When I took my first yoga class, I discovered a whole new world. I know, you think I’m going to bring out the same catchphrase for you on yoga: “Stress flies by lifting your buttocks in the air”, “The chakras align as soon as you step on the mat”. But no, personally, I must admit that I did not immediately feel these benefits … The first day, I rather discovered the dark world of yoga positions.
Yes, my first yoga class reminded me of my Twister years. Do you remember? That game where you had to twist yourself in all directions on a colorful carpet? If you’ve never been to a class before, you’ll see, your first time is sure to remind you of those dark moments of loneliness, laughter, and posturing.
I spent an hour wondering, “What the hell is hiding behind the upside-down dog and the pigeon?” How do I place my foot in my hands? Can the human body really do this? “. Reminds you of your situation today? So, it is surely the moment for you to desecrate the postures of yoga.
Take a deep breath and embark with me in a selection of 12 yoga positions to practice at home, at your own pace. I remember that when I started yoga, the more precise the explanations, the easier it was to appropriate the postures. So, you’ll see, I haven’t spared any words in this article.
After reading this, you will have all the cards in hand to practise basic yoga postures without hurting yourself. Sure, you won’t necessarily become a toe-to-toe expert in the blink of an eye, but at least you will understand the process, alignment, and balance to be had when performing the most common yoga positions. And it must be said that it is much more important for your practice! Are you ready to discover some yoga figures? So, release all your tensions, put on your leggings, unfold your mat … Let’s go for the explanations!
Yoga poses to start at home
1. The Downward Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana
I still hear my yoga teacher say, “Downward facing dog is a resting posture.” Enough to? I felt my wrists heat up. My legs were pulling as if they wanted to get bigger again (and believe me it was about time that it stopped). My mind kept saying, “It’s hard, but how hard!” “. Have you been starting yoga for a few days? So rest assured, there are ways to appreciate the downward dog pose. You still have to know how to practice this yoga position.
On all fours on your mat, place your legs hip-width apart. The shoulders are below the wrists. Place your fingers apart on the mat, if possible so that your two index fingers form the number eleven in front of you. Inhale in this position. And on the exhale, plant the toes in the ground, lift your knees off the ground and push the hips back. Here, keep your back straight, in line with your arms. Lengthen the neck, lift the shoulders from the ears.
Different variations of the upside-down dog
You now have two options. The first is to keep your stomach close to your thighs and your knees bent. The second, which will be for more advanced yogis, will be to stretch your legs. If possible, you can also put the soles of your feet on the ground. If you don’t succeed, it is better to have a straight back and legs a little bent than straight legs and around back. The round back is the ultimate enemy of the yoga figure.
The purpose of the downward dog yoga position is to stretch the back and open the shoulders. To untangle the legs, during the first head down dog of your session, you can alternately bend your right and left legs, before returning to the static yoga pose. Take 5 full breaths here. So, not so bad, right?
2. The seated pliers, Pashimottanasana
This yoga position is quite simple, but it takes a lot of awareness. Of conscience, you say? Yes, I promise, you will one day understand what that means, for example by reading this article. In the meantime, pretend …
In a seated position with your back straight, extend your legs in front of you. You can place a brick under the buttocks so that you don’t go backward. It is also advisable to lift the back of the buttocks with your hands to make sure you are seated properly. The legs are toned and the feet are flexible. That is to say, they are contracted so that the toes look skyward (see photo). Inhaling, grow taller, with your back straight, arms raised to the sky. And on the exhale, dive forward. The arms will try to reach the thighs, calves, or feet according to your flexibility.
Here, it is the belly that seeks to touch the thighs and not the hands which seek at all costs to reach the ankles or the feet. This difference helps keep your back as straight as possible. Stretching is done little by little, without forcing. Over the course of the sessions, we can go further in the posture, while keeping the back straight.
You can tuck in your stomach to gain a few inches (the ego will say it’s always that) and of course, you can use a strap for this posture. Place it on either side of the hands and pass it under the soles of the feet. This will stretch the back of the legs while maintaining length in the back, and a straight spine. The gaze is towards the big toes or straight ahead.
The standing clamp, Uttanasana: a basic yoga position
This yoga pose is very common since it is found several times in the sun salutation. Thus, the principle is quite close as in the yoga figure of the seated clamp. The difference lies in the fact that it is carried out, standing, as its name suggests.
