10 best poses for beginners

What type of yoga should you do?


Meticulousness is the name of the game when it comes to Iyengar classes, which take a methodical approach to mastering yoga postures – from downward-facing dogs to standing balances. “Classes include thorough demonstrations, a focus on proper alignment and the use of props to help you deepen your understanding of each posture and help with form,” explains triyoga yoga manager Genny Wilkinson Priest. Purported benefits include developing strength and flexibility, helping with postural problems, and easing stress.

Good for: Beginners and those who like precision in their practice


“A dynamic, breath-led practice, ashtanga follows a set series of poses,” explains head of yoga at FLY LDN Fi Clark. Think the likes of forward folds, shoulder stands and plenty of sun salutations. “It’s suitable from beginners up and comprises six series that increase in difficulty. Each series should be mastered before embarking on the next,” explains Clark. The benefits? “Ashtanga is good for building strength, flexibility, agility and mental focus.”

Good for: Those who like the structure and discipline of a set routine

vinyasa flow

“This form of yoga bars similarities to Ashtanga but incorporates more of a creative element to the sequences, allowing more freedom to be taught with different transitions and modifications,” says Clark. Often classes will incorporate a beginning and ending section that follows a set of Ashtanga postures, with a more creative, flowing middle section where the teacher mixes it up with their pick of over 200 poses, she explains. Many vinyasa classes are fast moving, so expect to get your sweat on.

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Good for: People who like variety – expect the unexpected


With A-list models singing its praises, this form of yoga is seriously on-trend. But it’s not all about posturing and posing – quite the opposite. “Jivamukti classes combine the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of yoga,” says Wilkinson Priest. “Classes include vigorous asana [posture] practice, supported by Sanskrit chanting, music, readings and references to philosophical texts.”

Good for: Those who want to experience the full 360-degree yogic package – not just a workout


Get ready to slow things right down. “Yin involves holding seated and lying down postures between two to five minutes,” explains Clark. Yup, that’s a long old time. But don’t be put off – it’s all about simple, passive poses (think the likes of basic forward folds and twists). idea? “Yin roots itself in ancient practices linked to Chinese medicine. It’s believed we have thousands of meridians, or energy conduits, flowing through the body. If there are blockages, the body can’t function properly. Yin serves to clear those blockages,” explains Clark.

Good for: Rebalancing the body and releasing tightness


The secret’s in the name – hot yoga is performed in a very warm, humid studio. There are multiple different kinds, with probably the most well-known being Bikram. “Our triyoga hot yoga classes follow a set sequence of postures designed to increase circulation, flexibility and strength,” says Wilkinson Priest. “Far infrared panels heat the studio to 36-38 degrees, with 45 per cent humidity. This penetrates the body deeply and warms muscles, while the increased blood flow makes them more pliable and ‘stretchy’.” So you might just be able to get that bit closer to touching your toes – though as Wilkinson Priest notes, it’s important not to overdo things in hot classes and risk injury.

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Good for: Yoga fans who want to take it to the next level

Five things every yoga beginner needs to know

1. Leave your ego at the door

Yoga is not a competition. It’s not about who can stretch the furthest, or wriggle themselves into the most complicated moves. And you certainly don’t need to do a headstand and/or the splits every time you hit your yoga mat. Practice a little self-compassion, and don’t compare yourself with others in the class.

2. You’re allowed to be bored

One of the meditation activities I was set on my yoga retreat was to stare at a lit candle and allow the image of the flame to occupy my mind (also known as túkaka). Afterwards, our instructor asked us how we felt – it’s supposed to help you find inner peace – but I just felt bored. Supposedly, this is fine and boredom is part of meditation. Strive for mental stillness.

3. Eat at least two hours before exercising

Don’t eat and flow. Just like any other form of exercise, make sure you leave two hours before eating. No one likes to feel their dinner swishing around, especially if you’re going to be holding Downward Dog for any length of time.

4. You May Break Wind

Apparently, it’s a thing, so don’t be ashamed. If you need to commiserate, just search #yogafarts on Twitter. Worth noting: it seems to be some sort of unspoken rule of yoga that when you fart (or indeed, hear others) you shouldn’t do – or say – anything.

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5. Check your leggings aren’t see-through

Finding the best and trendiest yoga leggings can seem like an immense task given the amount of choice there is. You want a pair that is practical, comfortable and not see-through so you can contour your body without worrying that your leggings are going to fall down. If you’ve recently bought a pair of shiny new leggings, you might want to invest in some liquid chalk, otherwise balancing your foot onto your opposite leg might be a bit of a slippery challenge.

This article has been updated for World Meditation Day 2022.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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