Blog
Yoga For Beginners

Yoga For Beginners: Different Variations and Benefits

When you’re a new yogi, even ‘yoga for beginners' classes can seem intimidating. New lingo, poses, and phrases will be thrown at you without much prior context, therefore it's easy to see how some can become overwhelmed and eventually drop the practice entirely.

Within this article we will break down beginner's yoga in a way that will benefit both your overall physical practice and wider theoretical understanding of the topic, acting as the perfect partner to the classes you attend throughout the week.

This will be achieved by honing our focus on the following points:

But before we begin to analyse yoga classes for beginners, we have to ask, have you ever considered a career in the fitness industry? If so, OriGym’s formally accredited personal training courses can help you break into the industry immediately upon graduation. 

Alternatively, you can download our FREE in-depth prospectus to learn more about what we offer, and how it could be exactly what you’ve been looking for!

What is Yoga?

In the interest of explaining yoga for beginners, you may be interested in hearing a little more about the history of yoga. 

But before we do so, please be aware that tracing the origins of yoga is not as easy as you may think, when studying yoga for beginners you’ll find that there are many different variations of ‘history’ available. At OriGym, we have decided to focus on the knowledge which is commonly accepted by the vast majority of the yogi community to be fact. 

Modern historians trace yoga's origins to India, specifically Sanskrit culture 5,000 years ago where it was used to connect individuals' physical body with their mind. The Sanskrit culture believed that your physicality and psychology could be connected through your breathing, thus birthing the practice we all know today. 

It was believed that through simple breathing techniques and gentle body movements that all participants should be able to reach a state of relaxation and ease, finding peace in both their body and mind.

Most yoga for beginners classes will teach this to students as the most basic goal of yoga, doing so by placing importance on the phrases stillness of the mind and a detached state of awareness. 

If you’re a complete yoga newbie then it may also interest you to note that there are a plethora of different variations of the practice, with each one having its own unique qualities and approach. 

In the Western world, many yoga classes for beginners fail to clearly express the differences between these variations, instead choosing to focus solely on the practice of Hatha yoga and simply branding it as ‘yoga’. 

However, before jumping into yoga classes for beginners it's important to first consider whether this practice is suitable for you.

Before we even begin to dissect specific yoga for beginners classes, we need to first clear up a misconception surrounding the overall practice of yoga. Many wrongly assume that in order to practice yoga you need to be highly athletic, intensely spiritual, and ‘at one with the world’, none of which is true.

Yoga is for everyone, regardless of your age, gender, or physical fitness level, you should be able to engage with the practice in some way. Whilst being physically fit and spiritual may help you specifically it isn’t a ‘make or break' scenario. 

Whatsmore, if you have a medical condition or have suffered from a recent injury you can still attend beginner’s yoga classes. Whilst some types of yoga may be too strenuous, others will make accommodations allowing you to adapt and alter poses around your needs.

To summarise, yoga for beginners is suitable for everyone, so don’t let anything stop you from pursuing it as an exercise method.

The Best Yoga Classes for Beginners 

There are many different classes, studios and YouTube channels that will brand themselves as providing ‘the best yoga workouts for beginners', but the overall practice is entirely subjective to the individual.

As a new yogi, you may personally prefer specific yoga classes for beginners over the others. This section is dedicated to shedding some light on the different variations of yoga, in order to help you determine which one is right for you.

#1 - Hatha Yoga for Beginners 

Hatha yoga for beginners is one of the most commonly recognised practices in the Western world. 

In fact, if you have ever attended a session that has merely been dubbed something along the lines of ‘yoga classes for beginners’ it is very likely that you have been engaging with the Hatha variation.

But what does hatha yoga for beginners entail? Typically, these types of classes will focus on synchronised breathing and the slow transition from one pose to the next, making it the perfect avenue for new yogis to explore. 

As an example of basic yoga for beginners, Hatha focuses on teaching correct posture whilst also strengthening your core and improving your agility. Many use these classes as jumping-off points, using them as a type of training wheel before advancing onto more challenging varieties. 

Whatsmore, hatha yoga routines for beginners differ from other variations as they will place a greater sense of importance on holding poses. Where many other types stress the importance of flowing from one yoga pose to the next, Hatha instead focuses on grounding oneself within one specific pose.

What are some of the best Hatha yoga poses for beginners? 

If you’re interested in mastering some of the best Hatha yoga poses for beginners at OriGym we would recommend focusing your attention on the following:

The Mountain Pose

When looking at yoga poses for beginners, the mountain pose is an excellent place to start. 

Starting Position: Start with your feet together and your arms by your side, be sure that your weight is evenly distributed across the balls of your feet in order to ensure perfect alignment and balance. 

Whilst in this position you should bring your thoughts inward and drown out all distractions and worries. 

