Top 10 Beginners Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
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Just like a 20-Minute HIIT Workout or 4-Minute Tabata workout, yoga workouts can be done at home, by the pool, in a hotel, you name it! On top of convenience, there are also tons of health benefits and weight loss potential from yoga workouts.
For anyone looking to start this type of exercise program … there are several beginners yoga poses you can start with. It is important to understand the basic poses in yoga first, so that you can advance to more difficult yoga workouts later.
10 Beginners Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
If you want to get serious about weight loss, then yoga can be a wonderful form of exercise to help you reach your fitness goals.
If you are just starting out and have never performed any poses, then you may be thinking you can jump right into a regular yoga workout. Depending on your fitness level, this may be easier said than done.
The good news is that there are plenty of beginners yoga poses that you can start with. Many of these poses are either starting positions or transitional poses between more difficult ones.
We have put together a list of 10 beginners yoga poses to help you get started on your weight loss journey. Once you have mastered these yoga poses, you will be ready for harder workouts with more difficult poses.
A few of these basic beginners yoga poses include – mountain pose, cobra pose, downward dog, plank, bridge pose, corpse pose, child’s pose, tree pose, and the cat & cow poses
You will find these poses (or a combination of them) in almost every single yoga routine you can find. That is why it is a good idea to master these poses before moving on to more intense poses.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose or Tadasana, is one of the most basic but important yoga poses there is. It is the foundation posture for all standing poses and the perfect place to start for beginning yoga.
The Mountain Pose makes a great starting position for other yoga moves or as a resting pose, and will help to improve your posture.
Checkout this short video for instructions on the Mountain Pose by Yoga with Adriene
Benefits of the Mountain Pose
- improves posture
- relieves sciatica, muscle tension, and achy joints
- strengthens ankles, knees, and thighs
- firms abdomen and butt
- reduces flat feet
- can help with depression
- helps improve breathing
Tip for Beginners – If you have problems balancing, then try standing with your feet about 6 to 8 inches apart.
2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana, is known for its ability to increase flexibility of the spine while opening up the chest. It is a beginning back-bend in yoga that will help you prepare the body for deeper poses.
Here is a short video by Bad Yogi that can help you learn the Cobra Pose.
Benefits of Cobra Pose
- opens the heart and lungs
- strengthens the spine
- helps with asthma and sciatica
- provides relief from fatigue and stress
- stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen
- can help to firm the buttocks
Tip for Beginners – It is important to NOT overdo the backbend and put strain on your back. To avoid extra strain, start by increasing the bend in your elbows or walk the hands forward.
3. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of the most well known yoga poses and is great for beginners. It is a standing pose with a mild inversion that builds strength while stretching the entire body. Downward Dog is often used both as a transitional and resting pose as well as for strength building.
The following video by Howcast will help teach you the proper technique for the Downward Facing Dog Pose.
Benefits of Downward Facing Dog Pose
- improves digestion
- helps prevent osteoporosis as well as relief for symptoms of menopause
- strengthens legs and arms and stretches – shoulders, hamstrings, and calves
- provides relief from back pain, fatigue, and headaches
- energizes the body
- can help with mild depression and stress relief
- helps with high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica, and sinusitis
Tip for Beginners – If you find this pose difficult, start by raising your hands off the floor by using a folding chair.
4. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
The Plank Pose or Kumbhakasana, is another popular yoga pose, especially for beginners. Not only will you find the plank in yoga poses for beginners, but it is also very common in HIIT and Tabata workouts as well.
The plank is often used as a transitional yoga pose and can be practiced on it’s own to build strength and stamina.
Here is a great yoga for beginners video that will show you how to properly perform the Plank Pose by RosalieYoga.
Benefits of Plank Pose
- great for toning the abdomen, chest, and lower back
- strengthens the arms, wrist, and spine
- helps to improve posture
- builds stamina
Tip for Beginners – If you don’t have the upper body strength for this yoga pose, try resting your knees on the floor until you are comfortable.
5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
The Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is a beginning back-bend that will help to open up the chest as well as the neck and spine. Like similar beginning poses, this back-bend can be used as preparation for deeper back-bend poses.
Take a look at this video by Yoga Journal on Bridge Pose for beginners.
Benefits of Bridge Pose
- stretches neck, chest, and spine
- helps to improve digestion and can relieve symptoms of menopause
- reduces backache, fatigue, anxiety, and headache
- good for asthma patients and those with high blood pressure
- relieves stress and mild depression
- stimulates lungs, thyroid, and abdomen
Tip for Beginners – If you have problems keeping your hips lifted, try placing a rolled up towel under your lower back for support.
6. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The Corpse Pose or Savasana, looks simple but is often considered one of the hardest of of all yoga poses. It is the final pose of any yoga class and is one of deep relaxation.
This is unlike any active or physically demanding poses, and instead requires you to remove any mental chatter … which is much easier said than done!
Check out this helpful Corpse Pose beginner yoga video by Ellie Aaron.
Benefits of Corpse Pose
- relaxes the body
- helps to reduce headache, fatigue, and insomnia
- calms the brain and helps to relieve stress and depression
- can lower blood pressure
Tip for Beginners – Try placing a folded towel or blanket under your head for neck support if needed.
7. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The Child’s Pose or Balasana, is one of the most common beginner’s yoga asanas. It is considered a resting pose that is often sequenced in between more difficult poses.
Here is a quick and simple video teaching the proper techniques of Child’s Pose by Yoga on Gaia.
Benefits of Child’s Pose
- helps to relieve neck and back pain
- stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
- relieves stress and fatigue
Tip for Beginners – It may be difficult to rest your buttocks on your heels if you are just starting out. Try placing a folded blanket or towel between your thighs and your calves to help.
8. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
The Tree Pose or Vrksasana, is a standing pose that helps improve your sense of balance and coordination. Unlike many other popular yoga poses, Tree Pose requires keeping your eyes open in order to maintain balance.
The following video can give you a start on learning the proper way to do Tree Pose by Evolve Fitness & Health.
Benefits of Tree Pose
- improves balance
- strengthens spine, ankles, calves, and thighs
- stretches chest, shoulders, and thighs
- helps relieve sciatica
- improves focus and concentration
Tip for Beginners – If you cannot raise your foot all the way to your thigh, try resting it against your calf or ankle while standing on one foot.
9. Cow Pose (Bitilasana) & 10. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Note – The Cat Pose and Cow Pose are almost always done in combination with one another in yoga. So we included both poses together here.
The Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, is a soft and gentle back-bend that helps to loosen the spine and releases tension in the neck. This beginner yoga pose is similar to the movements a cat stretching … which is where the name comes from.
The Cow Pose or Bitilasana, is a easy way to warm up your spine. The stance of this pose resembles the posture of a cow … which is where it gets its name.
Follow along with this video by Howcast on the Cat Cow Pose.
Benefits of Cat Pose and Cow Pose
- stretches the torso, neck, abdomen, hips, back, and spine
- improves posture and balance
- relieves stress
- massages internal organs and helps to increase blood circulation
- helps to reduce back pain and cure sciatica
- stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands
Tip for Beginners – Broaden your shoulder blades and pull them down away from your ears to protect your neck. If you find it difficult to round your upper back, ask a friend or family member to place a their hand between and above the shoulder blades.
Yoga for Weight Loss – Diet and Nutrition
If you are serious about trying yoga for weight loss, then these poses can certainly help guide you towards losing weight. However, no yoga pose or exercise routine will work if you have a poor diet and don’t give your body the proper nutrition it needs.
Proper weight loss first starts in the kitchen and the food you put into your body.