Do you want to get a perfect fit, flexible, and strong? If yes, then Yoga is a perfect choice for you. Yoga is considered the ultimate workout for your body and mind. It’s proven to increase the overall strength and stamina, it also improves flexibility and aids weight loss, as well yoga helps in beating stress and depression, and it is proven to be good in boosting overall well-being.
Yoga is also considered the perfect form of exercise to practice at home at your convenience and at the comfort of your home. And all you need is a little space, a yoga mat, and a willing mind. Of course, expert instructions are key to ensuring you reap maximum results and stay injury-free.
Table of Contents
What is Yoga?
Yoga poses are the physical body postures that are considered to be the segment of Hatha yoga. The yoga poses are designed to stretch and strengthen the various parts of one’s body such as the arms, legs, torso, neck, and head. There are various types of yoga poses that are good for all beginners and experts.
Some basic examples of yoga poses are:
- the sun salutation,
- the warrior,
- and the tree.
There are also various kinds of breathing exercises that are often used in mindfulness meditation and yoga. Breathing exercises are one of the most common and often used forms of exercises in yoga which are used to focus your attention, bring about a state of calmness, or for deep relaxation. There are various breathing exercises for strength and power, focus and concentration, self-awareness and insight, relaxation, and sleep as well.
Yoga is a very powerful practice that can be used to achieve many things, such as perfect body, mental peace, deep relaxation, and mindful living.
Yoga is a perfect combination of physical and mental exercises that have been scientifically proven to bring about a state of perfect calmness in one’s life. If you want to be more mindful, healthy, have more energy, or just want to be at peace with yourself, then integrate yoga practices into your daily life.
- It helps in Weight Loss
- Yoga encourages a Holistic Wellness
- Yoga helps to Reduce Stress
- It also helps you live more mindfully
- Yoga helps You Build Better Relationships
- It helps to Build Your Immune System
- Yoga helps to Boost Your Energy
- It helps to Improve Your Sleep
How to Start Yoga Practice?
One of the most common concerns people have or the query I get asked very often is: How do I start doing yoga practice on my own?
For me, my home yoga practice is where creativity thrives. Of course, being in a professional yoga studio with an amazing instructor for adjustments and alignment help is invaluable—but having a place of your own for yoga in your home or office to let go of all the worries and breathe calmly, is very sacred.
With that in mind, I’d love to share a few things that have made a difference in making time for my practice or myself on the mat over the years. That’s not to say I’m always very consistent with my practice—it’s a major commitment to show up every single day.
It’s so important not to beat yourself up for missing a day (or several days for that matter). Just make sure you make it back to your personal yoga space and begin again.
- Set up a dedicated space for your yoga practice/mat
- Start with brief mindfulness meditation and intention
- Always start with good meditative music: Meditative music can help drop you deeper into the moment without being judgmental so that your breath becomes a part of the meditative music.
(Note- Choose meditative tracks that helps you and are slow and very relaxing)
- Just Move and don’t just sit on your yoga mat
- Start with the basic and beginning level yoga poses/postures
- Make sure to end your practice with Shavasana (a relaxation pose)
Beginner Yoga Poses:
Let’s start at the beginning. Given below are very simple, basic yoga poses that can tone your body and prepare you for a wonderful yoga session/practice. Practicing these poses regularly not only improves your overall flexibility but also promotes overall health and well-being.
Pose #1: Staff Pose
The staff yoga pose is the basic yoga pose for all seated poses. The staff seated yoga pose begins here, so make sure you are comfortable and calm with your posture before you move on.
- Sit down with your legs stretched forward. Keep your hands by your sides.
- Make sure to keep your bones firmly on the ground.
- Press both of your heels firmly on the ground so that your body’s weight is evenly distributed along your legs.
- Engage the thigh muscles and keep both of the thighs firmly to the ground.
- Place the palms by the sides of your hips. Keep your fingertips pointed forward.
- Placing both of your hands firmly on the floor, and then lengthen your spine. Lift your torso slightly so that the pelvis is slightly forward.
- Keep both of your feet completely straight, both toes pointing upward.
- Expand both of your shoulders and always keep your chest lifted.
- Then slowly pull your belly button in.
- Lift your chin upwards, so that your crown is pointed towards the ceiling.
- Keep looking straight during this posture.
- And then remain still in this yoga pose for about a minute.