Execution: 

  • Inhale as you draw your stomach inward to create a tight core.
  • Be sure to keep your back perfectly straight, you should feel your torso becoming elongated during this process.
  • Exhale as you broaden your collarbone, extending your shoulder blades down towards the back of your ribcage as you do so.
  • Repeat this steady breathing process and raise your arms slightly to hip level.
  • Your fingers should be extended outward and forearms clenched, it’s okay to let your arms rotate slightly during this process.

How Long Should The Mountain Pose Be Held?: 30 Seconds - 1 Minute

Benefits of a Mountain Pose: This beginner's yoga pose may look simple but in actuality, it uses and engages with every muscle in the body at once. This pose ultimately benefits the thighs, knees, ankles, abdominals and buttocks.

The Downward Facing Dog

In terms of beginner’s yoga workouts the downward facing dog often looks more intimidating than it actually is.

Starting Position: Start this pose on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

If you’re using a yoga mat, be sure that the top of your hand is parallel with the edge of the mat. For reference on how this should look your middle finger should be pointed directly towards the top edge of said mat. 

Your fingers should be spread wide apart, with your weight evenly distributed throughout the palms of your hands.

Execution: 

  • Inhale as you slowly begin to stretch your arms and relax your upper back.
  • Exhale and slowly push your knees off the floor, straightening your legs and pointing your pelvis towards the ceiling. 
  • As your legs straighten be sure that they don’t interlock, keep them a hips-width apart. 
  • Control your breathing as your body rests in the shape of an ‘A’ gently pressing your chest towards your thighs.
  • Once this shape has been held for a few seconds, press down against the floor as you continue to lift through your pelvis.
  • For your own safety, your head should never be hanging loosely, instead, keep your neck straight ensuring your ears are in line with your upper arms.

How Long Should I Hold The Downward Facing Dog: 30 Seconds - 1 Minute

Benefits of The Downward Facing Dog: This pose is deeply rejuvenating and can revitalise your calves, arches, hands, and spine while also building strength in your arms, shoulders, and legs. 

Additionally, because your heart is held higher than your head the downward facing dog can hold benefits of inversion including curing headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression.

The Bridge Pose

Our examples of Hatha yoga moves for beginners will conclude with the bridge pose. 

Starting Position: Lay supine on a yoga mat, bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the floor, with your heels as close to the sitting bone as possible.

To execute the bridge pose successfully some new yogis may require an added layer of comfort with a padded blanket under their shoulders. 

Execution: 

  • Exhale and press your feet and arms into the floor.
  • Push your tailbone upward, firming the buttocks as you lift it off the ground.
  • Clasp your hand below the pelvis and extend your arms as far as you can go, in order to ensure you remain on top of your shoulders.
  • Keep your knees directly over your heels and push them forward, away from your hips to lengthen your tailbone. 
  • Whilst firming your shoulder blades press the sternum towards the chin, but don’t let them touch! Instead lift your chin slightly away, so that your eyes are parallel to the ceiling.

How Long Should I Hold The Bridge Pose?: 30 Seconds - 1 Minute

Benefits of The Bridge Pose: If you work a desk job then the bridge pose will become your best friend, as it can reduce back pain whilst also significantly improving posture. This is achieved by stretching your abdomen, chest and shoulder blades.

These are merely three examples of what you can expect to encounter when studying Hatha yoga for beginners. Each one of these aforementioned poses requires you to engage with your core in order to balance for an allotted amount of time, which will gradually increase as your practice improves. 

While Hatha yoga is an example of basic yoga for beginners, other variations may be somewhat more difficult. At OriGym we recommend that every new yogi should start with Hatha yoga classes before advancing elsewhere, in order to gain a better understanding of the overall practice of yoga. 

#2 - Yin Yoga 

Yin yoga classes for beginners center around the body's connective tissue, such as the joints, bones, ligaments and fascia all of which are stretched and lengthened. Beyond the physical benefits on these body parts, Yin yoga is also known to have beneficial properties on your mental health too.

Yin yoga moves for beginners can be viewed as a slightly more advanced variation of Hatha, as you are required to hold specific poses for prolonged periods of time. Typically, beginners will be asked to hold poses from anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes, with some experts being able to engage with the same pose for up to 10 minutes. 

However, Yin yoga poses for beginners differ as they do not require you to stand or engage with any type of dynamic practice. Instead, yogis are asked to engage with the class whilst sitting down, relaxing into the poses rather than straining themselves.

As a result of sitting, Yin yoga stretches for beginners are known to benefit the lower spine, hips, pelvis, and inner thighs. 

Yin yoga moves for beginners also place an emphasis on breathing, which is said to relieve physical discomfort and mental struggle. This is achieved by forcing you to sit with your own thoughts longer, a trait that has been known to relieve anxiety levels whilst also teaching you to cope with physical pain. 

