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How to Do Yoga for Absolute Beginners

Getting Comfortable for YogaPracticing Yogic BreathingTrying Some Easy Yoga PosesSample Yoga Moves and RoutineShow 1 more...Show less...Article SummaryQuestions & AnswersRelated Articles

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Yoga may seem intimidating, but it is a great way to exercise, even for absolute beginners! You can do yoga in your home with no equipment, or you can take a class to have access to mats, pillows, bricks, straps, and other helpful yoga tools. Start by getting into a comfortable seated position. Then, work on your yogic breathing and try some simple poses to begin practicing yoga.



Getting Comfortable for Yoga

  1. 1

    Choose a place to do yoga that is free from distractions. Yoga is best practiced somewhere that you will not be interrupted, such as in your bedroom or in your living room when no one else is home. However, you can do yoga outside if the weather is nice. Choose where you will practice yoga and remove as many distractions as possible.
    • Turn off your phone, the TV, and any other distracting devices.
    • Tell other members of your household that you will be doing some yoga and would like to be left alone for a little while.
  2. 2

    Use a yoga mat, blankets, and pillows if desired. You do not absolutely need yoga equipment to do yoga, but it can be helpful for getting comfortable. Try sitting on a pillow or blanket so that your hips are slightly elevated above your knees while you are sitting cross-legged on the floor.[1]
    • If you plan to do some standing poses, then you may also benefit from using yoga blocks to modify the poses. These make bending poses easier because you will not have to reach all the way to the floor.
    • You can also use a yoga strap, a towel, or a scarf to help you do poses that require you to grab your feet or legs.
  3. 3

    Put on comfortable clothes to practice yoga. Make sure that the clothes you are wearing are comfortable and flexible. Put on a pair of yoga pants or sweatpants, with a loose fitting t-shirt or tank top. You should be barefoot when practicing yoga to ensure that you can get good traction during standing poses, and to ensure maximum comfort!
    • Remember that you do not need to purchase special clothes to do yoga! You can practice in some old sweatpants or even in your pajamas![2]
  4. 4

    Get yourself a glass of water. As with any type of exercise, it is important to stay hydrated. Pour yourself a glass of water or fill a water bottle and keep it nearby while you are practicing. Take sips of water as needed during your workout.
    • While you should drink water as needed during your yoga practice, it is best to do yoga on an empty stomach, so plan your practice for 2 to 3 hours after a meal.[3]
  5. 5

    Follow along with a video, book, or class for beginners. As you ease into your yoga practice, you might find it helpful to have some expert guidance. The experts who make videos, write books, and take classes can provide you with valuable information on how to develop your yoga practice as an absolute beginner.
    • Check out Youtube for yoga channels with absolute beginner yoga videos, such as Yoga with Adriene.[4]
    • Visit your local library or books store and get a book on yoga for beginners, such as Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar.[5]
    • Check out beginner yoga classes at your gym, community center, or community college.


Practicing Yogic Breathing

  1. 1

    Get into a comfortable seated or lying position. You can sit on the floor, sit in a chair, or lie on your back. Do whatever feels most comfortable to you. Use pillows and blankets to make yourself even more comfortable.[6]
    • If you have a yoga mat, you can sit or lie on it. If not, you can sit or lie on a folded blanket or on a carpeted floor.
  2. 2

    Inhale deeply into your abdomen. As you breathe in, feel the breath filling your abdomen including your belly and up through your ribcage. Count to 4 as you breathe in to help you make the breath slow and deep.[7]
    • Try to imagine that your stomach is a balloon filling up with air as you inhale.
  3. 3

    Hold the breath for a few seconds. Take a few seconds to notice how your body feels after taking in the breath. Note any areas of your body that feel tense and try to relax them as you hold the breath.[8]
    • For example, if you feel tension in your shoulders, try to relax your shoulder muscles as you hold the breath.
  4. 4

    Exhale out slowly through your mouth. When you feel ready, slowly exhale the breath. Use your abdomen to push the breath out completely. Count down from 4 as you breathe out.[9]
    • Imagine that the balloon is deflating. Use your stomach muscle to push the air up and out of your abdomen.
  5. 5

    Repeat this process until you feel relaxed. You can sit or lay and breathe for as long as you like to get into a relaxed state. This is an excellent way to start or end a yoga practice.


