Beginner Yoga Poses: 21 Easy Stretches to Feel Balanced and Flexible

Easy yoga poses that'll make you feel good and strong

easy beginner yoga poses and stretches

Yoga offers a lot of physical and mental benefits to the body. It’s not surprising that more than 20 million people practice yoga in the United States alone.

Many people understand the benefits yoga offers the body but still don’t where or how to start.

In this article, you’ll learn our favorite 21 easy beginner yoga poses for and how to do them.

Let’s dive in right away!

1. Standing mountain pose

The mountain pose is a very simple and basic yoga pose that is usually done as a warm-up. This pose is the foundation of many other yoga poses.

It targets the shoulders and the spine. It also has some benefits on the mind, as it improves concentration and focus. 

How to do

  • Assume a standing position, with the heels of your feet slightly apart.
  • Extend your arms and raise them over your head towards the sky.
  • Push your spine upwards. 

2. Chair pose

The chair pose is also the foundation of many more complex poses.

This pose works in many areas of the body, like the chest, legs, core, and shoulders. It’s not hard to see why many advanced poses use it.

How to do

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  • Stand upright with your arms outstretched to your front.
  • Gently bend your knees, pushing them away from your feet.
  • Lower your buttocks towards the ground until they are almost perpendicular to your legs. 
  • Move your arms over your head, with your palms facing each other.

3. Standing forward bend

The forward bend pose is one of the commonest yoga poses. It targets the lower back muscles, and in other areas, like the thighs and the calves.

How to do

  • Stand upright and gently bend forward, with your upper body elongated and your knees straight.
  • Try to hold your lower leg and pull yourself even more into the fold.
  • With every inhalation of air, slightly raise your upper body. 
  • Return to the fold as you exhale air.

4. Seated twist

The seated twist pose stretches the muscles in the upper body. The main muscles that this pose targets are the lats, pectorals, and abdominal muscles.

How to do

  • Sit with your legs crossed.
  • Twist your spine from one side to the other, with your hands on your knees.

5. Seated side fold

The seated side fold helps stretch the muscles in the lower back and lower body, like the hamstrings and the adductor muscles.

It also helps to stretch the spine, suggesting it may have some use in improving posture.

How to do

  • Sit on a mat, with your legs extended and kept apart. 
  • Use the bottom of one foot to touch the opposite groin. 
  • With your hips firmly planted on the ground and your back kept upright, slowly move your torso towards the ground. 
  • Walk your hands down and place near the extended knee.

6. Plank yoga pose

There is a high probability you have come across the plank before. It is a common exercise to build the core and, to a lesser extent, the shoulder muscles.

You need a level of core and wrist strength before you can practice this yoga pose.

How to do

  • Get on all fours.
  • Extend both your legs behind you, without them touching.
  • Your arms should be firmly placed on the floor.

7. Cobra

The cobra pose works the shoulder, chest, and abdominal muscles. The spine also benefits from this pose.

This pose usually occurs after the plank. It is not as intense, though, and does not work the abdominal muscles as much.

How to do

  • Lie flat face-down, with the tip of your toe on the ground.
  • With your hands under your shoulder, push down to raise your chest off the ground.
  • Push the rest of your body downwards to remain on the floor. 

8. Warrior II

There are many variations of the warrior pose, but the warrior II is perfect for beginners because of its ease and effectiveness.

This pose works the shoulders, chest, thighs, and arms.

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How to do

  • Stand upright, move one foot backward, and align both your feet such that they are perpendicular to each other.
  • Bend the opposite knee and push it forward, with both the thigh and knee of that leg aligned.
  • Extend both your arms in the opposite direction, both parallel to their corresponding legs.

9. Breathing pose

This pose is perhaps the most basic of all the poses in this article. It works the abs, deltoids, lats, and rhomboids. It also relaxes the body through its deep breathing pattern.

How to do

  • Sit with your legs crossed and your arms on your thighs.
  • Take deep breaths.

10. Corpse’s pose

The basic principle behind this pose is lying flat, so many people end their yoga sessions with this it.

It’er perhaps the easiest beginner yoga pose ever. The corpse’s pose helps calm the mind and relieve stress in the body. 

How to do

  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Extend your arms and keep them near your body but not making contact.
  • Stretch your legs too, and keep them slightly apart.
  • Release any tightness in your neck, shoulders, and other parts of the body. 
  • Focus on your breathing.

11. Ninja yoga pose

This pose is not just one single and stationary pose, but a collection of movements.

The ninja pose is one of the helpful beginner yoga poses because it works the muscles of the lower body, particularly stretching the hamstrings. 

How to do 

  • Assume a half squat posture.
  • Pick a preferred side to start with, rest on the toes of that side, and bend into the knee of that side. 
  • While bending, lift the sole of the other foot, pointing it towards the sky. 
  • Join your hands together, and bring it towards your chest.
  • Look towards the outstretched leg and hold this pose.