What Are Some of The Best Yin Yoga Moves For Beginners? 

Yin yoga routines for beginners are very easy to execute, at OriGym the best advice we can give whilst following this practice is to drown out all distractions. In order for these stretches to be executed successfully you will need to focus intently.

The Child's Pose

When practicing yin yoga for beginners the child’s pose is an excellent place to start.

Starting Position: Get on your hands and knees on top of a yoga mat, steady your breath and attempt to focus your thoughts.

Spread your knees far apart while keeping your big toes touching, then ensure that your buttocks are resting on top of your heels.

Execution:

  • Sit up straight and lengthen your spine through to the crown of your head.
  • Exhale and bow forward, ensuring that your torso is draped in between your thighs and that your forehead is touching the floor.
  • Place your hands directly in front of you, keeping your palms flat on the ground.
  • Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, extend further from your fingertips to ensure you’re properly stretched.
  • Keep your back as soft and broad as possible - there should be no tension in your back, shoulders, arms and neck.
  • Keep your eyes closed throughout the duration of this stretch.

How Long Should I Hold The Child Pose? - For a minimum of 1 minute, judge the duration from your own comfort and skill level. 

Benefits of The Child’s Pose - The child's pose is said to be incredibly beneficial for reducing stress levels among users. Additionally, as a beginner's yoga move this therapeutic stance has also been found to relieve pain in the back and neck area. 

The Corpse Pose

When looking for relaxing yoga poses for beginners the corpse pose (despite its gruesome name) is guaranteed to ensure a blissful sensation of ease.

Starting Position:

Lay on your back on top of a yoga mat, keep your legs and your arms apart ensuring that both are making contact with the floor. Keep your arms about six inches away from your torso.

Please note: You can either keep your legs apart or close together, choose whichever makes you most comfortable. Many individuals also choose to incorporate pillows into this pose to aid in relaxation. For our definitive guide on the best yoga cushions, click here

Execution: 

  • Gently close your eyes and steady your breathing to a rhythm that you personally find relaxing.
  • Clear all thoughts from your mind, instead, you should be focused on your breathing and the feeling of your own body. 
  • Allow your body to feel heavy as if your own weight is keeping you anchored to the floor.
  • Starting from the tip of your toes all the way up the tip of your crown allows every single body part to become relaxed. 

How Long Should I Hold The Corpse Pose?: On average many yogi’s choose to hold this pose for 5 minutes, incorporating it into their warm down routine.

What Are The Benefits of The Corpse Pose?: This pose is often used at the end of a yoga class in order to allow your body, mind, and spirit to fully relax and release all remaining tension. It’s a time for you to look inward, allowing for all negative thoughts and feelings to fade away.

Crescent Lunges 

Crescent lunges are excellent methods for stretching and elongating muscles, if you’re looking for the best yin yoga exercises for beginners this is one you’d want to incorporate into your repertoire.

Starting Position: 

Stand tall and upright, ensuring that your spine, neck and head are all in perfect alignment. Whilst keeping both legs together steady your breathing into a pattern that is comforting and relaxing to you personally.

Execution: 

  • Whilst exhaling, place your right leg in front of you, bend the knee to a 90-degree angle, aligning said knee directly over the left heel.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with both legs facing forward.
  • On your left foot come on to the ball of your foot, lifting your heel off the ground and drawing it forward so that it remains aligned with your right heel.
  • Inhale as you sweep your arms upwards, keeping them held above your head and pointed towards the ceiling. 
  • Lower your body downward so that your left knee is now directly parallel to the right ankle.
  • Hold this stretch before slowly rising back to a corrected stance. Then repeat the movement by swapping legs. 

How Long Should I Hold Crescent Lunges?: 30 Seconds - 1 Minute 

What Are The Benefits of Crescent Lunges?: This yoga exercise for beginners stretches and strengthens the legs, groin, and hips, improving the muscles' flexibility within these areas in the process. In addition to this, they also open the front torso, chest, and shoulder areas too, which has been shown to improve stability. 

If you’re looking to incorporate some Yin practices into your beginner's yoga routine we can also recommend meditation as a form of warmup. This will get your body and mind into a state of relaxation, making the transition into Yin poses that much simpler.

Whatsmore, OriGym recommends that yin yoga sequences for beginners should consist of 3-5 poses, each of which should be held for 2-5 minutes respectively. Alternatively, for further guidance on the matter check out our article ‘everything you need to know about Yin yoga’.

#3 - Vinyasa Yoga

Whilst the two previous practices have been somewhat static in nature, Vinyasa yoga sequences for beginners are a lot more physically demanding and will require you to physically transition from one pose to another. 

