In our last post, we went over five beginner yoga poses you can try at home or use as preparation for your first class. If you missed that post, check it out here! Although knowledge of yoga poses is absolutely not necessary to take a beginner class, it is helpful to know the terms and positions of basic poses so you can stay focused in class. Here are five more beginner poses you can try at home, or in studio with us at Inspiring Actions!
Beginner Yoga Pose #6: Mountain Pose (Bharmanasana)
I always thought it was funny that this pose had a name. I guess you have to name it to call it out in class, but this pose is literally just….standing. Not to discount its importance; since this is a yoga pose, the focus is on spinal alignment and breathing, so during a class or your personal practice it can be an extremely helpful pose for grounding, rest, and recentering. Mountain pose is very likely to come up in classes of all levels.
To do Mountain pose, stand up straight with feet planted firmly on the mat; try to distribute the weight evenly among all four corners of your feet. Imagine your spine straightening from the base all the way up to your neck. Adjust in any way you need to, to feel aligned and relaxed. Tuck your chin slightly and close you eyes. You can spread the hands out in a receiving position, or leave them hanging loosely at your sides.
Beginner Yoga Pose #7: Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
This yoga pose is often used as part of a standing series or in a chaturanga. It is an extension of Warrior II; the difference between the poses is in the placement of the arms and hands. The Warrior poses are standing postures, so they are more likely to be a part of a class that incorporates some level of flow. You may not see them in styles like Yin, Restorative, and Chair yoga.
To do Reverse Warrior, start in Warrior II. We covered that pose in Part I:
To do Warrior Two pose, start in a wide-legged stance, toes pointing forward. Pivot your feet so your front toes point forward in one direction and bend the front knee. Extend the arms out straight, with the arm on the side of the front leg out in front of you, and the arm on the side of the back leg behind you.
For Reverse Warrior, drop the back hand to the thigh, and bring the front hand straight up above you. If it’s comfortable, look up toward your hand. You can experiment with going from Warrior II to Reverse Warrior and back.
Beginner Yoga Pose #8: Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Supine twist is a common yoga pose used in classes of all levels, and is one of the big reasons yoga is good for your physical health. There are several different variations of this twist, so find one that feels right to you and don’t hesitate to use a different version during class if a twist pose comes up. Many instructors will offer modifications and hands-on assistance to ensure participants are getting the most out of the poses that are held for several breaths.
To do a supine twist, start out on your back on your mat, feet planted on the ground. Lift the legs so the knees become parallel to the hips, knees together. Here you have the option to move your knees in little circles, massaging the muscles of the low back. If you do this, make sure to switch directions. With the knees back in a neutral position parallel with the hips, bring the arms to a T. Drop the knees to one side, using your hand to guide the knees as close to the ground as comfortably possible.
Beginner Yoga Pose #9: Child’s Pose (Balasana/Utthita Balasana)
Child’s pose is a resting pose, and it’s one you can return to at any point during class if you feel uncomfortable or out of breath. During a class, you might come to this pose after a series of more active postures, or as a transition into a cool down. This yoga pose stretches the lower back and hips and releases tension in the arms. There are a couple different variations of this posture, and either one will help to relax the body and mind.
To do child’s pose, come to your hands and knees and push yourself back so your thighs rest on your shins. Bring your forehead to the mat and bring your arms to your side, palms facing up. As you hold the pose, focus on your breathing and try to relax your entire body with each exhale. To do extended child’s pose, come to your hands and knees and push yourself back so your thighs rest on your shins. Bring your forehead to the mat and stretch your arms out in front of you.
Beginner Yoga Pose #10: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is a heart opening posture, and it helps to stretch the chest and the front of the legs. It is a pose that is common in beginner classes but will also come up in classes of all levels. True Bridge pose is done with the arms resting on the mat on your sides or clasped, but the post is often modified by using a block to support the lower back.
To do bridge pose, start our lying on your back with feet on the mat. Align your knees with ankles and bring your arms along your side. Check that your hands reach almost all the way to your feet; you should be able to graze your heels with your fingertips. From here, lift your bottom off the ground and clasp your fingers together behind your back, or leave them resting at your sides. Stretch your midsection up to as far as you feel comfortable and hold. For supported bridge, slip a block at medium height under your lower back and rest your arms at your side.
If you are a beginner yogi, you have come to the right place. Our Yoga 101 series at Inspiring Actions will introduce brand new students to basic yoga postures and the yogic way of life. If you already have some yoga experience, check out our full class schedule to see what else we offer; some of our classes are available online! Thank you for reading, and please come try out some of these beginner poses with us at Inspiring Actions! Do you have a favorite yoga pose? Comment below and tell us what it is!