Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Tone Your Body

Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Tone Your Body

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Let’s start with the basic yoga poses for beginners at the beginning. Given below are simple, basic yoga poses that will tone your body and prepare you for a wonderful yoga session. Practicing these poses regularly not only improves your flexibility but also promotes overall health.

Interest in yoga just seems to grow and grow, and people are more aware than ever before of the benefits it can bring in terms of physical and mental health. In some cases, physicians are prescribing yoga to their unfit, overweight, and depression- or anxiety-prone patients, often with astonishing results.

There are yoga classes and retreats, websites and videos online, and books and magazines galore. If you are interested in yoga or yoga poses you have probably looked at some of these, but without ever getting started.

You may be too busy for courses, baffled by the sheer quantity of information available online, and dismayed by publications that teach a large number of yoga poses but without ever putting it all together for you. Where do you begin, if you have never done yoga before, or have been away from it for several years?

You don’t need to add more appointments to your busy schedule because you can practice in your own home, in the garden, or at the park or beach, if you prefer. Nor will you need to buy a lot of expensive props or clothing, although you may be tempted by some of the hot yoga gear that is now available.

Here’s what you will need:

  1. The curiosity to discover a centuries-old philosophy of health and exercise that will change your life;
  2. The determination and commitment to learning the asanas and breathing techniques that will improve your health in so many different ways;
  3. About 30 minutes every day for a month to dedicate to your yoga poses or practice;
  4. A quiet, well-ventilated space with a flat surface large enough for you to spread your limbs out in all directions and a large clean yoga mat or special towel or piece of cloth to cover it.
  5. Clothing that allows you to move your body freely. You do not need footwear.
  6. A watch or clock within reach to check timings for some of the yoga poses;
  7. A couple of towels or blankets can be folded and used to support your body if some of the yoga poses are too extreme.

In this article, we will show you the basic yoga poses for beginners, and how to use them.

(Related: Yoga 101 Poses: Yoga Basics Everyone Needs to Know in 2022)

I.      Staff Yoga Pose

Staff pose, or staff posture, is the basic pose for all seated poses. All seated poses begin here, so be sure you are comfortable with them before you move on. 

Yoga Steps/ Instructions:

  1. Sit down with your legs stretched forward.
  2. Keep your hands by your sides.
  3. Keep your sit bones firmly on the ground. 
  4. Press your heels firmly on the ground so that your weight is evenly distributed along your legs. 
  5. Engage the thigh muscles and keep the thighs firmly to the ground. 
  6. Place the palms by the sides of your hips. Keep your fingertips pointed forward.
  7. Placing the hands firmly on the floor, lengthen your spine.
  8. Lift your torso so that the pelvis is slightly forward.
  9. Keep your feet straight, toes pointing upward.
  10. Expand your shoulders and keep your chest lifted. 
  11. Gently pull your belly button in. 
  12. Lift your chin so that your crown is pointed towards the ceiling. 
  13. Look straight ahead.
  14. Remain in the pose for one minute. 

Benefits of Staff Yoga Pose:

  1. Stretches and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and abdomen
  2. Stretches the back
  3. Reduces symptoms of asthma
  4. Strengthens the hips
  5. Relieves sciatic pain
  6. Improves awareness of your posture, and so helps you to correct it
  7. Increases core strength
  8. Improves focus
  9. Relieves stress

Note: If your lower back strains, sit on a folded blanket so your hips are elevated, thereby reducing the pressure on your lower back. You can use a wall for support so that you can correct your posture, as sitting against the wall makes you aware of your body’s shape.


Avoid practicing the pose if you have injured your wrists or lower back.

II.   Half Lotus Yoga Pose

Half lotus pose is a simpler version of lotus pose, which is considered the best pose for meditation. Practicing half lotus pose will help you perform lotus pose with ease.

Yoga Steps/ Instructions:

  1. Sit in staff pose.
  2. Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the left thigh. The right foot should be at the uppermost part of the thigh so that your right heel touches the abdomen.
  3. Slide your left foot under the right thigh. 
  4. Let the palms be on your thighs in chin mudra, in which you bring the tips of your thumb and index finger together in light contact and the other three fingers stretched. 
  5. Straighten your spine. 
  6. Keep your eyes closed.
  7. Remain in the pose for one minute. 

Benefits of Half Lotus Yoga Pose:

  1. Stretches and strengthens the spine and back
  2. Stretches the hips and legs
  3. Promotes blood flow to the pelvic region
  4. Relieves menstrual pain
  5. Relieves stress
  6. Cures mild depression
  7. Promotes calm


Those with severe hip or knee problems should perform this pose with caution.

III. Seated Mountain Yoga Pose

The seated mountain pose improves spine alignment, which helps beginners to correct their posture.

