8 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners (2023)

The toughest step to make is the first one.

That truism applies to just about everything in life, but goes double for when you want to give a new fitness regimen a try. If you're holding out against giving an activity like yoga a try, consider this your push to branch out. Everyone is a beginner at some point—and if you don't give a new activity a fair shake, you'll never know what you might be missing out on.

Holding onto common misconceptions will make your adjustment to the new practice twice as hard. "As an instructor who has worked with a lot of beginner yogis, I’ve heard it all: 'you have to be flexible to do yoga', 'the only people I know who practice yoga are women', and my personal favorite, 'yoga is not challenging',” says Michelle Baldino, a Certified Yoga Instructor for Bulldog Online who has been teaching full-time since 2012. "It’s ironic since the physical practice of yoga that was designed in India over 5,000 years ago was created exclusively for men. It’s just taken us Westerners, particularly men, a little longer to realize the physical and mental benefits of yoga."

The Benefits of Yoga

But yoga has tons of benefits for guys, no matter what its reputation may be in your gym. "For starters, yoga is going to improve your overall well being by training you to stay present. Being more present means improved concentration, better sleep habits and reduced stress," Baldino says. "Yoga keeps your body strong and works flexibility and balance. And we know we need both as we age to stay healthy and eliminate pain and injury. Yoga can also improve heart health and sexual performance because it lowers stress levels in the body."

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If you're nervous to kick off your yoga practice in public, Baldino shared these eight yoga poses for beginners to help tentative guys. Once you're ready to really expand, check out the Bulldog Online service or sign up for a class at your local studio. "Know that when you are ready to take a public class, you will be challenged, you will most likely sweat, and you will not be the only dude in the room," Baldino says.

8 Great Yoga Poses for Beginners

Forward Fold

Stretches hamstrings, calves, and hips; strengthens legs and knees; releases tension around neck and shoulders

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Baldino says: This pose is perfect for all the “non-bendy” men out there. There are so many ways to make this pose accessible so have no fear if you are one of those guys who can’t touch their toes.

Start standing with feet hip distance apart. Hinging from the hips, slowly roll your spine forward, bringing your chest towards your thighs. Knees can be bent here. In fact it’s a good idea to keep them somewhat bent when starting out to allow the hamstrings to gently stretch and not put too much pressure on the knees. Let gravity take over to release tension around your neck and shoulders. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Come back to standing by rolling back up one vertebra at a time.

Crescent Lunge

Stretches hips and shoulders; strengthens thighs and core

8 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners (3)

Baldino says: This pose hits all the tight spots for men—hips and shoulders. It’s also an incredible way to build strength in the lower body. It builds muscles in the quads and around the knees which means more stability in any other sport or athletic activity you do.

Start in a table top position. Step one foot between your hands. Tuck the back toes and start to lift the back knee off the mat. From there start to reach your arms out in front of you to bring the chest upright. Once the shoulders are stacked over the hips try to straighten out the arms as best as you can. Keep the back heel lifted to feel the stretch in the front of the hips. A modification is to keep the back knee on the mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing. Repeat on the other side.

Warrior 2 Pose

Stretches hips, groin, chest and shoulders

8 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners (4)

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Baldino says: This iconic yoga pose is a great way to challenge the body and mind all at once. For men who sit behind a desk or are in their cars most of the day, Warrior 2 will improve groin mobility which can improve low back pain. It’s also a strength pose meant to increase stamina and concentration.

Turn to face the side of your mat and then separate your feet as wide as you can. Turn one foot towards the top of the mat and bend the knee to a 90 degree angle. The back toes should be turned in slightly and the balls of your feet are in line with each other. Now start to extend your arms out long, bringing them into “T” position. Keep the shoulders over the hips and take 5 to 10 breaths here. Release by straightening the leg that is bent, return to the starting position and then turn the opposite foot out to now face the back of the mat and find Warrior 2 on this side.

Chair Pose

Strengthens ankles, quads, glutes, core and shoulders

Baldino says: Have a leg day or two built into your weekly strength routine? Let’s test out those legs and glutes with this pose. Believe me, if sitting in chair pose makes you want to shake and then run for the hills then good news—you are doing it correctly.

