Great yoga poses for beginners are less challenging poses that will build strength for more advanced poses as one builds one’s own yoga practice. These great tips are taken from Running with the Sunrise.
Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
The Child’s Pose is really a pose of honour. When you take Child’s Pose instead of another pose when your body is telling you it’s tired or sore, you’re honouring your body. Spreading your knees wider on the mat will help the hips open a bit, and it’s a great pose to help you center yourself mentally.
Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-Facing Dog is a great pose to help build up upper body strength, which will help you get into more advanced poses as you continue to practice yoga. Once you build up enough strength in the shoulders, you’ll start to see it as a resting pose. My tight runner calves appreciate this stretch, too.
Crescent Lunge (Ashta Chandrasana)
Crescent Lunge is a great starting hip opener. The lunge also helps strengthen the quads and can be a good stretch through the hip flexor if yours are really tight.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II is another great hip opener, especially if you track your front knee more toward the pinky toe of the front foot. It also builds strength in the upper body due to the arm placement. It’s a great pose to make sure you’re keeping your shoulders away from your ears to help you have great posture, too.
Reclining Pigeon is a great intro to Pigeon Pose for beginners whose hips are still too tight to get into Half Pigeon. I talk about Reclining Pigeon and Half Pigeon more in depth in my Best Yoga Poses for Outer Hips post.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Tree pose is one of the most accessible balancing poses. You can use your foot like a kickstand against your ankle if you need a little extra help balancing. Balancing poses help strengthen the stabilizing muscles and tendons of the standing foot, which is particularly great for runners.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge Pose is another great quad strengthener–you should really press through your quads in this pose, more so than through the glutes. If your shoulders aren’t too tight, you can tuck them under, allowing for more opening. Bridge Pose is also technically an inversion, so you get all of the benefits of an inversion too.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Reclined Bound Angle Pose is a great pose for opening the inner hips up, and it’s incredibly relaxing as well. I love to keep a hand on my belly and a hand on my heart, feeling my heart beat and my breath. I always pause for a moment in this pose to be grateful for my strong body for carrying me through my yoga practice and the rest of life.
Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
Legs up the Wall is a great restorative pose for tired legs. It’s especially great for runners after long or hard runs, but anyone can benefit from this pose. You can use a wall to help support your legs, or you can do the pose away from a wall. Either way, you help drain old blood and lymph from your feet and lower legs so that fresh, oxygenated blood can replenish your legs.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Corpse Pose is the hardest pose for me, mentally. At the end of a yoga class, you’re supposed to lay in Savasana with a clear mind, free of thoughts, which is honesty often a struggle for me. Savasana is a gateway to longer meditation, which has many wonderful benefits like decreased stress levels and greater mindfulness.