and choose classes and easy yoga poses for beginners. If you try to take a class that is too advanced for you, you will walk out discouraged.
Take some time at home to get to know the best yoga poses for beginners under your own cover of baggy pj’s and closed doors. Then, go out and try a class, or download an app and try a class, or just practice these 12 yoga poses at home! Whatever you do, try yoga. Read on to see how it changed everything for me, and the exact poses I use! (And how to do them!)
Yoga Poses for Beginners
First of all I want to start out saying I am not a Yogi master. Not. Even. Close. I am only sharing what yoga does for me, and why I think it can do the same for you! That being said, let’s get to the background of why I picked these easy yoga poses for you to try.
I have lived a lifetime with chronic back pain from a horseback riding injury when I was 13. A lifetime. And it has sucked. But I’ve also been an active mom of 5 kids, and never had time to slow down enough to think about it. As I entered my 40’s, my back pain started interfering with my life, and with my regular exercise. The closer I got to peri-menopause, the worse the inflammation, the anxiety and the stress got.
This is when I got to the point where I realized I had to find time every day to slow down and stretch, for the sake of my back pain if nothing else. In walks my first yoga class. Now, this yoga class was on my TV, which was perfect for me. I could take my time right in the middle of my own living room. And this is what I found out.
Benefits of Yoga
- Yoga is an amazing way to keep your core strong and your body feeling young, even if you have chronic injuries.
- Yoga can be as gentle or as intense a workout as you are looking for or you need. All these poses can be held or repeated as long or as much as you desire. There are no rules. Its about what your body needs, at that moment. If you need a workout, then go on repeat! If you need just a good stretch, stop when you feel release. Getting this?
- Yoga can do wonders for low back pain, or neck pain.
- Yoga has amazing stress relieving ability, especially at home.
- Yoga is judgement free. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t one of those tiny little 20 somethings that look like they have been doing yoga since they were 3. You can do it too. And thats empowering.
Easy Yoga Poses With Pictures
These are the yoga poses I try to do at least three times a week. I do them with classical piano music, in a quiet room where I won’t be disturbed. I don’t even think of them as exercise, more as a stress relief time for myself. That being said, there have been more than one or two mornings where I woke up feeling it! So the benefits are two sided for yoga, physical, and mental/emotional health. Try these easy yoga poses!
This pose is great for stretching out the upper and lower back, and for allowing your body to reset between poses, or whenever you need a rest. I do this pose whenever my lower back, shoulders or upper back feels tight.
Simple start on your knees, sit your butt down onto your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you. Rest your stomach on your thighs and your forehead on the floor. You can hold this for as long as you wish. This easy yoga pose is great for warming up flexibility, and perfect to start and end a yoga session.
The bridge strengthens your core, your lower back and your glutes. Start by laying flat on your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Now push up with your feet, making your body a straight line from your knees to your head. Use your arms on the floor to support you. Engage your abs. Hold and breathe. Just an FYI, I learned this pose first at physical therapy. It is a great basic exercise, especially for back pain sufferers. Photo by ‘Ekhart Yoga‘.
Cat / Cow Pose
Cat/Cow is technically two yoga poses, but since you usually do them together, we want to show you both at the same time. These poses are great for back mobility. Start on your hands and knees, hands right under your shoulders, knees under your hips. (This is tabletop pose). On your inhale, arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone upwards as in the photo. On your next exhale, round your back, tucking your chin to meet your chest. Repeat as desired. Photos by ‘PopSugar‘.
The cobra pose stretches the abs and spine. Start out laying face down on the floor. Place your hands on the floor below your shoulders, and push up towards the ceiling. Gaze upwards and keep your abs engaged. Only push up as far as in comfortable. It’s fine if your legs stay connected to the floor. Hold as long as you desire.
Downward Dog Pose
Downward Dog may be the most stereotypical yoga pose, but for a good reason. This pose stretches nearly every part of your body and builds strength in your core and arms. It is also the beginning step for many of the more advanced poses. To do Downward Dog, start out on your hands and knees, with your toes tucked under. Palms should be a little forward of your shoulders this time. Now push up with your arms and form an upside down “V” shape with your body. Feet should be hip width apart. If your hamstrings are too tight for your heels to stay on the floor, join the club. It’s fine! They will stretch and lengthen with time. Hold and breathe.
Warrior 1 Pose
The warrior poses are perfect for developing strength and balance. This is one of those poses that doesn’t look like much, but really works with legs and arms, and stretches out the hips. Start out this pose standing straight and tall like a mountain. (Mountain Pose!) Step forward with your right foot, as in a lunge position. Turn your back foot 90 degrees. Raise your arms above your head. Make sure your hips are squared, your shoulders pulled back, then continue rhythmic breaths. Hold as long as desired. Repeat on other side. Photo by ‘PopSugar‘.
Warrior 2 Pose
Warrior 2 is just a variation of warrior 1. This one also gives your quads a great work out, but stretches your hip flexors a bit more. Start out in warrior 1 pose, but instead of raising your arms above your head, raise them shoulder height, one in front of you, and one behind you. Look straight ahead, as if your front arm is pointing to something and you are looking for it. Repeat on other side. Photo by ‘PopSugar‘.
Advanced Warrior Pose
This is a more advanced warrior pose you can try once you develop balance from practicing the first two. Start in Warrior 2 pose, then reach your back arm back to grab your leg, and reach your front arm above you. Look toward the ceiling. Breathe. Repeat on other side.
This easy yoga pose is also called thread the needle, but there is another pose called that as well, so don’t confuse them. This is the pose for people who have low back pain, hip pain and sciatica. It is more of a stretch than a strengthening exercise. Lay on your back, and bring both legs up. Grab behind the right thigh and hold. Cross the left ankle over the right knee. Flex the foot. Now gently, pull the right thigh toward your chest. This does an amazing job of stretching the Piraformis and the Sciatica, and also improves mobility in the hips. A variation on this to get a deeper stretch is to lean your legs slightly to the right. You will feel the stretch become more intense. Find your sweet spot and hold. Repeat on the other side. I do this stretch twice a day because I have very tight hips and issues with my SI joint and sciatica. Best stretch I have ever done for these issues, even after spending months in physical therapy. Photo by ‘Yoga15‘.
One Legged Dog
This pose strengthens and stretches your core and hips. Start out in downward dog, then simple extend one leg straight up, in line with your body. Breathe. Repeat on other side. Photo by ‘Fitness 1440‘.
Pigeon is a great pose for opening up your hips. For this pose, you start out in downward dog, then go to one legged dog. Now swing your extended leg down underneath you, bringing your right foot in front of your left knee, into a sitting position with your left leg extended behind you. If this one is hard to “get” and you need a video, check out the one at ‘Wikihow‘.
We hope learning these easy yoga poses for beginners has inspired you to take a stab at the world of yoga! Remember, you don’t have to strive to be a master, or even to eventually reach advanced poses. Yoga should be for you exactly what you need it to be. You can make allowances and adjustments for any physical issues you have, or you can simply use it as healthy mental relaxation. Try yoga!
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