To achieve this, stand at the front of your mat, feet against each other, on the same line. On the inhale, you will seek the energy by opening the arms on each side, and on the exhale dive forward. Here we try to place the hands on the thighs, ankles or on the ground depending on your level of flexibility. Do not panic, however, practice allows you to quickly relax in this position. You will also notice that after a few repetitions of the sun salutations, you will gain a few inches of flexibility at the back of the legs.
In this yoga pose, remember to keep a long, straight back. The goal is not for the back to round up to put the hands on the ground at all costs, but to give the feeling that the belly wants to lie down on the thighs. This causes the pelvis to rotate and stretches the back of the legs. It is that stretch that you are looking for with the Uttanasana yoga pose.
The mountain, Tadasana: a good yoga position to start
Tadasana is a yoga pose for beginners par excellence. It seems very easy to do but has many principles that help improve body awareness and balance. Standing at the front of your mat, put your feet next to each other. If possible, the big toes are in contact, the heels slightly apart. Lift your toes up and slowly rest them on the floor to check that there is no tension.
Rock back and forth to balance your body weight on your feet and then stop. Return to centre, body weight evenly distributed on each foot. The pelvis is turned forward (the opposite of an arch). Here, extend your arms to either side of your bust, the hands are toward the floor, and the palms of the hands are facing the front of the room.
Pull the top of the solar plexus towards the ceiling, while keeping some distance between the neck and the shoulders. The shoulder blades are set away from the ears and come together gently in the middle of the back. Pay attention to your head. Your chin should be parallel to the ground. The jaw is relaxed, the muscles of your face and the tongue as well. Breathe here completely several times.
You may lack stability in this posture, so you can put your feet apart slightly.
Warrior I, Virabhadrasana I
The warrior yoga pose is often referred to as a “pacifist warrior”. But in all fairness, I think he should consider learning how to defend himself in the face of the anger of thousands of yogis that rumbles against him (or at least against one of his three versions). It is not so easy for this warrior, here is to start, how to apprehend it in its first version.
At the front of your mat, place the two feet next to each other. Take a big step back with your left leg. Place the left foot on the same line as the right foot, the heel tucked in. The toes of the left foot look outward from the mat. The left heel is well anchored in the ground and does not rise in the rest of the posture (at least, that’s what we are trying to do).
Bend your right leg in front of you, making sure your right ankle is well below your right knee. If the knee is further forward, place your foot a little further forward on your mat. Once the leg position is obtained, raise the arms skyward on either side of the ears and try to bring the hands together. Whether your hands are touching or not, remember to place your shoulders away from the ears. Your collarbones go down to the floor. Take a few breaths here. Then switch sides by entering the yoga pose from the same path.
Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II
The Warrior II yoga position is not the easiest to start with. But thanks to it, you will be able to see the progress in your practice. It mobilizes all the muscles of the body, which often makes it a posture appreciated by yogis.
Resume the yoga position of Warrior I. To train Warrior II, the right leg in the front is always bent. Pivot the toe of your left foot toward the back of the mat to open it perpendicular to the right foot. This is as if you wanted to draw a line from your right foot to the middle of your left foot. This movement allows you to open your right thigh and hip to the side. The pelvis and lower back go forward.
The arms move apart on each side of the bust and come to be placed on the same line in line with the shoulders. Your face is turned forward, your gaze resting far in the direction of the middle finger of your right hand. With a head movement, check that the left arm is placed in the same line as the right arm. Your hands are flat, palms facing the floor. Your shoulders are relaxed so that the back of the neck remains clear. Take a moment to breathe here and feel the parts of the body working in this posture.
Warrior III, Virabhadrasana III
This is one of my favourite yoga positions, but you might not immediately understand why… To practice the Yoga figure of Warrior III, come and place your Warrior I, right leg in front. From there, turn the left foot so that it lines up with the right foot. Normally the heel lifts off the ground. The toes of the left foot are facing the front of the mat. Once stable on your legs, your arms are placed in the air, on either side of the ears. Unlike Warrior I, your hands are not touching, the palms are turned inward. Your shoulders are relaxed. You are here in the high lunge yoga pose, Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana.
From this position, bring your hands together in front of your heart and start placing your weight on the right ankle, lifting your left heel slightly off the ground. Make sure that in this movement your right leg is fully extended. Then return to the initial runner position and repeat. When you feel ready, on an exhale, straighten your right leg and plunge your chest forward, keeping your back as straight as possible. The left leg accompanies the movement and rises in turn. It is stretched back, the foot is flexed and the hip remains tightly closed. That is to say, it does not lift to the left side, it remains in alignment with the pelvis.
