Hey yogi! I have been practicing yoga online for nearly a decade, and I want to share how you can develop a strong at-home yoga practice even if you are a beginner. Here's a hint, it all starts with the fundamentals, the basic yoga poses. Can a beginner learn yoga at home is a question that I see frequently on sites like Reddit. And while yes, you can learn yoga at home even if you are a beginner, you'll want to become very familiar with specific fundamental yoga poses before moving on to more advanced postures.
In this article, we'll explore the basic yoga poses beginners should learn first to develop a strong at-home yoga practice. I will also share the best online resource for learning yoga at home.
If you want to learn yoga at home, this is a great place to start!
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Can a beginner learn yoga online?
Yes, you can learn yoga at home alone if you are a beginner, but you'll want to take proper precautions and ease into it, just as you would ease into weight training. While you won't study the eight limbs of yoga on an online platform, you can learn the physical aspect of yoga!
Questions about how a beginner can learn yoga online come up often. While yes, you can learn yoga by yourself, if you have never attended a yoga class in your life, it is imperative that you join a yoga platform that has an extensive beginner's area.
DoYogaWithMe is a great online yoga option for beginner yogis. They have a robust beginner section with a dedicated area called Basics For Beginners. This section contains beginner videos about breath and bandhas, alignment, stabilization, and core strength. All of which are critical components of a safe and effective yoga practice.
As a beginner, you will want to advance slowly and really get to know each pose before learning a new one. In an ideal scenario, you complete an entire beginner series where each class builds upon the previous class. You will want to start with online yoga classes for beginners before moving on to any Vinyasa flow classes.
As a yoga newbie, give yourself time to become familiar with the practice. Overstretching is a thing, and injuries can happen from yoga.
The 10 yoga poses a beginner should learn first
- Cat cow
- Child's pose
- Downward-facing dog
- Upward-facing dog
- Plank pose
- Cobra pose
- Warrior 1
- Warrior 2
- Chair pose
- Low lunge
While there are hundreds of yoga pose variations, there are certain asanas (postures) that you will perform in almost every single yoga class. I recommend that you become very familiar with these poses first.
These specific yoga postures should become like second nature to you, and you'll want to be able to recall them quickly from memory.
1. Cat cow (Chakravakasana)
To perform the alternating sequence of cat cow, begin on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees.
For cow: Inhale deeply while dropping your lower back towards the floor while keeping your abs engaged. Bring your head up and tilt your pelvis up and broaden your collarbones.
For cat: From cow, exhale deeply while pulling your navel in towards your spine and rounding your back to draw your shoulder blades apart. Drop your head so that your gaze is towards your naval and tuck your tailbone under.
2. Child's pose (Balasana)
To get into child's pose, first come to your hands and knees, move your big toes towards one another to touching with the tops of your feet to the mat. Take your knees hip distance apart. Sit back onto your heels. Rest your forehead to the mat. Bring your hands forward with your palms facing down or behind you with palms up. Close your eyes and relax into the pose.
3. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
From a tabletop position, using your core, draw your hips up to the sky and your chest towards the back of the mat into down dog. Walk your feet back until you are in an inverted V position. Root down through your feet and continue lifting from the core to lengthen your side body. Your hands should remain shoulder distance apart and your feet hip distance apart. Keep your ears in line with arms to lengthen your neck.
4. Upward-facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
From a cobra position, push firmly through your hands and the tops of your feet, and straighten your arms to lift your chest. Your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be stacked. Knit your shoulder blades together and down to draw the chest forward. Broaden your collarbones. Keep your pelvis and knees lifted. Gaze forward or up to lengthen the back of the neck.
5. Plank pose (Phalakasana)
In a table top position, place your hands onto the mat beneath your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide with middle fingers pointing forward. Step back with your feet hip distance apart or with your feet together for more leg engagement. Stack the balls of your feet beneath your heels. Straighten your legs by engaging your quadriceps to lift the kneecaps. Gaze down to lengthen the back of the neck.
6. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
Lying on the ground with your chest on the floor, place your feet hip distance apart. Bring your hands in line with your elbows and bottom ribs. Straighten your legs by engaging your quadriceps and glutes. Press firmly through the tops of the feet to lift the kneecaps off the mat. Lightly press through the hands. Knit your shoulder blades together and down to draw your chest forward and up. Gaze forward to lengthen the back of the neck.
7. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
From mountain pose step back with one foot. Keep your feet hip distance apart to square your hips to the front of the mat. Stack your front shin in a straight line from knee to ankle. Spin the back heel to the mat and angle the toes to point slightly forward and out. Root down through the feet and lift your back inner thigh to the sky. Engage your core to lift the torso, and reach your arms to the sky with hands shoulder distance apart. Pull legs energetically towards each other to find mula bandha. Gaze forward or up.
8. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
From Warrior 1 maintain your stance and open your body to the side. Change your back foot position to be in a line with the back of your mat. The heel of your front foot should be in line with the arch of the back foot. Bend your front knee directly over your ankle, bringing your front thigh parallel to the mat. To straighten the back leg, lift the inner thigh while opening the front hip. Keeping your torso upright, engage the upper back. Reach your arms out parallel to the mat, away from the body. Gaze forward.
9. Chair pose (Utkatasana)
From mountain pose (Tadasana), bend knees deeply and shift weight to heels. Try to bring your shins in a straight line from knees to the tops of the feet. Lift your arms to the sky with palms facing one another and fingers spread wide. Gaze forward or up.
10. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Keep your feet hip distance apart to square hips to the front of the mat. Stack your front shin in a straight line from knee to ankle. Lower your back knee to the mat and untuck the toes. Reach your arms to the sky with hands shoulder distance apart. Gaze forward or up.
Basic to intermediate yoga pose guide
If you are brand new to yoga, these poses below will be ones you will likely soon master with your own expression by repetition! As well as getting acquainted with the asanas described above and the ones in the image below, we encourage you to look at Yoga Journal's pose guide, and most importantly, listen to your body.
FAQ about learning yoga at home
Is online yoga good for beginners?
Online yoga is great for beginners as long as you start with beginner classes to learn basic alignment principles, how to breathe in a yoga class and the fundamentals of engagement.
Can I do yoga everyday as a beginner?
Yes you can do yoga every day as a beginner, but I recommend switching the styles of yoga up if you want to practice yoga every day. For example, you could mix it up between Restorative, Vinyasa, and Hatha classes. More advanced yogis can certainly take multiple Vinyasa classes in one week, but I wouldn't recommend that for a beginner.
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