Exercise and Fitness Guide

Best Yoga Poses for Beginners

Dr. Cindy Haines Jan 14th, 2014 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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If you’re new to yoga, these basic poses can help get you started. When performed on a regular basis, these yoga poses can help improve strength and flexibility.

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Child's pose
Child's pose

Start out in a kneeling position. Bring big toes to touch and keep your knees a shoulders-width apart. Reach arms forward and bring forehead towards the ground. This pose stretches arms and back, while releasing the hips and relaxing the body.

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Cat-cow pose
Cat-cow pose

From hands and knees (tabletop position), release belly toward the ground while lifting tailbone/chest and gaze (cow pose); reverse, hugging in through the core, pressing ground away and rounding deeply through the back (cat pose). These alternating postures bring gentle movement to the spine.

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Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog

Claw hands into your mat, tuck toes, lift knees up off the mat while pressing tailbone up and back toward where the ceiling meets the wall. Down dog lengthens and strengthens the back body while building strength in the upper body.

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Seated spinal twist
Seated spinal twist

Sit on floor with legs extended. Cross right foot over left leg outside of thigh. Bend left knee. Twist to the right and place left elbow on the outside of right knee and right hand on the floor behind you. Slowly twist right and hold. Switch sides and repeat.

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Savasana (corpse pose)
Savasana (corpse pose)

Also often referred to as "the final resting pose," this is the posture that allows the rest of the practice to fully integrate into mind, body and spirit. Reclined flat on back, arms at sides, legs long. Take up space and melt into the mat, fully relaxed.