Stand tall with your big toes touching, heels 1 to 2 inches apart. As you inhale, reach the arms overhead. As you exhale, bend your knees into a squat. Peek down and make sure you can see all 10 toes. Imagine squeezing a block between your inner thighs and squat as low as you can. Keep your core engaged so your chest can remain open as you sit deeper into your legs. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths and press through your feet to return to standing. A great modification when starting is to separate your feet hip distance apart and work on pulling all your muscular energy to your midline. Over time bring the feet closer together.

Downward Facing Dog

Stretches feet, calves, hamstrings, and shoulders; strengthens arms, shoulders and core

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Baldino says: Another iconic yoga pose that just makes you feel good. Yes it's going to strengthen your arms, shoulders and core but the stretch you’ll feel in your lower back, feet, calves and hamstrings will feel like a small slice of heaven. S

tart in a table top position. Step one foot back at a time until you are in a high plank. Take a deep breath in here. On your exhale begin to send your hips towards the ceiling, making an upside down “V” with your body. Knees can be somewhat bent here and your heels never have to touch the mat. Think of pressing your chest towards your tights to keep the hips elevated and the core engaged. You should feel length through your spine and a deep stretch throughout the entire back of your body. Stay for 5 breaths then shift weight forward to plank to release knees back to the tabletop position.

Upward Facing Dog

Stretches hips, chest, core and ankles; strengthens quads and glutes

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Baldino says: Another great pose to learn if you sit behind a desk or wheel of a car most of the day. Upward Facing Dog opens up the chest and hips which tend to tighten when we sit. And because it opens up the chest, practicing this pose can also improve any breathing issues you might experience from stress or working out.

Lie on your stomach with arms by your sides. Place your palms by your chest making sure wrists are directly underneath your elbows. Draw your elbows towards each other and start to engage your glutes and legs. From there press into palms and the top of your feet to straighten the arms and lift your chest and knees off the mat. Keep your neck neutral by setting your gaze over the tip of your nose. Stay for 2 to 3 breaths then slowly lower back to the mat.

Bridge Pose

Stretches hip flexors, quads, and chest; strengthens glutes, hamstrings, lower back and core

8 Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners (8)

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Baldino says: It’s pretty common for men to get tight chest and hip muscles. And when those areas in the body are tight, it’s harder for us to perform other activities to our fullest. Bridge pose is going to open up the chest and hips in a way few other poses can—and because you start by lying on your back, it’s not an intimidating pose to come into.

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the mat hip-width apart. You should be able to feel the backs of your heels with your hands. Place your arms by your side with palms down, and as you inhale, lift your hips off the floor. Really engage your glutes, hamstrings and core here to list the hips as high as you can. Keep your knees directly over your heels. For an added shoulder stretch, bring your arms under your body, interlace your fingers, and press the backs of your arms and shoulders into the floor as you continue to lift your hips. This will keep the weight out of your neck. With each breath, let your hips lift a little higher. Exhale when you lower your hips.

Child's Pose

Stretches hips, glutes and low back

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Baldino says: Okay, so this pose doesn’t seem like much at first glance but in reality there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Hectic schedules, finding a balance between work and home life, finances and family can all make up for feeling pretty stressed out. And most of us will carry that stress in our lower backs. Child's pose can combat all the stress, tension and compression we store there but gently opening up the lower back. With bent knees it also encourages the spine to lengthen making this an all around A+ pose for our backs.

Start in the tabletop position and walk your big toes to touch. Separate your knees wider than your hips and draw your hips towards your heels. As your chest comes closer to the mat, walk your hands out in front of you, eventually bringing your forehead to the mat. Stay for 30 to 60 seconds. Walk your hands back towards the knees to release back to the tabletop or a seated position.

