While there are many styles of yoga, there are certain poses that are practiced across the different forms. A beginner should become familiar with these basic poses, since they help prepare the body for the demands of more advanced postures. Many of these postures can also be modified to provide more of a challenge, but start with the standard pose before attempting an extension or variation.
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Mountain pose is one of the most basic yoga poses and the basis for many other postures. It helps improve posture, strengthens the thighs, ankles and knees, and firms the buttocks and abdomen. It can also help relieve sciatica.
Perhaps the quintessential yoga pose, downward-facing dog serves many purposes and is one of the first postures a beginner will learn. It stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, hands and calves, and stretches the arms and legs. It can help relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
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Like mountain pose, tree is a basic standing posture. It is also a balance posture and strengthens the thighs, calves and spine. Tree pose stretches the groin, inner thighs, shoulders and chest, and can also help relieve sciatica.
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There are three different warrior poses, but they each have the same benefits. Warrior poses strengthen and stretch the legs, groin, chest, lungs and shoulder. They can also help relieve backaches and stimulate the abdominal organs.
Cobra is a "baby backbend" that can help ease beginners into more advanced postures. It strengthens the spine and stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. It firms the buttocks and stimulates the abdominal organs.
Triangle is yet another multifunctional posture. It strengthens and stretches the legs, hips and spine, and opens the chest to allow for better breathing. It can relieve mild back pain and also improves one's sense of balance.
Seated Forward Bend
Seated forward bend is one of the first poses a yoga beginner will learn. It helps stretch the spine and shoulders, and stimulates the liver and kidneys. It can also provide relief for back pain, and it calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
Child's pose is a resting posture that is often used after a more difficult pose. It can also help beginners get a feel for forward bends. It gently stretches the thighs and hips, and relieves back and neck pain. It can also help relieve stress.
Corpse pose is another resting posture and is often performed at the end of a yoga class. It allows the body to recover from the previous postures and helps it relax. It calms the brain and can help relieve stress. It also helps reduce blood pressure and can help with insomnia.
Plank pose helps strengthen the arms and spine, and tones the abdomen. It can be used by itself or as part of the sun salutation. Plank can help beginners prepare for more challenging arm balances, and it can be modified into dolphin plank pose to further strengthen the legs and upper body.
Tayla Holman started writing in 2006, specializing in technology, health and wellness, and diet and nutrition. She is a graduate of Hofstra University, earning her B.A. in print journalism and English.