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Yoga Poses

15 Yoga Poses You Need to Know: A Beginner’s Guide
Are you ready to get on the mat and start experiencing the benefits of yoga, but don’t know where to begin? I’ve put together a list of ten poses that are perfect for beginning yogis because they emphasize basic movements and body awareness.
These poses can be challenging at first, but will help you build strength throughout your entire body. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
**Please remember that this article is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. If you are experiencing any serious physical ailments or discomfort, please consult a doctor before practicing yoga.

1. Mountain Pose
This pose helps build strength in your thighs, calves and ankles. It also helps improve posture and focus the mind.

How to do it:
1. Stand with your feet together, making sure your big toes are touching.
2. Engage your abs and glutes, and lift your heels so you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
3. Slowly release your heels back down to the floor.
4. Bring your awareness to how you’re standing, making sure that your shoulders are relaxed and your spine is straight.
5. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing and heading on with your practice!
Remember: Always engage your core while practicing this pose in order to protect your lower back.

2. Downward Facing Dog
This pose is a basic inversion that helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves and spine. It also calms the brain and relieves stress and fatigue.

How to do it:
1. Start on all fours, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
2. Tuck your toes under and press into your hands to lift your hips up and back, creating an upside down V shape with your body.
3. Make sure that your palms are flat on the ground and that you’re actively pushing down into them. You should feel this pose in your calves and hamstrings.
4. Make sure to keep your thighs active, as you don’t want them to sink into the stretch.
5. Take 5 deep inhales and exhales here before releasing back down to all fours or moving on with more poses!

3. Child’s Pose
This pose is a resting pose that helps to soothe the mind and stretch the hips, thighs and lower back.

How to do it:
1. Come to all fours, then slowly bring your knees together and sit back on your heels, keeping your big toes touching.
2. Extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground.
3. Close your eyes and soften your face and belly.
4. Stay here for as long as you’d like, taking deep breaths in and out.

4. Upward Facing Dog
This pose strengthens the arms, shoulders and chest, while also stretching the spine.

How to do it:
1. Come into Downward Facing Dog.
2. Exhale and press your hips up and forward into an inverted V shape with your body.
3. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders, and that your spine is lengthening.
4. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing back into Downward Facing Dog.

5. Camel Pose
This pose stretches the entire front of your body, from your hips to your chest. It also strengthens the back and neck.

How to do it:
1. Start in a kneeling position. Bring your hands to the middle of your back, just below your shoulder blades.
2. Inhale and sit back on your heels until you feel a stretch in the front of both thighs and along the front of your torso.
3. Make sure to keep your chest lifted so that it doesn’t collapse toward the floor, and focus on lengthening your spine.
4. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing back down to your knees.

6. Triangle Pose
This pose stretches the hips, groin, and hamstrings, while also strengthening the legs and core.

How to do it:
1. Stand with your feet 3-4 feet apart, with your feet parallel to each other.
2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in about 45 degrees.
3. Reach your right hand to the sky and your left hand to the ground, making sure to keep them both straight.
4. You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body.
5. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing and repeating on the other side.

7. Plank Pose
This pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, abs and legs.

How to do it:
1. Start in Downward Facing Dog.
2. Exhale and press your hips up and forward into an inverted V shape with your body.
3. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders, and that your spine is lengthening.
4. Continue to lift up using your core strength until you’ve transitioned into a full plank position. Your body should be in one straight line with your arms fully extended at shoulder height.
5. Hold for 5-10 breaths before moving on to the next pose!

8. Four-Limbed Staff Pose
This pose strengthens the arms, legs and spine.

How to do it:
1. Start in Downward Facing Dog.
2. Exhale and press your hips up and forward into an inverted V shape with your body.
3. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders, and that your spine is lengthening.
4. Begin to bend your elbows, lowering your body toward the ground. Make sure that your knees are still slightly bent as you start this movement!
5. Once you’re about two inches above the ground, extend your arms completely and shift all of your weight onto them so that only your toes are touching the floor. You should now be in the Four-Limbed Staff Pose.
6. Hold for 5-10 breaths before lowering yourself all the way back down to Downward Facing Dog.