Brett Williams, NASM

(Video) 8 easy to follow yoga poses to do at home

Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

FAQs

What is the best yoga routine for beginners? ›

Here are 10 easy yoga poses for beginners:
  1. Easy pose. Easy pose is sometimes called easy seated pose. ...
  2. Child's pose. Child's pose is a place of rest. ...
  3. Tree pose. ...
  4. Downward Dog. ...
  5. Warrior Two. ...
  6. Low Lunge. ...
  7. Seated Forward Bend. ...
  8. Reclining Twist.
16 Jul 2021

How do I start yoga alone? ›

10 tips to help you make the most of your home yoga practice:
  1. Get a mat and grab some props. ...
  2. Make some space. ...
  3. Commit to a time – make it achievable. ...
  4. Watch out for the 3 Ps. ...
  5. Plan and play. ...
  6. Follow your body's lead. ...
  7. Make it fun! ...
  8. Don't forget about meditation and Pranayama.

What are the 8 steps of yoga? ›

The eight limbs of yoga are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption)."

Does yoga reduce belly fat? ›

Practicing yoga may also help you develop muscle tone and improve your metabolism. While restorative yoga isn't an especially physical type of yoga, it still may help in weight loss. One study found that restorative yoga was effective in helping overweight women to lose weight, including abdominal fat.

Should beginners do yoga everyday? ›

Those new to yoga should start slow with one or two or three sessions a week and slowly ramp up their practice as they are able to handle it. More experienced yogis might practice every day or have longer sessions on a schedule to allow for recovery.

Is 10 minutes of yoga a day enough? ›

Not only is 10 minutes of yoga enough, but it actually gives you more opportunities to enjoy the health, fitness and mindfulness benefits of yoga every day if you want!

When should you not do yoga? ›

Yoga should not be performed in a state of exhaustion, illness, in a hurry or in an acute stress conditions. Women should refrain from regular yoga practice especially asanas during their menses. Relaxation techniques and pranayama can be done instead. Don't perform yoga immediately after meals.

How long should beginners practice yoga? ›

Ideally, we recommend shorter and more frequent sessions, 20-45 minutes long, and for a total of 3-4 hours spread over several days. Practicing yoga less than this amount will still be beneficial, but you will see smaller improvements over a longer period of time.

What is the most famous yoga pose? ›

Downward facing dog is probably the most popular yoga move in many yoga classes around the country. The pose helps strengthen the shoulder and upper back muscles as well as stretch the calves and hamstrings.

What should I do on the first day of yoga? ›

Yoga is a great place to start.
...
But if you're not sure exactly how to introduce yoga into your day to day life, here are some easy tips to get started.
  1. Start with Acceptance. ...
  2. Release Expectations. ...
  3. Understand the Core of Yoga. ...
  4. Notice Your Breathing. ...
  5. Get Comfortable in Stillness. ...
  6. Learn Basic Yoga Poses. ...
  7. Find Beginner Classes.
15 Feb 2019

How long do you hold a yoga pose? ›

The time in each pose can vary from 6 to 60 seconds. Research suggests that a one-minute hold is sufficient to build strength and flexibility provided the hold is repeated five times a week. There is an emphasis on precision in Iyengar yoga, which often relies on props to achieve the “perfect” alignment in a posture.

Is yoga alone enough to stay fit? ›

If you're curious about whether yoga is a good enough workout, the answer is "yes, if …" Keep in mind that you'll want to find a practice that you'll enjoy committing to for at least 30 minutes, five days per week, that you'll be able to stick with consistently, and that gets your heart pumping and challenges your ...

What is the sequence of 12 yoga poses called? ›

What is the name for a sequence of yoga positions? A sequence of yoga poses is also known as a vinyasa. This sequence is a flow of singular poses—or asanas—that flow from one to the next.

What are the 7 paths of yoga? ›

The Traditional Yoga Paths
  • J. Krishnamurti. – top – Bhakti Yoga. ...
  • Krishna and Radha. – top – Karma Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita is the main source of Karma Yoga. ...
  • Mahatma Gandhi. – top – Mantra Yoga. ...
  • Gayatri Mantra. – top – Raja Yoga. ...
  • Sri Ramana Maharshi. – top – Tantra Yoga. ...
  • Dumavati Yantra. – top – Hatha Yoga.

