Yoga is a great way to stretch, get your body moving, relax your soul, and align your body with your mind. It’s a form of exercise and meditation, and the benefits can be astonishing when you truly dedicate yourself to it. However, yoga can be tricky to master, and it’s hard to know where to begin if you’re not very familiar with it. If you’re struggling to where to start, here are ten yoga moves that anyone can master with some time, practice, and patience.
This is perhaps one of the simplest and most basic yoga stretches. It doesn’t require almost any movement, and its main purpose is to give our body a moment of rest within a stretch. It’s worth noting that this move—along with all the rest—will be much more comfortable with a yoga mat, so start by placing one on the floor in front of you.
Begin by kneeling on your mat and keeping your knees about as wide as your hips. Now take a deep breath and lower your torso between your thighs and stretch your tailbone back as far as you can.
Extend your arms out in front of you and stretch them towards the edge of your mat. Your face should be almost touching the ground (or it will be touching the ground). This is a position of rest, so hold this for at least a minute, or however long feels comfortable to you.
Even if you don’t much about yoga, you’re probably familiar with this one. You start similarly to Child’s Pose, kneeling down with your knees apart about as wide as your hips. Put your hands out flat in front of you, right below your shoulders.
Now that you’re in position, begin with cat; you should arch your back so that your spine is high in the air. It may feel like your ribcage is folding beneath you. Now transition into cow, arching your back the opposite way. Your torso will be “pulled” closer to the mat, make a “U” shape. Now you can switch between these two!
Once again, you’ve probably heard of this yoga stretch before. At the start, you can either begin by standing or by lying down on your front. You need to make your way into getting your feet flat on the gran while also having your hands down flat out in front of you.
Your tailbone should be high in the air, and your body will look somewhat like an upside down “V.” Make sure that your torso is aligned with your arms and keep your legs strong and planted. You might not be able to stretch a ton when you first try out this yoga position, but with some time and practice, you will feel your back and hamstrings being stretched more and more.
This pose is very easy and incredibly simple. All you need to do is stand with your toes together, heels slightly apart, and reach your arms up into the air. You should be pressing your feet down while simultaneously reaching up. From here you can start to stretch a little bit, moving your back and arms slightly to feel a good stretch.
This yoga move is probably the most standard, but it helps you center yourself in between other stretches and refocus your brain. Make sure to take deep breaths and hold this position for a little while (about 3-5 inhales and exhales).
This yoga pose starts like any standard lunge. Begin with your hands on either side of you to help you get into position. Place your right leg in a ninety-degree angle in front of you and extend your left leg straight back with your toes on the mat.
Now slowly bring your torso up and reach your hands high into the air. Keep your back as straight as you can and hold this position to get a stretch going in your legs, upper body, and core. This one may take some extra time and practice, but it shouldn’t take long to master. You should repeat this on the other side, as well!
This is a pretty iconic yoga stretch, and it begins by simply standing on your mat. Now extend one leg out in front of you in an angle squatting position, keeping that foot facing forward, and the other leg behind you in a straight line with that foot parallel to your other one.
Bring your arms fully out and stretch them both away from your body as much as possible. Keep your head high and straight and take a few deep breaths. You can repeat this on the other side, too, and this yoga pose will help you stretch all sorts of different things in a pretty simple way!
The Upward-Facing Dog has a few other names, too, such as the serpent. It’s easier to go into this one if you start with a low plank. Make sure your hands are flat on the mat in front of you, right underneath your shoulders.
Now bring the tops of your feet to rest on the ground as you keep your lower half close to the mat and your upper body extended upright. You will feel a stretch in your back and thighs. Your knees and thighs can rest on the ground, too, if needed. This isn’t too tricky to master, and this stretch will feel so good.
Tree pose requires some practice in balance, but once you get the hang of it, it will feel like second nature (get it?). You can start by just standing but bring one foot up to rest on the inside of your lower thigh. Once you’re balanced on your planted foot, raise your arms up into the air as high as you can. You can keep them apart or put them together to help center and align your body.
Begin this pose by lying down on your back. Keep your arms and head planted on the mat and extend your feet out flat as you raise your legs and torso up. Your upper back will likely still be on the ground, but from your mid-back all the way down to your feet, everything will be raised.
This takes some core strength and practice, but any beginner can learn this yoga stretch quite quickly.
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