Variants of the Warrior III yoga position
A variation of this Warrior III yoga position is to place both hands forward on either side of the ears (close to the arm position in the photo).
This yoga posture works on balance and adductors. It is best to practice it after a little warm-up and a few simpler postures.
For a beginner yoga position, we will work the Warrior III rather with a chair or a piece of furniture in front of us, on which we will be able to put our hands, once the arms are stretched forward. This will help you to balance your body weight. You will work to gradually release the hands from the support in front of you.
The yogi pump, Chaturanga Dandasana, advanced yoga pose
This yoga position has several variations. I prefer to focus here on the Chaturanga Dandasana position for beginners, which is done with the knees on the floor. This will allow you to fully understand this posture, without hurting you at home. The complete Chaturanga Dandasana yoga pose, straight legs (pictured), engages the abs, back and strength in the arms. It is, therefore, better to have the gaze of a teacher to practice it the first time. But don’t worry, you aren’t going to miss her much in this ranking once you get to know her. Personally, this posture is still my weak point after years of practice …
Tips for performing Chaturanga Dandasana yoga figure
So let’s tame a simpler variation of this yoga posture. On all fours on your mat, position your legs hip-width apart. Take a moment here to verify that your hands are placed directly under your shoulders. Your knees are positioned on the mat, under your hips. From this four-legged position, plant your toes in the ground, step your feet back slightly and raise your knees to the sky.
While keeping your back straight, position yourself on a plank. The buttocks should not be too high or too low but kept in line with the back. When exhaling, put the knees on the ground but keep the toes planted in the earth. While keeping the arms as close to the body as possible, bend the elbows bringing the chest down to the ground. The elbows are well glued to the bust during the descent and do not deviate to the sides (see photo). The gaze goes to the front of the mat and the chin is planted gently in the ground.
The Utthita Trikonasana triangle
Take the warrior II yoga position. To do this, place your bent right leg at the front of the mat and your left leg at the back. As in Warrior 2, the left foot is perpendicular to the right foot. If you are a beginner, place a brick in the front of your mat, on the inside of your right foot (in front of the person in the photo’s right hand).
From here, to perform the triangle yoga position, straighten your right leg. Next, stretch your right arm as far in front of you as possible, while staying in a line. Your bust accompanies the forward movement of your right arm. Feel the stretch above the left hip, that’s what we’re looking for. From there, use the brick to gently place the fingertips of your right hand on the ground, on the inside of your right foot. The left arm goes up to the sky and forms a line with the right arm.
Tips for performing the Trikonasana yoga position well
The goal of this pose is to open the left hip to the side and open the left shoulder outward. We must therefore avoid crashing into the right leg.
If the brick seems too far to start, the back of the right hand can be placed on the right knee. The important thing in this yoga figure is to keep a nice opening in the bust. So you don’t have to put your hand as low as possible. The spine should be parallel to the ground and the entire left side of the body is stretched as this.
A common mistake is to put your right hand on your leg with your full body weight. For a well-executed yoga posture, one must be able to remove and replace the hand on the ground while keeping the same position and the same alignment as the rest of the body.
The pigeon, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Ornithophobia, we hang on! This yoga pose has more style than the name suggests. To achieve it, stand on all fours on your mat. Slide the right knee forward, your shin against the mat. Bring the right ankle to the left hip. Now stretch the left leg back and drop the thigh on the floor. Notice if your right ankle is still well below your left hip. The right buttock is relaxed on the ground. Place both hands on either side of the legs, in the shape of an inverted bowl. The fingers grip the ground and the palms are raised (photo). Use the support of your hands on each side to straighten your back and bust. Open the solar plexus forward and upward. The head lengthens and the gaze turns straight forward.
For a variation of this yoga position, you can also lie on the floor, on the exhale. This, leaving the hands where they are and bending the elbows. Then place both hands on top of each other in front of your head so that your forehead rests on it. This variation opens up the hip a little more. Breathe calmly, don’t go beyond your limits and of course, don’t forget to do the other side pose.
The dog upside down, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Don’t worry, this yoga pose is easier to do than to pronounce!
