If you've been avoiding yoga because you're intimidated by all the Instagram pictures you see of thin, beautiful people doing handstands on the beach, let us try to change your perception of what yoga can be. Because yoga is for everybody and every body.
That's why we tapped Natalia Tabilo, yoga teacher, creator of Yoga for All Bodies and host of our 30-Day Yoga Challenge, to share seven beginner-friendly yoga poses, plus variations and modifications in each video below to make them even more accessible. You'll move, stretch, strengthen and relax in a way the feels good for you.
If you're following along with the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, aim to hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing in and out through your nose, at least twice a day. But you can do any of these yoga poses as part of a regular practice or on their own whenever you'd like
Pose 1: Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
- Start in a comfortable seated position with your legs crossed.
- Take this as an opportunity to check in with yourself. Let your thoughts come and go without expectations or judgment.
- Breathe naturally for as long as you'd like to remain in this pose.
Perform this pose seated on a folded mat, bolster or chair.
Pose 2: Seated Eagle Arms (Garudasana)
- Start seated with your legs crossed, right leg over left.
- Hold your arms out and cross your left arm over your right, intertwining your arms so that your palms touch in front of your face.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides. Your left leg should be over your right, and your right arm should be over your left.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
Grab opposite elbows or hug yourself.
Pose 3: Cat-Cow (Chakravakasana)
- Start on all fours, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
- On an inhale, drop your belly toward the floor as you arch your back.
- On an exhale, round your back up to the ceiling.
- Slowly repeat this pattern back and forth on each inhale and exhale.
You can do this pose seated or with your forearms on a bolster or blocks.
Pose 4: Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Kneel on the floor with your hips over your knees.
- Separate your knees about hip-width apart and bring your big toes to touch.
- Lower your body to rest your glutes on your heels.
- Exhale and bring your chest down toward your mat, elongating your neck and spine and stretching your tailbone down toward the floor.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat.
Stretch your arms long but keep your forearms down and head up, or use a bolster or folded blanket for support. You can also try lying on your back and pulling your feet toward your chest with a strap.
Pose 5: Gentle Heart Opener
- Set a bolster lengthwise along your mat. (If you don't have one, a rolled-up towel or blanket or a small pillow works, too.)
- Lie down on top of the bolster with your lower back at the bottom and your shoulders at the top.
- Allow your arms to hang off the bolster as you feel the muscles in your chest open up.
Use bolsters, pillows or folded blankets as needed to support your shoulders, back, hips and tailbone.
Pose 6: Bird Dog
- Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Brace your abs as you extend your right arm out by your right ear and your left leg out behind you. Your leg and arm should make a straight line through your torso.
- Hold for 1 to 5 seconds.
- Trying not to shift through your torso or hips, lower your arm and leg and repeat on the other side. Imagine trying to balance a cup of tea on your lower back during the entire exercise.
- Continue alternating sides.
Extend one leg and your opposite arm, but leave your toes and fingertips on the ground. Then, lift one or both limbs full off the ground. You can also lift one limb at a time: right arm, then left arm, then left leg, then right leg.
Pose 7: Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
- From kneeling, step your right foot back into a low lunge. Feet are hip-width apart on separate tracks (they shouldn't line up front to back). Left and right toes are both pointing forward.
- Keep your spine long by lifting your heart and extending the crown of your head away from your tailbone.
- Allow your hips to shift forward and down. Notice where you feel sensation through your hip region.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
You can place your hands on blocks on either side of your front foot, rest them on your front thigh or keep them in prayer position. For a deeper stretch, raise your arms up overhead.