Specifically, Vinyasa yoga classes for beginners teach you to link your transitions to your breathing, which essentially means that you will move on either your inhale or exhale. During these sessions, the primary aim of the instructor is to teach your body control, to move at one with your breath. 

What sets this practice apart from the others is that Vinyasa yoga exercises for beginners are never the same from one session to the next, whilst other variations such as Hatha will primarily focus on teaching the same identical routine. 

Please note, when it comes to beginners yoga Vinyasa is rarely recommended for those who are brand new to the practice. It is physically demanding and should only be approached once you have gained your confidence and developed a better understanding for how yoga works as a whole. 

What Are Some of The Best Vinyasa Yoga Sequences for Beginners?

Unlike the other aforementioned practices, in order to engage with Vinyasa yoga, you must execute more than one move, instead, you must successfully perform an entire sequence. 

The following sequence has been deemed suitable for all Vinaysa newbies and beginners:

High Planks

The High Plank poses are great examples of yoga exercises for beginners which will engage a large number of muscles.

Starting Position: 

Start on your hands and knees, your wrists should be directly below your shoulders, your breath should be smooth and even through your nose, with your thoughts being focused and present.

Spread your fingers and press down into the ground with your hands and forearms, keeping your chest tight and upright. Whilst keeping your abdominal muscles tight, be sure to lengthen your back and neck. 

Execution:

  • Whilst exhaling, press down on your toes and allow your knees to be lifted off the ground. 
  • Your head, spine, and heels should be one straight line.
  • Keep your thighs lifted at all times, do not let your hips sink low, likewise, your buttocks should not stick too high in the air. If either of these things happens be sure to correctly realign your body into a straight line. 
  • To keep yourself aligned, draw your pelvic muscles towards your spine, whilst contracting your abdominal muscles. 

How Long Should I Hold High Planks?: 30 Seconds is the ideal time for beginner’s yoga. 

What Are The Benefits of High Planks?: If you’re looking for yoga poses for beginners that will tone your muscles then you should be practicing high planks whenever possible. This vinyasa yoga pose will cover multiple areas of your body, including your abdomen, chest, wrists and the muscles surrounding the spine. 

Practicing this pose will increase your stamina and balance, whilst also helping to improve your overall posture.

The Cobra Pose

When it comes to yoga moves for beginners the cobra pose is an easy maneuver to master. If you’re just starting out on your vinyasa journey you should incorporate this pose into your regular routine whenever possible.

Starting Position: 

Start this pose by lying face-down on a yoga mat with your legs extended far behind you, ensuring that they are spread a few inches apart. The top of your toes should rest on the edge of the mat.

Your elbows should be pressed against the side of your body, with your hands under your shoulders and fingers pointed towards the tip of the mat. 

Execution:

  • Inhale as you push your head and chest off the floor, keeping your lower chest on the mat. 
  • Draw your shoulders backward and keep your chest pushed out.
  • It’s recommended that beginners should keep their gaze fixed forward, however, if you’re feeling comfortable try to look towards the ceiling.
  • Continue to lift your upper-body upward naturally extending your spine, your legs should remain fixed to the floor. 
  • Try to keep your chest and collar bone as broad as possible, keeping your heart lifted from the floor. 
  • Press your shoulder blades into your upper back, whilst keeping your elbows hugged into your sides.

How Long Should I Hold The Cobra Pose? 30 Seconds - 1 Minute.

What Are The Benefits of The Cobra Pose? When it comes to yoga poses for beginners the cobra is an excellent method for stretching the spine in order to increase flexibility. This has also been known to be therapeutic for asthma sufferers as well as sciatica pain.

If you’re looking for a therapeutic way to heal pain whilst also improving your overall yoga practice then we strongly recommend the cobra pose.

If you’re looking to incorporate more vinyasa yoga sequences into your routine we recommend taking things slow to start off with. Don’t feel the need to rush into the transitions or unfamiliar stretches, remember as a beginner you need to take your time in order to successfully master this variation of yoga. 

If you’d like more information relating to this particular branch of yoga, we’d advise you to read OriGym’s article detailing Vinyasa vs Hatha yoga

#4 - Ashtanga Yoga 

In a similar vein to how Hatha and Yin yoga share similarities, so too do Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. 

As a practice Ashtanga yoga sequences for beginners also places a heavy emphasis on transitions, in fact it is considered to be the most structured and energetic yoga variation. If you are a beginner who wants to strive towards a goal, you should be aiming to complete Ashtanga classes. 

Due to its structured nature Ashtanga sequences for beginners may be easy to pick up, as each session will start with sitting stretches such as the plank pose, before slowly transitioning into standing sequences, before concluding back into seated movements. 

If you are someone who finds calmness in structure then OriGym strongly recommends these types of classes, as you will be able to relax into the session knowing what is to come, rather than being anxious about the unexpected. 