- This yoga pose helps in stretching and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and abdomen
- It also stretches the back
- This pose can also be used to reduce the symptoms of asthma
- It can also strengthen the hips
- This yoga pose is beneficial in relieving the sciatic pain
- It also improves the overall awareness of your posture, and so it helps you to correct it
- Increases the core strength
- Improves individual’s focus
- This pose also relieves stress and depression
Note- If you have lower back strains, sit on a folded blanket so your hips are elevated as a safety measure, to reduce the extra pressure on your lower back. One can also use a wall for support, so that it can correct one’s body posture, as sitting against the wall makes you aware of your body’s shape and then you can do it accordingly as per the instructions.
Caution- Avoid practicing the pose if you have injured your wrists or lower back.
Pose #2: Half Lotus Pose
Half lotus yoga pose is a simpler version of the lotus pose, which is usually considered the best yoga pose for meditation. Practicing half lotus pose will help you perform lotus pose with more ease.
- Sit in staff pose.
- Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the top of your left thigh. Your right foot should be at the uppermost part of your thigh so that your right heel touches the abdomen.
- Then carefully slide your left foot under the right thigh without much movement.
- Let both of the palms be on your thighs in chin hand mudra, in which you have to bring the tips of your thumb and index finger together in contact, and then the other three fingers should be stretched.
- Straighten your spine.
- Keep your eyes closed.
- Remain in the same yoga pose for about a minute.
- This pose usually stretches and strengthens your spine and back
- Stretches the hips and legs
- This yoga pose promotes smooth blood flow to the pelvic region
- Relieves menstrual pain
- Relieves stress
- Cures mild depression
- Promotes calm
Caution- People who have a severe hip problem or knee problems are advised not to do this yoga pose. But if they are to perform this pose, they should perform this pose with caution.
Pose #3: Seated Mountain Pose
The seated mountain yoga pose improves spine alignment, which usually helps beginners to correct their overall posture.
- Sit in the posture that is most comfortable to you, though being seated in the lotus pose is ideal. However, you can sit in half lotus yoga pose or easy yoga pose (legs crossed normally, feet tucked under the thighs).
- Inhale. Stretch both of your hands sideways, and make sure the palms are facing downwards.
- Exhale deeply as you lift both of your hands over your head.
- Bring the hands together.
- Keep your elbows straight.
- Always remember to lengthen your spine and then carefully lift both of your hands straight.
- Remain in the same yoga pose for about 30 seconds.
- Then gently come out of this yoga pose by releasing the finger lock and lowering both of your hands to the thighs.
- Aligns the spine
- This pose helps in toning the back and it also relieves back pain
- This yoga pose helps in stretching your shoulders and it also helps in relieving the shoulder pain
- Calms the mind
Note- Those with serious knee injuries or the ones who cannot sit on the floor with their legs crossed can perform this yoga pose sitting on a chair. (Or they can also skip this yoga pose)
Pose #4: Hero Pose
Hero yoga pose can be a bit challenging pose to perform for some beginners, but this is one yoga pose that you need to master to make you more flexible and ready for tougher or more advanced yoga poses.
- Kneel on the mat.
- Make sure to keep both of your thighs together and then slowly place your feet’s hip-width apart. The tops of both of your feets should be touching the floor.
- Then simply exhale and gently sit on the space between both of your feet.
- Afterward, both of your lower legs should be on the outer sides of your thighs like a cross.
- Turn the thighs inward.
- Pull your spine up.
- Lift your hands sideways and up. Lock the fingers of both of your hands and turn your palms upwards. Alternatively, both of the hands should be placed on the knees.
- Simply keep both of your eyes closed, or then fix your gaze straight ahead of you.
- This yoga pose is beneficial in stretching the hips, thighs, knees, ankles, as well the feet
- Tones thigh muscles
- Improves digestion
- This yoga pose relieves gas
- Relieves symptoms of asthma
- Relieves menopausal symptoms
- Improves flat foot if done from an early age
- Improves posture
Note- If sitting down in a cross position between the legs hurts your ankles, you should place a block between your feet and sit on it.
Caution- Individuals with knee or ankle injuries are advised to or should avoid practicing this yoga pose. Also, this yoga pose should not be practiced by the ones with serious heart problems.
Pose #5: Half Squat Pose
Half squat yoga pose is excellent for beginners to practice as a stretching and making the hips and legs more flexible. It is one of the best beginner yoga poses for the lower body.
- Go on and all fours with both of your wrists in line with your shoulders, and the knees aligned with your hips.
- Walk your hands towards your feet.
- As both of your hands get closer, slightly lean back to place both of your feet flat on the floor. Now your hips will be down, but not touching the ground.
- Then gently place both of your palms in front of you on the floor.
- With palms firmly to the ground, stretch your right leg to your right.
- Then start stretching your right leg slowly. The further you stretch your right leg, the closer your hip will get to your left heel.