The head-up dog pose requires a great stretch of the back. It is, therefore, better to reach it on several levels.
Explanation of Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana yoga postures
Start with the cobra pose, Bhujangasana. Lie face down on your mat, hands flat on either side of the shoulders, the front of the legs are relaxed on the floor. The legs are tight against each other, without tension. Using the pressure of the hands on the ground, on the inhalation, gradually raise the head and the chest while performing a backward rotation of the shoulders to stretch the upper back. The elbows are always bent, well glued to the rest of the body, they do not sag outwards. The head is far from the shoulders, the neck is lengthened, the gaze is brought forward. Stay here for a breath, then come back to a lying position on your stomach. Repeat the cobra yoga pose once if desired.
Next, let’s move on to the head-up dog yoga position, which looks a lot like him. In the same position on the ground, the stomach resting on the mat, your hands are placed in the same place as for the cobra. This time, on inspiration, you will try to straighten your arms, chest and head in order to stretch the entire front of the body in the pose. The legs are stretched, sheathed and accompany the movement of the hips which rise from the ground. The sheathed legs make it possible not to carry all the weight of the body on the wrists. The goal here is really to achieve upper body extension. Then gently rest your hips on the floor, place the backs of your feet on the mat, and quietly shift into the downward dog yoga position, shifting the body weight back.
The corpse, Shavasana
You know this posture, it’s the one you take every night when you go to bed. But deep down, does she really look like her? Well not quite, because Shavasana yoga posture is not meant to fall asleep, it is a relaxation posture. It allows you to completely relax the body and the mind at the end of your yoga session. Although we are often in a hurry to resume our life after a series of yoga postures, the moment of relaxation is not to be neglected. It allows the body to memorize the work done. In addition, it is undoubtedly thanks to this moment that the benefits of the session will be so numerous when you return home.
Shavasana yoga posture explanations
To set it up, lie down on your mat, lying on your back. Your legs are a little more apart than hip-width, your back and head are in the same alignment, and your arms open to the side. This posture is very simple, but it confronts us with our difficulties in staying still for a few minutes. Initially, your thoughts will surely be bubbling over in this moment of relaxation that you allow yourself. This is completely normal. Don’t beat yourself up. Slowly come back to your completely relaxed body after these few yoga positions. During this time, focus your attention on your breathing, your body, music, or the words of your yoga teacher.
Balasana Child Posture
This yoga posture is ideal for resting during practice (which can be very active believe me). It can be practised regularly during a yoga session, after a series of intense postures or to counterbalance a position that makes the back work, for example. You can also assume the child’s posture at any time during your session, at home or in class, when you feel tired.
You don’t know it yet, but this yoga pose will quickly become your favourite. So I leave you to make the presentations quietly … Balasana, here is the beginner Yoga reader. Dear reader, here is the yoga position that will absolutely save all your yoga sessions. You will even regret not being able to take the posture of the child to press pause anytime in your daily life. Traffic jam? Hop Balasana! A violent argument? Let’s move on to Balasana. Your size is no longer in stock? Balasana. It would be too good!
Balasana yoga posture explanations
To place yourself in the child’s pose, get on your knees with your buttocks on your heels. Place the top of your head as close to your knees as possible and curl up so that your stomach rests on your thighs. The arms fold back along the legs.
There is a multitude of variations to this yoga pose. When we love, we don’t count. For example, you can also stand on the knees, thighs on the heels and slightly open the thighs. Place your arms as far in front of you as possible, with the palms of your hands flat on the floor. Then let the stomach rest between the legs, completely release the back and let the shoulders open up. Come back to your breathing. This yoga posture is called the swan or the pulled child (photo). It helps to release tension in the back and is also a good resting posture. So what do you think of this posture?
That’s it, the world of yoga positions is much clearer!
And there you have it, you now know a little better how to perform at home, 12 yoga positions to practice at home. I myself have tested the indications for all the yoga postures described in this article. Yes, I did write this article 85%, lying on the floor in my living room, to make sure my directions were clear. But I am not infallible. So, if an explanation seems too complex to you if you are missing detail to spark a spark in your mind and even if you have found this article very practical, I let you share your feedback, your questions, your doubts in the space. comments. It is for you, so feel free to use it.
Also, share this article with your friends if you think it can be useful. Yes, spread the happiness of yoga to as many people as possible (and offer them a game of Twister to progress).
Thanks for Yoga Teacher Namaste