Yoga Steps/ Instructions:

  1. Sit in the posture that is most comfortable to you, though being seated in the lotus pose is ideal.
  2. However, you can sit in half lotus pose or easy pose (legs crossed normally, feet tucked under the thighs).
  3. Inhale.
  4. Stretch your hands sideways, keeping the palms facing downwards.
  5. Exhale as you lift your hands over your head.
  6. Bring the hands together.
  7. Keep your elbows straight.
  8. Lengthen your spine and lift the hands straight.
  9. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds.
  10. Come out of the pose by releasing the finger lock and lowering your hands to the thighs.

Benefits of Seated Mountain Yoga Pose:

  1. Aligns the spine
  2. Tones the back and relieves back pain
  3. Stretches the shoulders and relieves shoulder pain
  4. Calms the mind.


Those with knee injuries or who cannot sit on the floor with their legs crossed can perform this pose sitting on a chair.

IV.   Hero Yoga Pose

Hero pose can be a bit challenging for a beginner, but this is one pose that you need to master to make you more flexible and ready for tougher poses. 

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Kneel on the mat.
  2. Keep your thighs together and place your feet hip-width apart.
  3. The tops of your feet should be on the floor.
  4. Exhale and sit on the space between your feet. 
  5. Your lower legs should be on the outer sides of your thighs. 
  6. Turn the thighs inward. 
  7. Pull your spine up.
  8. Lift your hands sideways and up.
  9. Lock the fingers and turn your palms upwards.
  10. Alternatively, the hands may be placed on the knees.
  11. Keep your eyes closed, or fix your gaze straight ahead. Remain in the pose for one minute.
  12. On getting comfortable with the pose, you can increase the duration up to 5 minutes.
  13. To come out of the pose, place your hands on the floor by your sides.
  14. Lift your butt slightly and cross your ankles so that you can sit back on the floor.
  15. Now stretch your legs forward.

Benefits of Hero Yoga Pose:

  1. Stretches the hips, thighs, knees, ankles, and feet
  2. Tones thigh muscles
  3. Improves digestion
  4. Relieves gas
  5. Relieves symptoms of asthma
  6. Relieves menopausal symptoms
  7. Improves flat foot if done from an early age
  8. Improves posture


If sitting down between the legs hurts your ankles, you may place a block between your feet and sit on it. 


Those with knee or ankle injuries should avoid practicing this pose. Also, hero pose should not be practiced by those with heart problems.

V.      Half Squat Yoga Pose

The half squat pose is excellent for beginners to practice stretching and making the hips and legs flexible. It is one of the best beginners poses for the lower body.

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Go on all fours with your wrists in line with your shoulders, and knees aligned with your hips.
  2. Walk your hands towards your feet. 
  3. As your hands get closer, lean back to place your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Now your hips will be down, but not touching the ground.
  5. Place your palms in front of you on the floor. 
  6. With palms firmly to the ground, stretch your right leg to your right.
  7. Stretch your right leg as much as possible.
  8. The further you stretch, the closer your hip will get to your left heel. 
  9. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  10. Come out of the pose by bringing your extended leg back into a squat. 
  11. Repeat the same with the other leg.

Benefits of Half Squat Yoga Pose:

  1. Opens and strengthens the hips
  2. Stretches and strengthens the legs
  3. Improves flexibility of the knees
  4. Boosts Metabolism
  5. Tones abdominal muscles
  6. Improves digestion
  7. Promotes balance and stability


If you find balancing difficult, you can place your palms on the floor or a block, instead of keeping your palms together in front of your chest.


Avoid practicing the pose if you have a knee or foot injury. Do not practice the pose during menstruation.

(Also Read: Wellness Tips: How You Can Be Your Own Therapist?)

VI.   Tiger Yoga Pose

Tiger pose is not fierce, as the name sounds. It is one of the beginner poses that promote flexibility. 

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Go on all fours with your palms and knees on the ground. Keep your wrists aligned with your shoulders and your knees to your hips. 
  2. Exhale.
  3. Draw your right knee in towards your face.
  4. Lower your head to bring the forehead and knee into contact. 
  5. Inhale as you bring the right leg out of contact with your forehead, and extend the leg back without straightening the knee, so your right foot is angled towards your head.
  6. While your right leg is extended, the right pelvis should remain in place. 
  7. Lift your head to look up, stretching the neck as much as possible. 
  8. Repeat the movement up to 8 times. 
  9. After 8 repetitions, place your right knee on the floor.
  10. Repeat the same steps with your left knee. 
  11. Do 3 to 5 rounds.