- Opens and strengthens the hips
- Stretches and strengthens the legs
- Improves flexibility of the knees
- Boosts metabolism
- Tones abdominal muscles
- Improves digestion
- Promotes balance and stability
Note- 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.
Caution- Avoid practicing this yoga pose if you have a knee or foot injury that is not completely healed. Try skipping this Half-squat yoga pose during menstruation.
(Related: Yoga and Women: Chakras for Women)
Yoga for Beginners: More 101 Yoga Poses
While yoga may have recently risen to popularity as a type of fitness craze in the Western world, it is a centuries-old practice.
In the old-time, it has been used to cure several different physicals, spiritual, emotional, and even psychological ailments. In addition to increasing physical strength and aiding in weight maintenance, yoga can help stimulate the liver, kidneys, and other organs to help maintain good intestinal health, create better sleeping habits and even improve your mental and emotional well-being.
101 Yoga Poses
Here are 10 effective 101 yoga poses ranging from the most basic to the most advanced for all levels of yoga practitioners:
101 yoga Poses #1: Warrior 3 (VIRABHADRASANA 3)
This is sometimes referred to as the Airplane pose because it makes you feel like you’re gliding through the air. These movements are excellent for building balance, learning how to focus on your breath, and creating strength in your legs.
- Stand at the top of the mat, with your weight balanced equally between your feet and your arms relaxed at your sides, facing your palms forward.
- On an exhale, bend at your waist and place your hands on your hips. Extend your right leg behind you until your upper body and right leg are parallel with the mat.
- Once you find your balance, extend your arms until parallel with the mat. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #2: Corpse (SAVASANA)
This might seem easy, but it’s one of the hardest poses to master. Because it involves the challenge of finding a deep state of relaxation—to let go— this pose is one of the main reasons people practice yoga.
- Sit on the mat in a comfortable position.
- Lie on your back, rest your hands on your chest, and extend your legs. Relax every part of your body and feel yourself being supported by the mat beneath you. Observe your body from head to toe, surrendering to the present moment.
- Notice all the places where your body makes contact with the mat and release any tension in your muscles. With each exhalation, imagine your body getting heavier and sinking deeper into the mat. Release everything into the floor. Stay in this position for as long as desired.
101 yoga Poses #3: Downward Dog (ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA)
When you think about yoga, this pose is probably what first comes to mind. It can create length in muscles throughout your body, particularly your calves, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and lower back, and can create upper-body strength.
- Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the mat.
- Walk your hands to just ahead of your shoulders and as wide as the mat. Press your fingers into the mat, engaging your index fingers and thumbs by pressing them deeper into the mat.
- Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back to form an inverted V. (If your hamstrings feel tight, keep your knees bent and the gluteal fold—where your legs meet your buttocks—lifted.)
- Pull your upper arms and triceps toward your ears, and use your upper-arm strength to push the mat away from you. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #4: Cobra (BHUJANGASANA)
This is a popular back bending and heart-opening pose. Practicing these movements can open your shoulders, lengthen the muscles of the front of your body, and strengthen the muscles of your back and upper body.
- Lie on your belly with your arms folded under your head and your chin resting on your forearms, and extend your legs.
- Place your hands at chest level and press down through your hands. Slightly lift your head off the mat, keeping your head and back aligned, and press your thighs together.
- On an inhale, press your hands into the mat, curl your shoulders backward, and lift your upper body off the mat. Press your legs together, press down through the tops of your feet, and lift your chest forward. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #5: Bow (dhanurasana)
Fly like an arrow in this pose designed to strengthen your back muscles and stretch those muscles at the front of your body. These movements can also open the tight muscles of your quads and shoulders as well as stretch your abs.
- Lie on your belly and extend your legs, with your head slightly lifted off the mat, the tops of your feet flat on the mat, and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Bend your knees, reach your arms behind you, and grab your ankles with your hands. (Grab the outsides of your feet if that’s easier.)
- Press your ankles (or feet) into your hands and lift your thighs and chest off the mat, curling your shoulders backward and broadening across your collarbones. Press down through your pubic bone to pull yourself deeper into the backbend. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #6: Revolved Lunge (PARIVRTTA ANJANEYASANA)
Engaging your spine and back muscles during this pose can improve your balance and posture. You can also engage your abdominal muscles, like your transverse and oblique abs, while your legs provide stability and endurance.
- Stand at the top of the mat, with your weight balanced equally between your feet and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Extend your left leg behind you and bend your right knee until that knee aligns with your right ankle. Place your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest.