If you’re interested in learning more about these specific yoga routines for beginners, then check out our article on everything you need to know about Ashtanga yoga.

What Are Some of The Best Ashtanga Yoga Sequences for Beginners?

This section is somewhat different from the others to appear within the article, as the structured nature which Ashtanga yoga classes for beginners provide has a pre-set sequence to follow.

This routine is often referred to as the ‘primary sequence’ and is essentially Ashtanga yoga for beginners. It is alternatively referred to as yoga chikitas (yoga therapy) and is designed to loosen muscles and relax the mind. 

Ashtanga yoga routines for beginners open its primary sequence with forward bends, before transitioning into twists and finally ending with hip openers. If you’re looking for a challenge look no further, as this is sure to have you sweating whilst reaching an inner state of calmness. 

We hope that this section has provided you with a better understanding of the different practices surrounding yoga, as well as some new yoga poses for beginners to incorporate into your routine. 

However, if you’d still like to read more about different types of yoga click here for our article on the 24 different yoga styles.

Yoga Words and Phrases You Need to Know

As we have discussed previously within the article, simple yoga for beginners often lacks context, it simply requires the classes’ attendees to follow the instructor without providing further knowledge on the topic. Many newcomers often find themselves confused when tutors begin spouting words and phrases that they’ve never heard before, which is why it's so important to do your own research. 

This section will share some insight regarding commonly used phrases that all beginner yoga enthusiasts will need to know.

#1 - Asana

When researching yoga poses for beginner’s you will most certainly come across the word asana, the use of which is a topic of debate among the yoga communities between purist and newer Western audiences.

Asana literally translates into ‘seat’ and in the original yoga teachings would relate to meditative poses. However, with newer Western practices comes a more watered-down interpretation of the word, which is now used to simply describe any form of movement or pose.

Even when you’re practicing simple yoga for beginners you’ll often find instructors use phrases such as ‘let's transition into our next asana’. This umbrella term is used for any pose and stretch, regardless of whether it's seated, reclining, standing, inverted, twisted or balanced centric.

#2 - Bandha

This phrase isn’t as commonly used as asana, however, it’s still vitally important for your overall knowledge of the practice of beginners yoga. This is a word that refers to internal muscular ‘locks’ that, when engaged, will support the toning and lifting of areas within the body.

This phrase is often used during Hatha yoga for beginners classes, and commonly refers to poses that require classes to sit down. It may be easy to think of this lock as being connected to your posture, everything from your pelvic floor to your throat should be perfectly upright and aligned. 

Yoga stretches for beginners will target 3 key bandha’s in particular:

  1. Mula Bandha - The pelvic floor muscles 
  2. Uddiyana Bandha - The abdominals 
  3. Jalandhara Bandha - The Throat 

When looking at yoga moves for beginners you may find the phrase Maha Bandha to be frequently used, this is an umbrella term that is otherwise known as ‘the great lock’ that connects all three bandhas. 

#3 - Chakra 

Many yoga classes for beginners may briefly touch upon the topic of chakras, in this instance, you will often hear instructors refer to specific poses being beneficial for certain chakras. 

In the interest of providing knowledge relating to basic yoga for beginners then you should know that there are 7 chakras within the body, we will also include the original Sanskrit names as certain classes may stir away from a westernised teaching method: 

  • The Root Chakra (Muladhara) - Located at the root of the spine
  • The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana) - Located in the lower abdomen
  • The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) - Located in the upper abdomen 
  • The Heart Chakra (Anahata) - Located in the center of the chest 
  • The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) - Located in the throat 
  • The Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) - Located between the eyebrows 
  • The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) - Located at the tip of your head

If you’d like to know the history behind these chakras check OriGym’s list of 17 yoga symbols and their deeper meanings.

Within the aforementioned article, you will also discover the best yoga exercises for beginners that can be used to engage each one of these chakras. 

#4 - Core 

The best yoga exercises for beginners will engage the core, however, when using this phrase in relation to yoga it means something a little different to other fitness-related exercises. 

When used in conjunction with yoga classes the word ‘core’ does not simply refer to an athlete's abdomen. Instead many instructors who teach yoga for beginners will ask you to think of your body as an apple core that runs from your head to your feet.

This phrase and ideology is commonly used in order to promote a sense of harmony within the body, ensuring that your body, chakras, and bandhas are all acting as one.

#5 - OM 

The concept of Om is often considered to be one of the most basic yoga for beginners ideologies you can learn, in fact even those who aren’t yogis will be familiar with this word in some capacity. 

Some simple yoga for beginners' teachings may spell this differently as ohm or aum, however, the ideology will always remain the same. Om is essentially the sound of the universe, chanting it or simply looking at its symbol is said to have energising and uplifting properties. 