Trying Some Easy Yoga Poses

  1. 1

    Do the mountain pose by standing tall with your arms above your head. The mountain pose is 1 of the simplest yoga poses to do, so it is a great place to start a practice for absolute beginners. Stand at the edge of your yoga mat with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms up over your head. Stretch your arms and fingers out straight and stand tall. Breathe in this position, and then let your arms slowly come back down to your sides.[10]
    • Hold the position for as long as is comfortable, whether that is 10 to 60 seconds or longer.
  2. 2

    Bend your knees to get into the chair pose. You can move from the mountain pose to another easy standing pose called the chair pose. To get into chair pose, start in the mountain pose and then bend your knees as if you are going to sit in a chair. Only go as low as you can comfortably go. Keep your arms raised above your head.[11]
    • Hold the pose for 10 to 60 seconds and then stand back up.
    • Remember to breathe while you are holding the position.
  3. 3

    Step forward and spread your arms wide to get into the warrior pose. From the mountain pose, you can also take a big step forward (about 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m)) to get into warrior pose. Step out as if you were going to do a lunge and then spread your arms out to the sides so that 1 is in front of you and 1 is behind you. Look straight ahead, hold the position, and breathe.[12]
    • Stay in warrior pose for 10 to 60 seconds and then return to mountain pose.
  4. 4

    Get on your hands and knees and look straight ahead for cow pose. Slowly go from a standing position to the floor and get onto your hands and knees. Make sure that your hips are above your knees and your shoulders are above your wrists. Plant your palms firmly on the ground and make sure that your shins and the tops of your feet are on the floor. Lift your head and look straight ahead.[13]
    • If it is hard to lift your head all the way up, just lift it as much as is comfortable for you.
    • Hold the position and breathe for 10 to 60 seconds.
  5. 5

    Lie on your stomach and raise your upper body for cobra pose. Slowly lower your body down to the ground so that you are on your stomach. Plant your palms on the floor next to your chest. Then push your upper body up while keeping your hips and legs on the ground. Only lift your body as far as is comfortable for you. Look straight ahead or look up if you can.[14]
    • Breathe and hold the position for 10 to 60 seconds.
  6. 6

    Turn over to your back to get into corpse pose. When you are ready to end your yoga routine, slowly turn over onto your back. Lie flat on the floor with your legs and arms straight. Let your arms rest at your sides or spread out next to you or above your head, whichever feels most comfortable to you.[15]
    • Relax and stay in this position for as long as you like.
    • Make sure to breathe deeply and slowly to maximize your relaxation.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question

    Does yoga help with heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure?

    Yoga can be helpful with a lot of medical problems. Yoga is used for relaxation, strength, flexibility, and posture correction. That said, it should NEVER be used to replace medication.


    Top Answerer

  • Question

    Please tell me that how many days and how much time is required for each step?

    Do yoga every day for a quarter of an hour.

    Nils Horn

    Community Answer

  • Question

    What if I can't put my head to my feet?

    It's okay if you can't put your head to your feet, everyone's body is different. Go as far as you comfortably can, the idea is to get a good stretch. You may find you become more flexible over time.

  • Question

    How can I do yoga when my body is not flexible?

    Be patient, and respect your body's limits. If you approach yoga too aggressively, you won't see much improvement, and might hurt yourself. A skilled yoga teacher can help you adjust each pose to work within your limits, and gradually expand them. Many poses have several variations, and the goal is to pick the variation where you can stay relaxed with good form but still be challenged. Don't be afraid to pick an "easier" variation, but perform it well, instead of straining through something too advanced. Learn how to use props (blocks, bolsters and straps) to support your body.

  • Question

    Will yoga help strengthen my body?

    Yes, yoga will strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility.

  • Question

    Is it bad for me to criss cross my legs?

    No, only if you feel extreme pain or discomfort while doing it, then just criss-cross them as comfortably as possible.

  • Question

    Whats are the benefits of yoga exercise?

    It helps to relax your body and remove stress. If you do yoga regularly, you will feel calmer and less angry or stressed.

  • Question

    Why is yoga so painful?

    It's a new activity for your body -- you're stretching muscles that are not used to being used. Sore muscles during and after yoga are normal, but if you're in excruciating pain, you need to go to the doctor. Don't overexert yourself while doing yoga. Not every pose needs to be perfectly done. Do what is comfortable for you, and do not push your body past its limits.


    Top Answerer

  • Question

    How many calories does yoga burn?

    The number of calories you'll expend doing yoga is based on your body weight and workout duration. If you weigh 125 pounds, you'll burn about 120 calories, and if you weigh 185 pounds you'll expend 178 calories in 30 minutes doing yoga, according to Harvard Health Publications.

  • Question

    Will yoga increase my height?

    No. However, it will help improve your posture, so you will seem taller.

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