Let’s face it: getting on board with your first yoga class can be intimidating. You might be worried about stacking up against super strong and experienced yogis, who seem to have perfected all the most advanced moves. But yoga is definitely not meant to be a competition, and no one is perfect — not even your favorite yoga-loving Instagrammer. Your yoga practice should feel good and empowering to you, and meet you where you’re at in terms of your unique set of needs. If you're looking to dip your toes in the water, and get comfortable with your practice, keep these seven yoga practices and postures you literally can't get wrong in mind.
If you’re just starting out, that’s awesome. No matter your ability level, yoga is about so much more than working out. Yoga is about you doing you, and evolving both your spiritual practice and your physical strength at the pace that works best for your individual process. And while some postures definitely aren’t for beginners, there are plenty of yoga poses and practices that anyone can do.
According to Yoga Journal, the simplest yoga postures and practices are some of the best that the discipline has to offer, and they provide healing and strengthening benefits for body and mind alike. So while certain yoga practices might take a while to achieve, others are super accessible. Like, you get your practice going, stat. No headstand with lotus legs required.
1. Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is the cornerstone of every yoga practice. By focusing on the breath with our full attention for even thirty seconds, we can experience immediate benefits. According to Yoga Journal, both ancient wisdom and current research suggest that mindful breathing is a powerful health booster.
UC Berkeley's Greater Good Center suggests that the most basic way to do mindful breathing is to find a comfy position, and focus on your breath while you inhale and exhale. You can also check out some additional yogic breathing exercises via Yoga Journal here.
2. Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana)
According to Self, Cobbler's Pose is a restorative yoga pose, and offers a great way stretch the hips, ankles, and feet, and relaxes the lower back. This beginner-friendly yoga pose is achieved by sitting on the floor, knees to the side and soles of the feet together. You can place some towels or books under your knees for added support.
3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Per Yoga Journal, Mountain Pose is a foundational yoga pose that can help lengthen the spine and promotes good posture. The basis of all yogic standing poses, Mountain Pose is a great way to either start or end your yoga sequence, and works well as a resting pose, too.
4. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodana)
DoYouYoga reports that alternate nostril breathing is accessible to both beginners and seasoned yoga-goers alike. The basic technique is not difficult and may help reduce anxiety and stress. Nadi Shodana is also a great preparation for meditation sessions. You can check out basic introduction to alternate nostril breathing here.
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Research consistently shows that there's really no downside to a regular meditation practice. From increased emotional intelligence and stress resilience to optimizing overall mental health, meditation can be so helpful. But contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be sitting cross-legged in a silent room with your eyes closed to bee able to meditate. You can meditate while you're walking, or even doing the dishes. It's all about the intention you bring to the practice. With more than several meditation techniques to choose from, you can experiment until you find the method you like best.
7. Learn About Yogic Philosophy
Traditional yoga is a way of life, and the Yoga Sutra teaches principles that can help guide our lives in health-promoting ways. Yoga tenets like learning to quiet the mind through meditation, using life challenges to deepen self-awareness, and learning to increase our stress resilience via mindfulness practices, go way beyond any physical poses we might try. Yoga is about more than working out — it's a holistic approach to self-understanding, and greater overall well-being.
Starting a new yoga practice doesn't have to be intimidating. Yoga is for truly everyone, and there are postures and practices that anyone can do, in a class with a teacher, or at home. These poses and practices can give you a strong foundation for your yoga practice that you can build on for years to come.