The vibrations created by chanting Om are also said to promote thoughts of peace and tranquility, which is said to be achieved through connecting your body, mind, and soul. This fact has even been backed by scientific studies, which found that those who engaged with Om are more likely to be alert and sensitive to sensory transmissions. 

#6 - Gyan Mudrās 

When discussing the best yoga poses for beginners many other resources often overlook the mudrās, a hand gesture that many will be passively familiar with prior to attending any classes. 

While you are seated comfortably on a yoga mat or the floor your instructor will ask you to gently press your index finger against your thumb whilst keeping your other fingers straight.

Much like the chanting of Om the mudrās is said to have relaxing properties and is traditionally paired with meditation during yoga classes for beginners.

Once you have a better understanding of yoga poses for beginners you’ll understand why this hand gesture is paired with meditation, as mudrās literally translate to wisdom, consciousness, and knowledge.

#7 - Namaste 

Namaste is another example of a hand gesture that is often taught within beginners' yoga classes. This phrase is often chanted at the beginning and end of each session as a sort of acknowledging gesture.

In order to accurately perform a namaste gesture simply join both hands together and bow slightly before chanting the word itself. Whilst some consider namaste to fall under the category of simple yoga for beginners, many still don’t know its true meaning and instead mindlessly say it to others. 

Namaste simply translates to ‘the light in me acknowledges the light in you’ and is used as a term of gratitude to develop a bond between those in attendance. 

--

If you’re enjoying this article dissecting Yoga for Beginners then we think you may also enjoy these other OriGym articles:

How to Start Beginners Yoga

Discussing all of the aforementioned yoga exercises for beginners may have left some beginners feeling overwhelmed. This article contains a lot of information relating to the overall practice of yoga, however, some readers may require a more detailed explanation of how to start yoga. 

Within this section, we will provide some key tips explaining how you can find success in beginners' yoga. 

#1 - Choose Between Home or Studio 

Before approaching yoga for beginners class aspiring yogis must first decide where they want to practice. Thanks to social media platforms classes are now available online and you can study yoga for beginners on YouTube from the comfort of their own home. 

One of the benefits of using yoga for beginners' YouTube channels is that you’ll be able to learn at your own pace. If you struggle with a certain pose then you’ll be able to pause the video and take as much time as you need, whereas group classes will typically move along at a faster rate. 

Alternatively, if you prefer social interaction then attending simple yoga for beginners classes in studios may be the better option. Whilst you won’t be able to pause classes to practice in your own time you will get valuable feedback from your instructors, who will provide you with ways that you can personally improve.

There are pros and cons of studying at home and at studios, the most important thing is to attend a beginners yoga class that’s right for you. At OriGym we recommend attempting both classes before deciding which one works best for you.

#2 - Learn Some Poses Ahead of Time 

This isn’t necessarily a requirement as much as a suggestion, but before attending an in-person yoga class you should consider learning some poses beforehand. As a beginner, you may really struggle with certain asanas during the class, and by simply practicing for an hour a day you will greatly benefit your overall performance. 

But what are the best yoga poses for beginners to practice? We’d recommend practicing asanas such as the mountain, child, and warrior 1 as they are easy to master and will give you a confidence boost heading into your next class.

#3 - Wear Comfortable Clothing 

When attending yoga classes for beginners the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable, many newcomers enter their sessions wearing what they would typically wear to the gym, however, this won’t benefit you.

When practicing yoga you want clothing that won’t confine you, that will stretch and contort with your body as you enter new asanas. Some regular gym clothing is thus unsuitable for the general practice of yoga as they will be designed to compress your muscles.

For advice on what clothing to wear to your sessions read our article on the 21 best yoga leggings for men and women here

#4 - Invest In a Non-Slip Yoga Mat

If you’ve clicked on this article looking for advice relating to yoga gear for beginners then our biggest piece of advice is to invest in a non-slip mat to practice your asanas. But why are yoga mats so important?

Whilst it may seem like a rather obvious investment for some, others still choose to embrace the yoga mat despite it providing the beneficial properties of providing padding and comfort to your body. However, we suggested you go the extra mile and invest in a non-slip mat as this will further protect you from unwanted injuries.

As a novice even simple yoga for beginners can make you a little unstable on your feet, the last thing you want is a mat sliding out from under you, sending you tumbling to the floor. 

A non-slip yoga mat is one of the best pieces of yoga gear for beginners you can buy, for recommendations, we suggest you check out our list of the 17 best yoga mats on the market

#5 - Focus on Yourself 

If you’ve signed up for yoga for beginners class the thing we must stress is that you should never compare yourself to others. Yoga is a challenging practice to master and you are just beginning on this journey, whilst other ‘beginners’ may have weeks or even months' worth of training over you.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your struggles we recommend using the success of others to motivate yourself. When practicing yoga routines for beginners strive to be those in the class that have mastered every pose and can effortlessly transition from one to the next.