12. Knee-to-chest yoga pose

The knee-to-chest pose typically goes with the corpse’s pose.

While the latter focuses on relaxing tight areas and spots in the body, the knee-to-chest pose focuses on compressing and tightening the body.

Combining these two poses will greatly relax the body.

How to do

  • Lie flat on your back while fully stretching the legs and arms. 
  • Lift your knees towards your chest and wrap them with your arms as they come up.
  • With your back still flat on the ground, pull your knee towards your chest while squeezing them.
  • Hold this position for five to ten seconds and then release, returning them to the ground in the process.

13. Child’s pose

The child pose, like the corpse’s pose, is also often viewed as a resting pose. This is because the physical exertion on the body is not as high as with many other poses.

The child pose helps with stress reduction. It relaxes the body and refocuses the mind.

How to do

  • Assume an upright kneeling position, with your toes together. 
  • Spread your knees out slightly until they are wider than your shoulders.
  • Lower your upper body between your knees.
  • Extend your arms fully in front of you and pull your shoulders down.

14. Tree yoga pose

The tree pose improves strength in the back and legs, leading to better balance and mobility. This yoga pose gives a sense of grounding.

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How to do

  • Stand upright and rest the sole of one foot flat on the thigh of the opposite foot.
  • Balance on the other foot while keeping it straight.
  • Place your palms over one another and move your arm over your head.
  • Return to your starting position and repeat with the other leg.

15. Downward dog yoga pose

The downward-facing dog pose works the shoulders, calves, and hamstrings. It’s one of our favorite yoga poses for a beginner.

This pose helps in stretching these muscles, making them more flexible. Higher flexibility corresponds to less pain when moving and a wider range of motion.

How to do

  • Get on all fours.
  • Push your arms a little bit forward, until they are slightly beyond your head.
  • Push your thumbs and index finger into the ground. 
  • Raise your tailbone, with your butt going back and up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep your legs as straightened as possible, and push your heels into the ground.

16. Upward dog yoga pose

The upward-facing dog works the shoulders and the core muscles. The upward-facing dog is quite different from the downward-facing dog.

Aside from the obvious fact that they are both facing opposite directions, the muscles they work on also differ. 

How to do

  • Assume a low plank pose. It’s like the plank, but the body is closer to the ground.
  • Push your hips down towards the ground, with the top of your feet touching the ground. 
  • Squeeze your core and raise the chest by stretching your arms.
  • Move your heads towards the ceiling to further open the chest.

17. Half pigeon pose

This pose works the hips and thighs. It is also one of the more advanced poses, but beginners can still do it. 

How to do

  • Assume the downward dog pose and extend one foot, with the top of the toes resting on the floor.
  • Bring the other leg under your body in your front. This leg should be flexed and close to the body.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.

18. Triangle pose

The triangle pose targets the leg and upper body muscles. It also benefits the hips and improves deep breathing. It’s one of the most fun beginner yoga poses that’s also easy to do.

This pose can help to relax the body and keep the mind alert and aware. 

How to do

  • Stand upright, with the feet wide apart. Your legs should be perpendicular to one another.
  • Touch the floor with one arm and raise the other towards the ceiling, bending the body sideways. 

19. Low lunge

The low lunge pose is the lunge with a knee placed on the ground. This pose serves as the foundation of many advanced poses and helps to work the hips, thigh, and groin.

How to do

  • Assume a forward fold position.
  • Push one leg behind you, with the knee of that leg on the ground. The knee should align with the ankle.
  • Bend your upper body over the knee in front and straighten your spine.

20. Boat pose

This pose targets the abs, shoulders, and upper back. It keeps these muscles tight and strong, conferring stability on the body in the process.

This pose is a little more advanced than others on this list but can still be done by beginners.

How to do

  • Lie on your back. 
  • Slowly raise your chest and feet off the ground.
  • Extend your hands towards your feet.
  • Maintain this position till you feel tightening in your abs.

21. Dancers pose

Dancers pose stretch and work a lot of muscles in both the upper and lower body. It targets muscles in the leg, thighs, hips, shoulders, and core. 

How to do

  • Stand upright, flex one knee, and bring the foot of that leg towards your butt.
  • Hold that foot and raise it as high as possible towards the ceiling while also extending the opposite hand to the ceiling.
  • Balance on the other foot placed on the floor and lift your chest.

Takeaway

There are several yoga poses, offering the body several benefits, both physical and mental.

These beginner yoga poses take time to master, but they are easy to do. Don’t go too hard on yourself if things appear rough at first.

Instead, be patient and practice more. With time, you will be able to hold that position for longer periods.