Before you go to your first yoga class, it’s helpful to know a few basic positions. Below you’ll find six of the most common basic yoga poses for beginners. If you flow a particular way from numbers 1-5 and back to 1 in order, that’s called a Sun Salutation!

  1. Mountain Pose

Most yoga vinyasas or flows begin in Mountain Pose, which is a neutral standing position with your feet together, pressing into the ground, and hands in a prayer gesture underneath your chin. When standing in Mountain Pose, you should feel tall, strong and grounded… just like a mountain!

  1. Plank Pose

Plank pose is just like the plank exercise you’ve heard is so good for your abdominal muscles. It’s just like a pushup position with arms straightened, but not locked. Your body forms a straight line from heel to the top of your head.

  1. Upward Facing Dog or Cobra Pose

In Upward Facing Dog (“Up Dog” or Cobra Pose), you begin lying on your stomach with your legs together. Place your hands just in front of your shoulders and press up so that your back arches back while your legs stay on or near the floor.

  1. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog (“Down Dog”) is easy to transition to from “Up Dog”. In Downward Facing Dog, your whole body will form an upside-down “V” shape, with your feet approximately shoulder width apart on one side and your hands pressing into the floor on the other side. Your legs should form a straight line from the floor up to your hips, and your back and arms should form a straight line down from your hips through your hands.

  1. Warrior Pose

Warrior Pose is actually 3 different poses, called Warrior I, Warrior II and Warrior III. Warrior I & II are most common for beginners. In Warrior I Pose, you are in a lunge position with your hips facing forward, back leg straight, front leg at a 90 degree angle, and both feet flat on the floor. Your arms are extended overhead with your hands close together, reaching for the sky as you arch your back to look up at your fingertips. In Warrior II, you are in a side lunge position with arms extended out to each side. To transition from Warrior I to Warrior II, rotate your hips to open them up as you reach your arms out and lower them to shoulder level.

  1. Child’s Pose

Most yoga classes will end with a few minutes in child’s pose, which is a tranquil and relaxing pose that also gives your back and shoulders a nice stretch. Start in a kneeling position with your legs together and your bum touching your heels, and reach your hands forward until they touch the ground.

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