This is not to say you should rush your practice, yoga is purposeful and mindful; it requires you to be relaxed and in tune with your body. If you’re stressed about your progression then you’re simply defeating the entire purpose of practicing yoga.

#6 - Eat and Drink Wisely 

If you’re attending yoga classes for beginners then you may be struggling with the decision of what to eat prior to your session. We strongly recommend eating a simple snack that will fuel your body for a short period of time, such as fiber-packed fruits, sports bars or almonds. 

Stay away from anything that is greasy, processed, or large in quantity. This is because your body will be contorted into a variety of shapes and poses during the class, and the aforementioned foods are likely to make you feel sick if consumed immediately before a session.

Whatsmore, whilst it's recommended that you should avoid drinking during yoga classes you should be sure to hydrate your body both before and after the session. 

#7 - Know Your Limitations

When practicing yoga poses for beginners it's very easy to fall into the trap of pushing yourself too far, as you’ll want to constantly build upon what you have already learned. However, this should be avoided at all costs, as ignoring your body could result in disastrous consequences such as long-term injury. 

Remember, yoga is all about being in tune with your body and listening to yourself, therefore if you’re struggling to breathe or feeling severe pain whilst practicing a specific pose or stretch stop immediately. Never force yourself to do something in the name of improvement, it is simply not worth the long-term risks.

Poses can always be adapted to meet your specific needs, be it discomfort, injury or pregnancy to name but a few. Any decent yoga instructor will take your needs into account and will provide an alternative to said asana.

Adapting to the individual is a common practice within many different types of yoga, for an example of how this works why not read this article on the benefits and definition of rocket yoga.

Benefits of Yoga Workouts for Beginners

Now that we have covered some general advice relating to yoga for beginners it may interest you to know some of the benefits yoga can provide. 

#1 - Decrease Stress Levels

As mentioned within this article yoga is a great way to unwind after a stressful day, shut off all distractions from the outside world and focus solely on yourself. Whatsmore, yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, due to its effect on cortisol levels, a hormone that has been routinely linked to increased stress levels.

This is supported by research that found that after three weeks of regular yoga sessions participants had lower levels of cortisol, stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. 

Furthermore, the meditation sessions which are often taught in yoga for beginners have also been found to have stress-relieving properties. It is believed that meditation can decrease stress levels as it forces you to be alone with your thoughts, choosing to address them at the moment rather than suppressing them.

For more information relating to this topic click here to read our analysis of the 13 benefits of meditation.

#2 - Reduces Inflammation

In addition to improving your mental health, beginners yoga has also been found to have physical benefits too, such as helping to reduce inflammation levels throughout the body.

Whilst inflammation is a naturally occurring autoimmune response, however, when rates get too high it can lead to serious conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 

The notion that inflammation can be reduced by yoga has been backed by scientific research. These results showed that after 12 weeks of consistent yoga sessions inflammatory symptoms reduced in breast cancer survivors who suffered from persistent fatigue.

#3 - Helps With High Blood Pressure

Yoga stretches for beginners are a great method for getting the blood flowing around your body, supplying tissues with important nutrients, which will improve the overall health of your heart. 

This is achieved by lowering the risk of developing potential heart-related diseases and conditions. 

One of these conditions is high blood pressure, which has been proven by studies to be positively influenced by regular yoga sessions. Here it was found that on average yogi’s over the age of 40 had lower blood pressure and pulse rate level when compared to those who didn’t engage within the practice. 

#4 - Reduces Chronic Pain 

It may surprise some of our readers to learn that chronic pain is a leading factor that drives many aspiring yogis to sign up for yoga classes for beginners. It is believed that due to its heavy focus on stretches and twists, that yoga can help to ease the pain within damaged joints and bones.

In particular, it has been noted that simple yoga for beginners can benefit those who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Osteoarthritis. This is largely due to the fact that the yoga sessions improve the joint's strength and overall function.

#5 - Improve Your Sleeping Quality 

This is a benefit many of us can get behind, after all who doesn’t want a better quality of sleep? A lack of sleep or a poor schedule can seriously affect our daily life and has been linked to overeating, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.  

However, yoga has been shown to significantly improve sleeping patterns, reducing the likelihood of any of these side effects occurring. This is largely due to the fact that you're being active, using a significant amount of energy stretching your body into various shapes and poses.  

But how exactly can basic yoga for beginners benefit your sleeping quality? Research found that yoga can help in the production and secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness, and the yogi’s who partook in this study were found to have higher levels of this particular hormone.

#6 - Improves Flexibility and Balance 

Improving one's flexibility and balance is another common example behind many individuals' choice to pick up yoga. 

