Yoga for Beginners: Level 1 Poses

One of my main target in my project is to take better care of my body by increasing yoga. To boost my motivation and be able to measure achieving the target, I have set my goal to practice all Poses defined by Yoga Journal. I want to be able to flex myself into all of them after 365 days of practice : )

In addition to these individual poses I’m naturally also doing “normal, long-term yoga” meaning going through yoga flow either independently or by participating into guided sessions. But in addition to doing these practices I feel nice feeling of progression when I also include practice of these individual poses into my program. By being able to flex myself into new pose and tick them off as “done” one by one gives nice feeling of achievement and also enables more variety into my normal practice!

Yoga Journal has divided poses into three categories: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. After having tested both the beginners and intermediate poses, I ended up dividing the poses further into two sub-groups as I think that the poses differ a lot on how demanding they are – especially on the intermediate section!

I’m going to now introduce 6 piece series on different yoga poses. In these posts I’m introducing the poses per level and summing-up few words on the benefits on the pose (e.g. on strength or flexibility). In addition I’m adding a link to the more detailed introduction to the pose on Yoga Journal’s page. Thus you can find more information and help how to do it in case if the picture sometimes fails to tell more than thousand words ; )

If you are interested to star yoga and / or increase your flexibility, I hope these posts will benefit also you! I recommend you practice all these poses one by one and thus bring variety on your normal yoga practice and additionally enjoy the feeling of visually graceful and beautiful postures that they enable you to stretch once go further on the levels!

Beginner’s Yoga Poses: Level 1

Level one poses are relaxing and mildly stretching poses. They act as good warm-up poses before and/or relaxation at the end the exercise. In addition they are good starting poses when starting to practice yoga and before getting to the more intense level poses.


Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose

“Savasana”
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Relaxes the body
  • Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia
  • Helps to lower blood pressure

No next level, Corpse pose is core relaxation pose


Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

“Tadasana”
  • Improves posture
  • Rest during practice
  • Foundation to all other standing poses

Next level: Tree Pose (Level 2)


Mountain Pose

Staff Pose

“Dandasana”
  • Strengthens the back muscles
  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Improves posture

Next Level: Seated Forward Bend Pose (Level 2)


Easy Pose

Easy Pose

“Sukhasana”
  • Calms the brain
  • Strengthens the back
  • Stretches the knees and ankles

Next Level: Cow Face Pose (Level 2)


Legs Up The Wall Pose

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose

“Viparita Karani”
  • Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
  • Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
  • Relieves mild backache
  • Calms the mind

Next Level: Supported Shoulderstand Pose (Level 3)


Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Pose

“Salamba Bhujangasana”
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress

Next Level: Cobra Pose (Level 2)


Child's Pose

Child’s Pose

“Balasana”
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported

Next Level: Puppy Pose (Level 2)


Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

“Supta Baddha Konasana”
  • Stimulates abdominal organs like the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys
  • Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of stress, mild depression, menstruation and menopause

Next Level: Happy Baby Pose (Level 2)


Hero Pose

Hero Pose

“Virasana”
  • Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arches
  • Improves digestion and relieves gas
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester)
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure and asthma

Next Level: Reclining Hero Pose (Level 3)


Standing Half Forward Bend Pose

Standing Half Forward Bend Pose

“Ardha Uttanasana”

  • Stretches the front torso
  • Strengthens the back and improves posture
  • Stimulates the belly

Next Level: Standing Forward Bend Pose (Level 2)


Cow Pose

Cow Pose

“Bitilasana”
  • Stretches the front torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs
  • Nice warm-up pose before practice

Next Level: Locust Pose (Level 2)


Cat Pose

Cat Pose

“Marjaryasa”
  • Stretches the back torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs
  • Nice warm-up pose before practice

Next Level: Downward Facing Dog Pose (Level 2)


Gate Pose

Gate Pose

“Parighasana” 
  • Stretches the sides of the torso and spine
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Opens the shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs and lungs

Next Level: Extended Side Angle Pose (Level 2)


Low Lunge Pose

Low Lunge Pose

“Anjaneyasana”
  • Stretches the thighs and groins
  • Opens the chest

Next Level: High Lunge Pose (Level 2)


Bharadvaja's Twist

Bharadvaja’s Twist Pose

“Bharadvajasana I”
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips
  • Massages the abdominal organs
  • Relieves lower backache, neck pain, and sciatica
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion
  • Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back
  • Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome

Next Level: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Level 2)


Plank Pose

Plank Pose

“Kumbhakasana”
  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine
  • Tones the abdomen

Next Level: Dolphin Plank Pose (Level 2)


Fish Pose

Fish Pose

“Matsyasana”
  • A traditional text that Matsyasana is the “destroyer of all diseases.”
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
  • Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
  • Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
  • Improves posture

Next Level: Bridge Pose (Level 2)


Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose

“Upavistha Konasana”
  • Stretches the insides and backs of the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Calms the brain
  • Releases groins

Next Level: Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Level 2)


Warrior I Pose

Warrior I Pose

“Virabhadrasana I”
  • Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
  • Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
  • Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles

Next Level: Warrior II Pose (Level 2)