If you are new to yoga, you may not have the flexibility or confidence to do some of the more complicated poses. However, there are some essential poses that you have to learn so that you can be comfortable when you are practicing at home or in class. While there are hundreds of asanas that you can practice, you do not have to learn all of them. We have compiled a set of nine poses that will set you on the right path towards becoming a proficient yoga practitioner. Here are the top nine yoga poses for beginners:

Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Cat & Cow

The cat & cow pose or Marjaiasana Bitilasana is a combination of the cat and cow poses. As such, it provides the benefits for the beginner such as opening the lung and chest for better breathing.

How it’s done

  1. Get on your hands and knees, with the knees under the hips and the wrists directly beneath the shoulders.
  2. Begin with the spine in a neutral position with the abs engaged and the back flat.
  3. Inhale and arch the back letting the belly soften as you lift the tailbone and head to make the cow.
  4. Exhale pulling the abs toward the spine as you round up the spine and tuck in the chin and tailbone to make the cat.
  5. Alternate between the cat and cow several times, taking in deep breaths.

Benefits of the Cat-Cow Pose:

  • It works the back, abdomen and hips
  • It calms the mind and relieves stress
  • Strengthens the neck and stretches the spine
  • Promotes emotional balance
  • Stimulates the adrenal glands the kidneys and other organs in the belly
  • Improves coordination
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Downward Facing Dog

Known in Sanskrit as the Adho Mukha Svanasana, this is one of the most popular and recognizable asanas that provides much-needed rejuvenation.

How it’s done

  1. Get on your hands and knees with the knees directly beneath the hips and wrists directly beneath the shoulders.
  2. Curl the toes, straighten the legs and lift the hips while spreading the fingers and rotating the arms outward to extend the collar bone.
  3. Move the shoulder blades towards the hips and away from the ears and let the head hang.
  4. Now take the weight of the body off the arms by engaging the quadriceps.
  5. Keeping the tail high, rotate the thighs inward and sink the heels towards the surface and come to a plank position.
  6. Rotate the thighs inward, maintain the high tail position, and drop the heels onto the mat.
  7. Exhale and bend the knees.
  8. Engage the knees and hands to come back to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Helps relieve mild depression and stress and calms the brain
  • It is a form of therapy for sinusitis, sciatica, flat feet, asthma, and blood pressure
  • Energizes the body
  • Relieves fatigue, back pain, insomnia and headache
  • Stretches the hands, arches, calves, hamstrings and shoulders
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens the legs and arms
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • May relieve menstrual discomfort
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Child’s Pose

Also known as the Balasana in Sanskrit the Child’s Pose is a restful pose to do before moving on to more challenging poses.

How it’s done

  1. Get on your hands and knees on the mat and then keeping the tops of your feet on the mat, spread the knees while touching the big toes.
  2. Bend forward and bring the belly between the thighs with the forehead resting on the floor.
  3. Stretch your arms in front of the body with the palms facing downwards and flat on the floor.
  4. Hold the pose for a few minutes while doing deep exhales and inhales.

Benefits

  • Gently stretches the ankles, thighs and hips
  • Relieves neck and back pain when the torso and head are supported
  • Relieves fatigue, stress and calms the brain
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Forward Fold

Also known as the forward standing bend or the Uttanasana in Sanskrit, this is the asana to help soothe your mind and rejuvenate your hamstrings.

How it’s done

  1. Adopt the raised hands pose and then sweep the arms down on both sides of the body while bending forward from the waist.
  2. Bring the hands to touch the ankles or press them on the mat if you are flexible enough. Ensure that the knees are not locked by only bending them slightly.
  3. Engage the quadriceps muscles, stretching the hamstrings while ensuring that the hips are directly over the ankles, with the head hanging just above your toes.
  4. Inhale and with your hands on your hips contract your abdominal muscles as you lift your body out of the pose

Benefits

  • Helps relieve mild depression and stress and calms the brain
  • It is therapeutic for sinusitis, osteoporosis. Infertility, blood pressure and asthma
  • Stimulates the kidneys and the liver
  • Relieves insomnia and headache
  • Stretches the hips, calves, and hamstrings
  • Reduces anxiety and fatigue
  • Strengthens the knees and thighs
  • May relieve menopausal symptoms
  • Improves digestion
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Bridge Pose

Otherwise known as the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is an asana that can provide pretty much anything you need from yoga exercise as it can be luxuriously restorative, rejuvenating or energizing.

