Yoga Poses For Beginners

Yoga Poses For Beginners

Whether you're brand new to yoga or a seasoned veteran, flow through these 12 basic yoga poses to reset your mind and body at any point throughout your day.


I remember the first time I stepped on to a mat {I hadn’t purchased my own yet} for a yoga practice. New things can be a bit nerve racking and uncomfortable for me and this was no different. Luckily, I had a friend along with me who was already familiar with the {yoga ropes} if you will and helped guide me through the entire experience from checking in at the studio to setting up my space to essentially letting me copy her every move throughout the entire hour.

Was my first class a magical, cosmic experience? Not even close, it wasn’t that it was bad but it just wasn’t ah-mah-zing and I didn’t crave more. Fast forward 6 months and I moved from middle-of-nowhere Illinois to Minneapolis. One of the first things I looked for after my initial move was a gym to join and after I grabbed my uber cheap LA Fitness membership, my eyes began to open to the world of boutique fitness studios here within the city.

A killer groupon deal brought me to Modo Yoga where my love for yoga, specifically vinyasa, developed rather quickly. Not only did I love the classes {oh that 6a vinyasa}, the instructors and the incredible heat, but I loved the community that the studio created both inside of their studio doors and outside of them. Maybe even more importantly that all of those pieces was the love that I gained for myself; mind and body. Yoga became a place where I could let go of everything else going on in my life and just be.

Was I an all star yoga student immediately? Nope, I bet I could have some really great laughs had someone recorded me in my first year {or 2} of yoga because I know if was far from pretty. Heck, to be honest I’m still not an amazing yogi. I’m not great at inversions, my hips and hamstrings limit my mobility and make certain postures seem impossible. But, that is the beauty of yoga, you are ALWAYS learning. I feel like at this point, the {always learning} saying is a bit cliche, but I 1000% mean it when I say that every time I step onto my mat, I learn more about how to improve a posture. I think it was a solid 3-4 years of practicing before I truly understood {and could perform} a chatturanga correctly--- insane! But, when I actually did it for the first time, when I resonated with the cues the instructor was giving, it was like a light bulb went off in my head and it all made sense.

As students, we’re always learning. As teachers, we’re always learning. There is no perfect in yoga. There is no required amount of flexibility to be able to participate. There is no size, age, gender or height restrictions. All are welcome, all are wanted. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, I’d highly recommend it {probably more than anything in my life} but if you’re not quite ready to take the leap and walk through those studio doors, here are some beginner yoga postures to help get you started from the comfort of your own home. Namaste.  

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12 YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS

Flow through each pose at your own pace, focusing on breath and quieting the mind. Complete 4-8 more complete sequences for an total mind/body reset that’s perfect for all levels of yogis!

Note: be sure to listen to your body and modify poses/hold times as needed.

1. Child’s Pose

2. Cat

3. Cow

4. Downward Facing Dog

5. ½ Lift

6. Forward Fold

7. Mountain Pose

8. High Plank

9. Crescent Lunge

10. Warrior 2

11. Chair Pose

12. Tree Pose

Complete 2-3x more!

Child’s Pose: Begin in a kneeling position on your mat. Bring your big toes to touch and walk your knees to the outer edge of your mat. Slowly begin to crawl your hands forward, extending your shoulders until your forehead is resting gently on the mat beneath you. With every inhale reach your finger tips a little bit closer to the top of your mat and with every exhale sink your hips back closer to your heels. Stay in this posture for 3-5 full breath cycles.

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Cat/Cow:  From child's pose hinge forward into a tabletop posture where your joints are stacked directly over one another {shoulders over wrists, hips over knees}. Spread your fingertips really wide, pull your belly button into your spine and engage your inner thighs. On your inhale drop your belly low while you broaden through your collar bones and bring your gaze towards the sky and on your exhale, press the tops of your feet into the mat and round your back by pressing into the space between your shoulder blades. Continue transitioning through these postures for 3-5 full breath cycles.

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Downward Facing Dog:  Beginning from a tabletop position, take a big inhale and curl your toes under then as you exhale send your tailbone towards the sky and press your chest back to meet your thighs. Pedal your legs out, bending your right knee while straightening your left and vice versa. Transfer the weight into your thumb and forefingers and then grip the mat with your fingertips to take some of the stress out of your wrists. When you feel comfortable, come to a place of stillness. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles.

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½ Lift: From downward facing dog, on your inhale gaze to the top of your mat and then as you exhale step your feet to meet your hands at the top of your mat. As you inhale, pull your chest away from your legs to create length in your spine and press your hands into either your shins or your quads. Pull your belly button towards your spine, actively engage your legs and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 1-3 breath cycles.

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Forward Fold: Beginning from ½ lift, exhale all the air from your lungs as you fold at the hips. Let the crown of your head hang heavy, press your heels into the mat and send your SITS bones towards the sky. Hold for 1-3 breath cycles.

Mountain Pose: From forward fold, continue to spread your weight evenly throughout the 4 corners of your feet and actively engage your lower body. As you inhale, reach your arms out to your sides and slowly, with control, bring yourself to a standing position with your arms reaching towards the sky. Turn your pinky fingers slightly towards the midline of your body, drop your shoulders out of your ears and pull your belly button in towards your spine to remove the sway in your low back.

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High Plank: From mountain pose, fold yourself in half, planting your hands to the mat and stepping your feet to the back of your mat. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and heels directly over your toes. Gaze to the top of your mat to lengthen your spine from the crown of your head down to your tailbone. Then widen your fingers to take up more space on the mat, press up through the space between your shoulder blades, fire up your inner thighs, lift up on your knee caps to engage your quads, tighten your glutes and finally pull your belly button closer to your spine. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles.  

Crescent Lunge: Beginning in high plank pose, inhale and send your right leg high into the air then as you exhale step your foot in between your hands. Keeping your right knee bent to 90 degrees, engage your core and squeeze your inner thighs together as you inhale and reach your arms up overhead. Pull your right hip backward/left hip forward, fully extend your left knee and lift your left heel even higher. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles, then repeat on the other side.

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Warrior 2: From crescent lunge {right side}, spin your left foot to angle your toes towards the top left corner of your mat, drop your heel and send your right knee even further towards the right. Extend your arms in opposite directions {one towards the front of the room and one towards the back}, spread your fingertips wide and stack your shoulders directly over your hips. Press into the outside edge of your left foot, the ball mount of your right foot and stack your right knee directly over your right ankle. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles.

Chair Pose: From warrior 2, step your feet together bringing your toes, ankles and knees to touch. As you inhale, simultaneously send your hips back behind your while sending your arms overhead. Take the weight out of your toes, fully engage your glutes and squeeze your inner thighs together. Turn your pinky fingers towards the midline of your body, bring your biceps a few inches closer to your ears and actively press your hands towards the midline of your body {without actually moving them}. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles.

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Tree Pose: Begin standing at the top of your mat, slowly lift your right foot and rest it on the inside of your left calf or quad {anywhere except for directly on the knee joint}. Squeeze your hands together at heart center and press your right foot into your left leg and vice versa to create opposing forces. Pull your belly button into your spine and engage your core to assist with stability and if you’re feeling brave, play around with different arm variations. Stay in this posture for 3-5 breath cycles, then repeat on the other side.

 

Chat with me!

Have you ever practiced yoga? If yes, what type of yoga is your favorite and how long have you been practicing? If not, what’s holding you back or what other types of exercise do you enjoy?

P.S. Looking for more at-home workout options? Check out my 20 Minute HIIT Cardio + Abs Workout, 20 Minute Total Body AMRAP or 8 Strengthening Resistance Band Exercises

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