The best beginner yoga postures

How to start yoga: Try our best yoga stretches for beginners

If you’ve never tried yoga before, it can look a bit intimidating. Not knowing what to expect can put you off joining a yoga class or trying an at home practice.

So if you don’t know your warrior from your tree pose, then have a go at our best yoga postures for beginners.


Men and women practising yoga outsideCredit: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
Everyone can benefit from yoga.

We’ve enlisted the help of yoga instructor Jade Gooding, who teaches online yoga classes for InstructorLive. This is one of the top on-demand fitness platforms in the UK, which also provides free videos for the NHS YouTube channel.

Yoga is more popular than ever and if you haven’t tried it yet, we’ve pulled together a guide with everything you need to know on how to get started in beginners’ yoga.

If you want to learn some basic moves before you join a class, or try a few poses to improve flexibility, then this is a great sequence to get going .

All you need is a towel or rug to put on the floor – or better still a yoga mat.



Child’s Pose (Balasana)

A gentle stretch for the back, hips and thighs, whilst creating a moment of rest where the body can be still.

Woman on yoga mat in child's pose - kneeling, with her forehead resting on the floor, arms over her head, resting on the matCredit: InstructorLive
Child’s Pose gently stretches the back.

How to do a Child’s Pose

From kneeling, lower your hips to your heels and your forehead towards the floor. Knees can be slightly apart to help make you more comfortable or place a pillow between your heels and bottom. Reach your arms overhead with the palms of your hands on the floor. Breathe.



Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)

A posture to strengthen the core and upper body, while improving circulation. It provides a wonderful stretch for the backs of the legs, as well as lengthening the spine.

A woman on a yoga mat in downward dog posture.Credit: InstructorLive
Downward Dog really stretches the calf muscles.

How to do a Downward Dog

From your hands and knees, take your hands slightly further forwards and tuck your toes under. Exhale as you lift your knees off the mat and send your sit bones up towards the ceiling.

Keep your knees gently bent and focus on creating space through the spine. Let your heels fall towards the mat and keep your neck relaxed between your arms.


Warrior Two (Virabhadrasana II)

This yoga pose builds strength physically and mentally. It strengthens the legs, core and shoulders as well as building stamina and power from within. It also helps to create space around the hips and shoulders.

A woman on a yoga mat in Warrior Two stance.Credit: InstructorLive
Warrior Two helps strength the legs, core and shoulders.

How to do a Warrior Two

Face the long side of your mat, with your feet parallel in a wide stance. Turn your right foot and knee to face the top of the mat, angle your left toes slightly in. Bend your right knee and stack it over your right ankle. Distribute your weight evenly between both legs. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips and extend both arms, with your palms facing down , gazing past your right fingers.


Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

A yoga posture that helps us to feel centred, whilst establishing strength and balance.

A woman on a yoga mat practising Tree Pose. She's standing on one leg.Credit: InstructorLive
Tree pose is great for improving your balance.

How to do Tree Pose

From a strong standing position, place your right foot gently onto the inside of your left calf or thigh and carefully press your right foot and left leg together (alternatively you can keep the foot softly resting on the ground).

Ensure the pelvis stays level and your hips are square to the front. Once you feel stable, gently stretch your arms up, like branches reaching towards the sky.


Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This yoga pose strengthens your back muscles, legs, glutes and hamstrings, and can also release tension in your back. As it creates space around the respiratory system, it helps to open your lungs.

A woman on a yoga mat in Bridge posture.Credit: InstructorLive
Bridge posture can help release tension in the back.

How to do Bridge Pose

From lying down on your back, bend your knees. On your inhale, press your heels and shoulders into the mat and lift your hips up.

Keep your knees parallel by engaging the inner thighs, slide the shoulders down your back and keep your neck neutral.


Supine Half Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

This stretches the muscles on one side of the body, increases mobility of the spine and relives back pain.

A woman on a yoga mat in half twistCredit: InstructorLive
The half twist is a wonderful back stretch.

How to do a Supine Half Twist

Lying on your back, bend your right knee and on your exhale drop the right knee over the left side of your body coming into the twist. Open the arms to a t-shape and look towards your right hand, keeping both shoulders on the ground. You can place a pillow underneath your right knee for support.

Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her


Phillipa Cherryson is Saga Exceptional’s Fitness Channel Editor. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV.

Her passion is outdoor fitness. She’s a trainee mountain leader; an Ordnance Survey Champion; she organises walks and instructional events for South Wales members of online community the Adventure Queens and she’s vice chair of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Local Access Forum.

She hated sports at school and only started getting the fitness bug as she reached her 50s. Now she loves mountain walking, trail runs, e-biking, paddleboarding and climbing. She also loves cake.

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