How it’s done

  1. Lie on the back with the soles of the feet flat on the mat and the knees bent.
  2. Extend the arms and let the fingers approximate or touch the backs of the heels while keeping the feet parallel.
  3. Lift your hips off the floor by pressing down on the soles of the feet while keeping your arms outstretched.
  4. Maintain the pose for a few minutes and then lower your back onto the mat.

Benefits

  • It is therapeutic for sinusitis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and asthma
  • Stretches the spine, neck and chest
  • Reduces insomnia, headache, backache, fatigue and anxiety
  • Helps alleviate mild depression stress and calms the brain
  • May relieve menstrual discomfort when done with a supporting block
  • Stimulates the thyroid, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Help relieve menopause symptoms
  • Re-energizes tired legs
  • Improves digestion
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Mountain Pose

If you ever want to become proficient in the standing poses, then you have to master the Tadasana otherwise known as the Mountain Pose. It is a great pose if you are looking to improve posture, practice a resting pose or a starting position.

How it’s done

  1. Fan the toes and lift them up and then drop them on the mat to make a solid wide base. Separate the heels slightly to keep the ankles from knocking together.
  2. Engage your quadriceps, let the kneecaps rise and then rotate the thighs inward to widen the sit bones. Do this while drawing in the belly slightly and maintaining the natural curvature of the spine.
  3. Widen the collarbones and ensure that the shoulders are directly above the pelvis. Now raise your shoulders and then move them back to releases the shoulder blades down the back.
  4. With your arms hanging naturally, palms facing forward and elbows bent slightly
  5. Stretch the neck and have the chin neither lifted up nor tucked down while the crown is lifted and approximating the ceiling.
  6. Hold the position for half a minute to a minute and take 5 to 10 breaths

Benefits

  • Reduces flat feet
  • Improves posture
  • Helps firm buttocks and abdomen
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Strengthens ankles, knees and thighs
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Puppy Pose

The puppy pose is an excellent asana if you are looking for something to calm the mind and stretch and lengthen the spine.

How it’s done

  1. Get on all fours and ensure that the hips are above your knees and the shoulders are directly above the wrists. Now move the hands a few inches forward and then curl in the toes.
  2. Move the butt halfway towards the ankles and then exhale while stretching out the arms and keeping the elbows off the ground.
  3. Keeping a slight curve to the back, drop the forehead onto the mat.
  4. Stretch the arms and press the hands down as you pull the hips back towards the ankles.
  5. Hold the pose for 30 seconds or one minute and then go back to the starting position.

Benefits

Great for stretching the shoulders and the spine.

Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Chair Pose

Also known in Sanskrit as Utkatasana, the Chair pose stimulates the heart and the diaphragm while working the muscles of the legs and arms.

How it’s done

  1. Stand in the Tadasana pose raise your arms straight up and inhale. Your palms should be inward-facing.
  2. Bend your knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor with the knees projecting out over the feet. The torso should be slightly forward and above the thighs forming a right angle.
  3. Move your tailbone in toward the pubis and toward the mat.
  4. Hold the pose for half a minute to a minute, and as you come out of it inhale and straighten out the knees.
  5. Release the arms to the sides and exhale as you return to the Tadasana position.

Benefits

  • Reduces flat feet
  • Strengthens the spine, calves, thighs, and ankles
  • Stimulates the heart, diaphragm, and other abdominal organs
  • Stretches the chest and shoulders
Cat& Cow Downward Facing Dog Child Pose Forward Fold Bridge Pose Mountain Pose Puppy Pose Chair Pose Savasana

Corpse Savasana

While it is one of the less challenging poses, it is a great pose for beginners, particularly if you are looking for an asana that gives you total relaxation.

How it’s done

  1. Lying on your back and holding your legs straight, spread them out to either side.
  2. Bring the arms parallel to the torso with the fingers curled in and the palms facing upwards.
  3. With your limbs set up, relax the whole body and let it feel heavy but let your breathing be as natural as possible.
  4. Hold the pose for between five to ten minutes. You can use an alarm if you are practicing at home.
  5. To come out of the pose slowly deepen the breath as you slowly wiggle your toes and fingers and reawaken the body.
  6. Lift your arms overhead and proceed to perform a full-body stretch from the feet to the hands.
  7. With your knees up to your chest roll onto your side with your eyes closed. Rest in a fetal position for a while and take a few breaths.
  8. Go back to the sitting position

Benefits

  • Helps to regulate blood pressure
  • Helps to relieve mild depression and stress
  • Relieves insomnia, fatigue, and headache
  • Relaxes the body