Thoughtful instruction and mindful execution of beginner postures builds the strong foundation for a yoga practice that benefits mind, body, and spirit. No set of alignment cues works for everyone—there are as many triangle poses as there are people practicing the posture. That said, there are a few helpful hints to keep you safe during your yoga practice, including a steady even breath, and an appropriate level of sensation that never veers into pain. Below you’ll find some asanas (poses or postures) you’re most likely to encounter in a beginner yoga class. As you practice them, you will build strength in the body as well as courage and joy in the heart.
Standing poses help strengthen the lower body while also forming a strong, solid foundation for a safe yoga practice. As you build strength in standing postures, you may also notice increased feelings of personal power and confidence.
Backbends can help restore the natural flexion of the spine by encouraging a greater range of motion. With practice, these postures build strength, flexibility, mobility, and vibrance.
Energetically, seated poses tend to be grounding and focus more on flexibility than strength. Some seated poses involve twisting, which tones the belly, massages internal organs, and relieves lower back pain.
Practicing these balancing poses help you stand your ground—literally and figuratively. In our attempt to balance on our hands, or on one foot, we metaphorically enter the unknown, cultivating courage, presence, and strength of heart.
Turning your body—and thus your world—upside down is profoundly therapeutic to the body and mind. There’s no reason to fear the radical change in perspective; the inversions below deliver all the physical and physiological effects of the posture while being especially beginner-friendly. At their best, inversions can be simultaneously thrilling, rejuvenating, and calming.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, resting poses are often the most challenging postures in a yoga class—not only for beginners but for all yogis. While many yoga postures are active, the resting poses are even more essential to quiet the body and restore the mind.