Benefits of Tiger Yoga Pose:

  1. Stretches the spine
  2. Tones the back muscles
  3. Strengthens the core
  4. Strengthens the shoulders, arms, wrists, and legs
  5. Tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles and hips
  6. Reduces sciatic pain
  7. Boosts blood circulation
  8. Stimulates the nervous system and reproductive system
  9. Improves digestion
  10. Reduces excess fat in hips and thighs


Place a folded blanket under your knees in case of discomfort. If your neck hurts, keep your head and neck parallel with the floor.


If you have severe wrists, hip, or knee injuries, you should avoid this pose.

VII. One-Handed Tiger Yoga Pose

One-handed tiger pose is a variation of tiger pose. It gives depth to your yoga practice.

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Go on all fours.
  2. Lift your right foot.
  3. The right knee should be bent. 
  4. Gently arch your spine. 
  5. Lift the left hand, shifting your weight to the right hand. 
  6. Stretch your left hand behind you, to hold the inside of the right ankle. 
  7. Supported by your hand, lift the right leg higher. 
  8. Raise your head and look forward.
  9. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds.
  10. Repeat the same steps with the other hand and leg.

Benefits of One-Handed Tiger Yoga Pose:

  1. Stretches the arms, shoulders, back, and legs
  2. Boosts energy
  3. Stimulates abdominal organs


Place a folded blanket under the knees in case of discomfort. 


Avoid practicing this pose if you have a chronic injury in your shoulders, arms, hips, or legs.

VIII.        Lion Yoga Pose

The lion pose promotes flexibility of the legs and ankles, and hence it is one of those ideal poses for beginners. The pose is considered to be the eradicator of diseases.

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Kneel on the floor.
  2. Sit down on your heels, bending the knees.
  3. Move the knees apart so there is space between your thighs. Lower your body down between the thighs.
  4. Place your palms down on the thighs just before the knees.
  5. Spread the fingers out. 
  6. Open your mouth and bring the tongue out.
  7. Stretch the tongue out and down as much as possible.
  8. Fix your gaze between the eyebrows as best you can.
  9. Keep the eyes open.
  10. You can also look at the tip of your nose. 
  11. Inhale and exhale.
  12. While exhaling, make a sound to imitate a lion’s breathing.
  13. However, you can also breathe normally.  Remain in the pose until you feel comfortable.

Benefits of Lion Yoga Pose:

  1. Improves voice quality and helps with stuttering
  2. Cures defects in the nose, mouth, and ears
  3. Stimulates the nerves of the eyes
  4. Cures bad breath
  5. Relieves throat infection
  6. Relaxes the facial muscles, removes wrinkles, and promotes a youthful appearance
  7. Improves the function of the respiratory system
  8. Tones the abdomen
  9. Relieves stress

IX.   Bound Angle Yoga Pose

Balancing bound angle is a very common yoga pose, and this yoga pose is very popular, and a very basic balancing posture that is ideal for beginners.

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Start in staff pose, in which you sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Bend your legs and place the soles of the feet against each other.
  3. Wrap your fingers around the toes.
  4. Relax and push your shoulders back, so the chest is pressed forward. 
  5. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  6. Maintain the pose for 1 to 2 minutes

Variation Balancing Bound Angle Yoga Pose 

  1. Inhale leans back and lifts the feet off the floor. 
  2. Gradually lift the feet further up until they are in line with the heart. 
  3. Bring the chest and feet closer. 
  4. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds. 
  5. To come out of the pose, place your feet on the floor while exhaling. 

Benefits of Balancing Bound Angle Yoga Pose:

  1. Opens the hips
  2. Tones the abdomen and back
  3. Strengthens the upper body
  4. Improves focus
  5. Promotes creativity
  6. Boosts self-confidence
  7. Improves balance


Avoid practicing this pose if you have any injury in your arms, shoulders, hips, or knees.

X.      One-Legged Boat Yoga Pose

The one-legged boat is an intermediate yoga pose, which also prepares you for the boat yoga pose and its advanced variation. 

Yoga Steps/Instructions:

  1. Sit in a staff pose, in which you sit on the floor extending your feet in front of you. 
  2. Bend the left foot towards the right thigh.
  3. Stretch your arms over the extended leg, keeping them parallel to the ground.
  4. Your palms should face each other.
  5. With inhalation, lean back and lift your right leg. 
  6. Relax your shoulders, and lift your chest.
  7. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds.
  8. Repeat the same process using the other leg.

Benefits of One-Legged Boat Yoga Pose:

  1. Strengthens the core muscles
  2. Tones the back
  3. Stretches the legs
  4. Improves balance


If balancing in this pose is difficult, hold the foot using a yoga strap. 


Those with an injury to the neck, shoulders, hips, or knees should not perform this pose.

(Also Read: Yoga Poses for Heart Disease)

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