- Rotate your torso to your right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Pull your shoulders backward, keeping your hands in front of your chest. (You can also extend your arms to your sides.) Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #7: Cat-Cow (MARJARIASANA-BITILASANA)
You can perform magic with this pose, transforming from cow to cat using flowing movements that warm your body and bring flexibility to your spine. This pose also invites a connection between your breaths and your movements.
- Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the mat, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, your knees behind your hips, and your index fingers pressed into the mat.
- On an inhale, push your belly toward the mat, creating a deep concave curve in your spine. Lift your sitting bones toward the sky and broaden your collarbones forward.
- On an exhale, press down through your hands and strengthen your arms, pushing the mat away from you and creating a strong convex curve. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #8: Sage (PARIVRTTA MARICHYASANA)
This twist is a great way to lubricate the joints of your spine while also creating a sense of calm throughout your body. These movements massage several organs, which can increase blood flow when you release from this pose.
- Sit on the mat, with your legs extended and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Bend your right knee and cross your right leg over your extended left leg, with your right foot parallel with your left thigh and your right knee pointing up.
- Bend your left knee and place your left foot under your right thigh. Gently rotate your upper body toward your right and place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. (You can also use your left hand to pull your right knee into your body to deepen the twist.) Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #9: Revolved Fire Log (PARIVRTTA AGNISTAMBHASANA)
This seated twisting pose stretches your spine, lower-back muscles, torso, shoulders, and chest. These movements can also help you feel—and enjoy! —powerful stretching in your knees, ankles, and hips.
- Sit in the middle of the mat, with your legs extended and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Bend your knees and slip your right leg under your left thigh until your right ankle and the back of your left ankle align.
- Place your left ankle on top of your right knee, keeping your upper body parallel with the top of the mat, and place your hands on the soles of your feet.
- Place your left hand on the mat behind you and place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. On an exhale, gently rotate your upper body to your left. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #10: Revolved Hand to Big Toe (PARIVRTTA SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA)
When you perform the movements in this pose, you can stretch muscles from your shoulders to your feet. This pose can also help improve your hamstring and spine flexibility, relieve pressure in your lower back, and aid with digestion.
- Lie on your back, with your arms extended to form a T and your legs extended.
- Bend your left knee, bring your left leg toward your chest, and wrap your interlaced fingers below your left knee.
- Grab your left big toe with your right index and middle fingers, slightly bend your left knee, and begin to pull your left leg across your body.
- Continue to pull your left leg across your body until your foot is parallel with the sides of the mat. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #11: Thread the Needle (PARSVA BALASANA)
This take on Child’s Pose offers a gentle twist that stretches and opens your shoulders, chest, arms, upper back, and neck. These movements can also relieve tightness in your upper back and between your shoulder blades.
- Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the mat, with your wrists under or slightly in front of your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Extend your left arm to your left.
- Slide your left arm under your chest and to your right. Place your left shoulder, ear, and cheek on the mat. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. Repeat these steps on the other side.
101 yoga Poses #12: Seated Forward Fold (PASCHIMOTTANASANA)
If you need relaxing movements that stretch your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, this pose is for you. Forward folds naturally pull your focus inward, helping soothe your central nervous system and calm your mind.
- Sit on the mat, with your legs extended, a slight bend in your knees, and your arms relaxed at your sides. (You can also sit on a folded blanket.)
- Bend at your waist, walk your hands down your legs, and lean your chest toward your knees. Stop folding when you first feel a stretch in your lower back, glutes, or hamstrings. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #13: Locust (SALABHASANA)
Focused on strengthening your deep core and back muscles, this back-bending pose can also help lengthen and extend your spine. When done properly, this pose can provide therapeutic benefits for your lower back.
- Lie on your belly, with your legs extended, your arms stacked under your head, and your head resting on your forearms.
- On an inhale, extend your arms down your sides and lift your lower legs off the mat, keeping your upper legs flat on the mat.
- Lift your chest off the mat. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #14: Shoulder Stand (SARVANGASANA)
This inversion pose stretches your neck and shoulders while strengthening your abdominal and leg muscles. Performing these movements might also offer therapeutic properties to your thyroid gland and respiratory system.
- Lie on your back, placing a folded blanket under your upper back, and bend your knees, with your feet flat on the mat and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Lift your legs and hips off the mat until your legs are perpendicular to the mat, using your hands and triceps to lift and support your hips.
- Lift your lower back off the mat, placing your arms behind your back to support your hips and pulling your shoulder blades into your upper back. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #15: Bridge (SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA)
This pose is great for stretching your chest, neck, spine, and hips. These movements are also excellent for alleviating back pain, strengthening your buttock and hamstring muscles, and aiding with digestion.