Specifically, yoga improves flexibility by improving your muscles and joints' range of motion, this, in turn, allows you to stretch into more challenging asanas. Yin yoga in particular is known for significantly improving flexibility as it requires yogis to hold the same pose for a significant amount of time.

Balance is also an integral part of many variations of yoga, some poses will require you to engage with your core and balance in precarious positions for extended periods. Often many instructors cite yogi’s balancing ability as an indication of their focus levels, so be sure to tune out all distractions when heading into a class or session. 

#7 - Increases Your Strength 

Yoga moves for beginners not only benefit your flexibility and balance ability but holding these asanas can do wonders for your strength too. In fact, many deem yoga to be a superior form of strength training, as unlike workouts such as weightlifting, yoga benefits the strength of the entire body rather than a targeted area. 

In particular, Vinyasa yoga has been known to improve strength among those who partake. However, this does have some limitations, as yoga relies heavily on your own body weight meaning that it is somewhat difficult to progress without the assistance of equipment.

This is where yoga equipment such as sandbags, belts, and swings can come in handy, yoga gear for beginners can be used to gradually improve your strength, once your body is growing too used to relying on its own weight. 

For our essential guide on what you can purchase to improve your strength check out this list on the 21 best pieces of yoga equipment.

FAQ

What Yoga YouTube Channels Should I Watch?

When researching yoga for beginners YouTube will be your best friend, as the social media site is packed with instructors who have created content that will benefit a beginner's practice. 

By far the most popular instructor to use this site is YogaWithAdriene who boasts an impressive 6.1 million subscribers. Adriene provides her viewers with classes suitable for beginners and experts alike, if you’re just starting off your yoga journey this is a great place to start. 

What’s great about this particular channel is its vast amount of content, which will allow you to search for specific topics, styles, and lengths of sessions that will best suit your specific needs. 

However, Adriene may not be for everyone, but there is so many more yoga for beginners YouTube channels available at your fingertips. For more recommendations check out the 18 best YouTube yoga channels here

What Are Some Fun Ways To Get Into Yoga?

Learning yoga moves for beginners doesn't have to be as rigidly approached as some may think. Attending specific classes, or using yoga to unwind after a long stress-filled day may not be for everyone, some may require a fun alternative in order to engage with the practice.

If you’re one of these individuals we would recommend taking up some yoga-based challenges. These will often be found on YouTube and other social media platforms and will require participants to engage with yoga poses for beginners in a way that is less controlled and structured.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fun and effective engagement method then read our definitive list of the 16 best yoga challenges for 1 & 2 people

What Qualities Do I Need to Teach Beginners Yoga?

If you have a passion for yoga and helping others, then you may want to consider becoming an instructor in order to teach yoga poses for beginners.

In order to find success teaching yoga workouts for beginners, you will need to have good people skills, whilst also maintaining the ability to be compassionate and patient. You should always be looking to make your students feel at ease, even when they’re struggling with an asana or certain class, be sure to remind them that they’re just beginning their journey and have a long road ahead of them.

The biggest piece of advice we can give to all aspiring beginners yoga instructors is to be passionate about your craft. If you truly love yoga then you will thrive within this environment of teaching others.

For further guidance on what makes a good yoga instructor why not read our article detailing what makes a good yoga instructor?

Before You Go!

Our article has been designed to make the transition into yoga for beginners that much easier, for anyone who may be a complete novice or nervous for their first class. Just remember that there is nothing to fear, in beginner yoga classes many attendees will be in the same boat and will be just as new as you are. 

At OriGym we encourage all of our readers to enter yoga with an open mind, in order to be receptive to both its physical and spiritual teachings. Remember yoga is so much more than just a physical workout, for many it is a deeply personal experience that deserves to be treated with the utmost respect.

Before you go, please remember that OriGym’s formally accredited personal training courses can help you break into the fitness industry immediately upon graduation. We have a 97% pass rate for a reason and provide the best fitness-based education on the market today. 

Alternatively, you can download our FREE in-depth prospectus to learn more about what we offer, and how it could be exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Resources:

  • Sanjay Kumar Et Al. (2010) Meditation on OM: Relevance from ancient texts and contemporary science. PMC
  • Andreas Michalsen Et Al. (2005) Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program. PubMed
  • Jyotsana R Bharshankar.(2003) Effect of yoga on cardiovascular system in subjects above 40 years. PubMed
  • Lorenzo Cohen Et Al. (2004) Psychological adjustment and sleep quality in a randomized trial of the effects of a Tibetan yoga intervention in patients with lymphoma. PubMed

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

Recommended Posts

Download your Guide to "What Makes a Good Yoga Teacher"

Download your Guide to "What Makes a Good Yoga Teacher"