Yoga Is For Everyone: Top 2 Beginner Poses

As I share my yoga experiences and encourage others to join the yoga craze, I’m hearing the same theme - I want to learn, but I don’t feel comfortable going to a class.  When I was home visiting my family in January, I attempted a Vinyasa flow with my beginner yogi parents and it became clear they wanted to learn the correct form for poses before putting together a flow.  Ah ha!  This is why many people are intimidated by a yoga class - they need to learn the basics first!

I’ve introduced a few beginner poses below - Child's Pose and Downward Facing Dog.  Both of these poses seemingly look easy, but when done the correct way, you will feel the stretch in the back side of your body.   Start adding these poses along with your plank work to build strength

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This is a resting pose, but one of my favorites.  Child's pose lengthens the back side of your body - your triceps, back, glutes and thighs.  If you ever find yourself in a yoga class and have no idea what is going on, just rest in Child's Pose - it's a pose that is always there for you.  

Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose (Balasana)

  1. Start by spreading your knees wide on your mat and bringing your big toes to touch behind you.

  2. Sink your hips down towards your heels - it's ok if your glutes don't touch your heels (see PROP ALERT)!

  3. Reach your arms forward and place your palms down on your mat about shoulder width distance apart, while lowering your torso towards the mat.

  4. Lengthen your spine, relax your neck and place your forehead on your mat.

  5. Breath - big inhales and open mouth exhales.

PROP ALERT:  Use a block, cushion or rolled up blanket under your hips to help support where you are in this pose.  This will also help with any knee pain or stiffness.

ALIGNMENT CHECK:  Lengthen your spine and reach forward with your arms to find a flat back.  Sink your chest towards your mat to help facilitate a straight spine.  If you need to lift your hips higher to find a flat back, that's perfectly fine!

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This pose will stretch the entire backside of your body including your shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  1. Start on all fours in a tabletop position.

  2. Place your hands shoulder width distance apart and align your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees.

  3. Spread your fingers wide and push down through your hands as you lift your hips back and up.

  4. Start to straighten your legs – leave a slight bend in your knees if that is more comfortable.

  5. Relax your neck and press your chest towards your thighs.

  6. Engage your core muscles by bringing your belly button to your spine.

  7. Breathe - with every inhale, lift your hips up and back; with every exhale, sink your heels lower and your chest back.

ALIGNMENT ALERT:  Press your chest back towards your thighs for the stretch, but keep your ears in line with your biceps to avoid hyperextending your arms.  Shorten your stance by bringing your feet closer to your hands to establish a flat back.  Check that your hands and feet are shoulder and hip width distance apart.

Putting It All Together

Start practicing these poses along with your plank work.  Try the sequence below!

  • Child's Pose - 3 breaths

  • Downward Facing Dog - 3 breaths

  • Plank Pose - 5-10 seconds or wherever you are in your plank work!

  • Forearm Plank Pose - ditto plank pose above

  • Child's Pose - 3 breaths

  • Downward Facing Dog - 3 breaths

  • Repeat as tolerated!