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent, your heels as close to your body as possible, and your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Press down through your feet and use your leg muscles, glutes, and pelvic floor to lift your hips toward the sky. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #16: Supported Headstand (salamba SIRSASANA)
This pose can feel a little or a lot intimidating. Standing on your head can be terrifying and exhilarating, but because this pose can also strengthen your whole body and soothe your central nervous system, enjoy the experience.
- Place your elbows, forearms, and knees flat on the mat and lace your fingers together, with your wrists pressed into the mat.
- Place the crown of your head on the mat and place the back of your head against your intertwined fingers. Lift your knees off the mat and walk your feet toward your torso to form an inverted V with your body.
- Press down through your forearms, walk your feet toward your body, bend your knees and lift them toward your chest. Maintain your balance by pressing through your forearms and squeezing your belly. (You might need to perform these two actions a few times until you can maintain your balance with your knees bent and pulled toward your chest.)
- Once you feel balanced, simultaneously and slowly extend your legs toward the sky. Take your time and move slowly. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #17: Sphinx (SALAMBA BHUJANGASANA)
This pose might not help you walk like an Egyptian, but it can help open your chest, lungs, and lower back. Because you’ll use your forearms for support, this pose is great if you have wrist pain, wrist injuries, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Lie on your belly, with your arms stacked, your forearms and the tops of your toes flat on the mat, and your legs extended.
- Walk your arms forward, balancing your hands on your fingertips, and lift your head and chest slightly off the mat and forward. Spread your fingers wide until your thumbs are parallel with the top of the mat.
- Place your forearms flat on the mat, press down through your forearms, and arch your back a little more. Pull your shoulder blades together and down, and broaden across your collarbones. Lengthen your tailbone toward your heels and press your pubic bone into the mat. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #18: Wheel (URDHVA DHANURASANA)
When you’re ready for the ultimate advanced backbend, try this pose. These movements can open up your chest, abdominal muscles, groin, and quads while also strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and arms.
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent, your feet flat on the mat, and your arms relaxed at your sides. Bring your feet as close to your buttocks as possible.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands under your shoulders, pointing your fingers toward your feet.
- Press down through your hands and feet, lift your hips off the mat, and keep your head flat on the mat. (Reposition your hands wider if necessary.)
- Press down through your legs and arms, lifting your head off the mat. Lift your chest up and back, straightening your arms and legs as much as possible. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #19: Camel (USTRASANA)
This is a kneeling backbend that also doubles as a heart opener, providing you with a gentle stretch in your chest. These movements can also stretch and strengthen your shoulders, abs, and the front of your legs.
- Kneel in the middle of the mat, resting your hands on your knees. Place the tops of your feet flat on the mat.
- Bend your elbows and curl your toes under. Place your hands on your hips and lift your upper chest, shoulders, and head back until you’re looking straight up.
- Extend your arms behind you, grab your heels with your hands, and continue to lean backward, stopping when you’ve stretched as far as comfortable. (Grab your calves or ankles if that’s easier.) Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths.
101 yoga Poses #20: Legs Up the Wall (VIPARITA KARANI)
For this restorative and accessible inversion pose, you don’t need much strength or flexibility. Instead, a wall allows your body to relax and reset. This is also a great pose for bringing your breathing back to balance.
- Sit with the right side of your body as close to a wall as possible, with your knees bent and your hands resting on your shins.
- Rotate your body to your right and walk your feet up the wall until your body forms an L. Elongate your breathing by taking slow, deep inhales and exhaling through your nose. Hold this position for 3 to 5 full breaths. (Adjust these movements as needed to make this a more relaxing pose you’re comfortable holding for an extended period.)
Yoga Poses with Names
101 Yoga Poses for reader’s reference:
- Mountain Pose
Sanskrit Name: Tadasana
Benefits: The Mountain Pose is generally the starting position for all standing yoga poses and the first pose in the Sun Salutation. It is also sometimes known as the resting pose and is a great neutral position as well as a good tool for improving posture.
2. Palm Tree Pose (Upward Salute)
Sanskrit Name: Urdhva Hastasana
Benefits: Loosens arms, shoulders, neck, and upper back. The Palm Tree Pose or Upward Salute is one of the most basic stretching yoga asanas and the second pose in the Sun Salutation. It is often used as a warm-up to loosen tension before moving into more rigorous asanas.
3. Standing Forward Bend (Fold)
Sanskrit Name: Uttanasana
Benefits: The third pose in a basic Sun Salutation, the Standing Forward Bend stretches the hamstrings and calves while strengthening the thighs, and can also stimulate the liver and kidneys, which can help improve digestion.
Note: Please refer to the article for more such yoga poses.