9. Cobra Pose
This pose strengthens the spine and opens up the chest and shoulders.

How to do it:
1. Start face-down on the ground with your hands underneath your shoulders, fingers spread wide.
2. Exhale and press into your hands, straightening your arms as much as you’re able. Make sure that you’re pressing into your hands, not just lifting your chest.
3. Keep your hips on the ground as you look up toward the sky.
4. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing back down to the floor with an exhalation.

10. Tree Pose
This pose strengthens the thighs, calves and ankles, while also improving balance and focus.

How to do it:
1. Start by standing with your feet together.
2. Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground.
3. Bring your right ankle up to your left thigh, making sure that your knee is pointing straight down.
4. Grab the top of your right foot with either your right or left hand, and press it against the inner thigh of your left leg so that you feel a comfortable stretch.
5. You can either leave your hands here, or bring them up to join together in prayer position over your chest for an added stretch.
6. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then use your left hand to bring your right foot back down so that you can repeat on the other side.
7. For an added challenge, try to hold this pose with your eyes closed!
8. To come out of the pose, place both feet on the ground before standing back up to a fully upright position.

11. Warrior II Pose
This pose strengthens the core, thighs and ankles.
How to do it:
1. Start by standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
2. Take a big step forward with your left foot before turning it out 90 degrees so that your left foot is pointing directly to the side.
3. Your right leg should be bent at a 90 degree angle with your knee directly over your ankle.
4. Reach your arms out to the sides, parallel with the ground.
5. Make sure that your front knee is still directly over your ankle, and that you don’t have your weight too far forward on your front foot.
6. Extend your arms so that they are reaching straight out from the middle of your chest, perpendicular with the ground.
7. Turn your gaze upward toward the sky for an added challenge!
8. Hold for 5-10 breaths before coming back to neutral standing position.

12. Triangle Pose
This pose stretches and strengthens the legs, hips and waist.

How to do it:
1. Start by standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
2. Take a big step forward with your left foot, and then turn it out 90 degrees so that your left foot is pointing directly to the side.

3. Your right leg should be bent at a 90 degree angle with your knee directly over your ankle.
4. Reach your right arm out to the side, parallel with the ground.
5. Reach your left arm straight up toward the sky, perpendicular with the ground.
6. Keep both of your hips facing forward as you extend your arms.
7. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then come back to neutral standing position.
8. Repeat on the other side.

13. Seated Half-Spinal Twist Pose
This pose helps to stretch and strengthen the spine and neck, while also relieving any tension and stress.

How to do it:
1. Sit up straight with your legs extended in front of you.
2. Cross your left ankle over your right knee, making sure that they are crossed over each other in a “figure 4” shape.
3. Using your left hand, pull your right knee in toward you so that your legs are chest level with each other.
4. Reach up with your right arm and over to the left side of the room until you feel a comfortable stretch on the right side of your body.
5. You should be looking over your left shoulder at your right hand.
6. Hold for 5-10 breaths before switching sides.
7. For an added challenge, try to keep your back as straight as possible while you twist!

14. Bridge Pose
This pose helps to strengthen the spine, legs and arms.
How to do it:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground two hip-widths apart.
2. Exhale as you press down with your feet so that all of your weight is shifted onto them, and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off of the ground.
3. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees at this point.
4. Keep your arms on the ground by either side of you with palms facing down, or extend them out to your sides along the floor for an added challenge and stretch!
5. Hold for 5-10 breaths before slowly lowering your hips back to the ground.
6. Repeat.

15. Corpse Pose
This is a resting pose that helps to calm and relax the mind and body.

How to do it:
1. Lie down on your back with your legs and arms extended straight out and your palms facing upward.
2. Relax every muscle in your body while taking deep, slow breaths for 5-10 minutes at a time.
3. This pose is great if you’re looking to become more focused and relaxed!

So there goes our beginner’s guide to 15 yoga poses that you need to know! As always, be sure to consult with your doctor or health care professional before starting any new exercise program, and listen to your body as you practice.
Happy stretching!