Is yoga better than walking? ›

What the Research Study Found. The research showed that walking is an effective intervention for the short-term, and was superior when it came to benefits that lasted long-term. In comparison, a yoga program was more effective in the short-term, but not as effective for the long term.

What should I eat before morning yoga? ›

It's highly recommended to have breakfast before yoga to give you enough energy to stretch, bend, and twist into different poses. Not eating at all could mean you lose focus and become distracted.
...
What do you eat before yoga?
  • 1. Fruits. Choose high-fiber fruits ideally with extra protein. ...
  • Smoothies. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Oatmeal.
24 May 2019

What happens if I do yoga every day? ›

A strong practice can help build muscle, dramatically boost metabolism, and breathing fully and deeply increases circulation, also helping the metabolism to stay ticking along nicely. A little bit of pranayama, a little upper body strength, of course, some opening work as well.

Is it OK to do the same yoga routine everyday? ›

Practicing the same poses every day repeatedly is a powerful way to keep consistent with your practice. This repetition offers you a clear vantage point from which to watch yourself grow and change. The nature and sequencing of Ashtanga Yoga offers this beautifully.

How many times a week should I do yoga to see results? ›

For best results, try to practice Yoga at least three times a week. Practicing more than five times a week may not bring any additional benefits but if you want to have a daily Yoga practice, make sure you choose a gentle one at least once a week.

What should I eat after yoga? ›

Hydrating foods like watermelon can also be a nice post-yoga treat, too (especially if they're chilled). And electrolyte replacing products like natural coconut water or a banana both contain lots of potassium to bring you back to life in a flash.

What happens if you just do yoga? ›

By regularly doing yoga, you can build muscle, improve your flexibility, improve your posture, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Poses like Downward-Facing Dog and the Warrior poses work to increase strength in just about every muscle in your body.

How much yoga a day is enough? ›

If yoga is your only workout, aim for at least 20-30 minutes of yoga, 6 days per week. If necessary, you can start with 3 days per week for your first month. As your fitness level increases, you can increase that to 40-70 minutes per day.

Do I need to shower after yoga? ›

Hit the Showers

Always take a shower after yoga class, especially if you've just taken an extra sweaty class like Bikram or Ashtanga yoga. Your body releases toxins when you sweat, and if you don't shower after class, those toxins will stay on and eventually be absorbed back into your skin.

What happens if I do yoga for 30 days? ›

By the end of the 30 days, I noticed that doing yoga made me feel less stressed and more positive. Although I enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of doing yoga, I don't think I'd make it part of my daily routine, especially since it didn't exactly make me feel stronger or more toned.

What does 1 hour of yoga do? ›

A 1-hour yoga class won't tout the same calorie-blasting effects as an hour of cardio. But it will increase your blood flow, get your oxygen moving, and, “get any stuck parts of your body 'unstuck,'” Kristoffer says.

Should you drink water before yoga? ›

Being hydrated before you start a yoga practice will make it easier for you to reach deep into each asana without the risk of fainting. Besides, if you want to focus on flow, you won't have to worry about interrupting your flow and concentration to get a drink of water.

What are the negative effects of yoga? ›

The three most common adverse effects reported were: (i) soreness and pain, (ii) muscle injuries and (iii) fatigue.

Can I learn yoga by myself? ›

Technically you can learn yoga by yourself. However, you will spend more time and money doing so to become a skilled practitioner and run a greater risk of injury. The best approach when learning yoga on your own is to find a high-quality online course.

Why is beginner yoga so hard? ›

yoga postures are physically demanding – unless you have a well-balanced fitness background, you will likely struggle with a lot of poses. deep breathing is unusual – we are not used to breathing with our full lungs, which creates additional struggle in our yoga practice.

What is the calmest yoga? ›

The most obvious relaxing yoga practice is probably Restorative yoga. This slow, gentle form of yoga allows your body and mind to quite down and relax. The supported poses mean little or no muscular effort is required to hold them, letting you quickly drop into a healing, soothing state.

What is the most relaxing yoga pose? ›

7 Calming Yoga Poses For Stress Relief
  1. Standing forward bend.
  2. Cat-Cow Pose.
  3. Easy Pose.
  4. Head to knee forward bend.
  5. Bridge pose.
  6. Corpse pose.
  7. Childs pose.

Which yoga is the most gentle? ›

1. Hatha Yoga. It's all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga.

Who is the god of yoga? ›

Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and the arts.

How do you remember yoga poses? ›

Here are the strategies I've found most helpful when memorizing yoga sequences:
  1. Write it out and use shorthand. ...
  2. Break the class up into mini-flows. ...
  3. Feel it in your body. ...
  4. Don't worry if you miss something. ...
  5. Don't be afraid to freestyle!
20 Apr 2020

What is the most difficult pose? ›

#1 Taraksvasana — Handstand Scorpion Pose

This is perhaps the most difficult yoga pose there is, but then again, this list is made up of everything hard. The handstand scorpion pose requires good balance, plenty of strength, and extreme flexibility.

What are the 12 steps of yoga? ›

12 Surya Namaskar Steps
  1. Step 1: Prayer pose – Pranamasana. ...
  2. Step 2: Raised arms pose – Hastauttanasana. ...
  3. Step 3: Hand to foot pose – Hasta Padasana. ...
  4. Step 4: Equestrian pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana. ...
  5. Step 5: Stick pose – Dandasana. ...
  6. Step 6: Salute with eight parts or points – Ashtanga Namaskara. ...
  7. Step 7: Cobra pose – Bhujangasana.
22 Jul 2017

What are the 5 major types of yoga? ›

Types of yoga include hatha, Iyengar, vinyasa, hot yoga, and ashtanga. For an aerobic workout, a vinyasa class might be the best to boost your heart rate. If you're looking for a more meditative class, ashtanga focuses on mindful movement.

What are the 3 pillars of yoga? ›

3 Pillars: Mind, Body, Spirit.

What is the correct order of yoga? ›

In hatha yoga the sequence is – Asanas first, then Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas. Lastly one should sit quietly in a meditative pose. In the systematic science of Hatha Yoga, you must firstly prepare the physical body because it is the grossest manifestation of prana.

What are the 4 branches of yoga? ›

Yoga manifests itself as four major paths, namely Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Rāja Yoga and Jñāna Yoga.

What is the most active yoga? ›

Power yoga is one of the most athletic forms of yoga. Based on the sequence of poses in Ashtanga yoga, power yoga builds upper-body strength and helps make you more flexible and balanced. You flow from one pose to another.

What type of yoga is most beneficial? ›

Ashtanga Yoga

The Path: The most dynamic and vigorous form of yoga, Ashtanga approaches yoga with a continuous flow of movement. Top athletes who seek a more intense workout enjoy this form of yoga, sometimes called vinyasa or power yoga. Ashtanga creates heat in the body to purge it of toxins.

How long do u hold a yoga pose? ›

The time in each pose can vary from 6 to 60 seconds. Research suggests that a one-minute hold is sufficient to build strength and flexibility provided the hold is repeated five times a week.

Is yoga enough daily exercise? ›

Yoga can be considered "enough" of a workout, "but with the exception of sculpt-style classes, yoga typically does not address pulling strength of the muscles, developing fast-twitching muscles or adding progressive overload when it comes to strength training," Teragawa explains.

What is the easiest yoga? ›

Hatha yoga classes are best for beginners since they are usually paced slower than other yoga styles. Hatha classes today are a classic approach to breathing and exercises. If you are brand-new to yoga, hatha yoga is a great entry point to the practice.

Which type of yoga is best for weight loss? ›

Active, intense styles of yoga help you burn the most calories. This may help prevent weight gain. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are examples of more physical types of yoga. Vinyasa and power yoga are usually offered at hot yoga studios.

What is calming yoga called? ›

Restorative yoga is a style of yoga that encourages physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. Appropriate for all levels, restorative yoga is practiced at a slow pace, focusing on long holds, stillness, and deep breathing.

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