If you are new to yoga, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the different poses you come across. There are thousands of different poses, each with its own benefits. Instead of getting caught up in learning pose after pose, focus on these 9 basic Vinyasa Yoga poses. They will give you a range of benefits and they are simple to do. Once you get comfortable with them, then you can start to bring in new poses and get more creative with your yoga practice.
This post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links. Through these links, I get a small commission if you purchase something, at no extra cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I love and personally use/research. Thank you for supporting Journeys of Yoga.
Yoga classes are sequenced in a specific way to help you get the most benefits from your practice and to leave you feeling balanced. The following poses are in a logical order. So if you would like, you can use them in this order to do a complete yoga practice.
You can, of course, use them as stand-alone poses, or incorporate them with other poses.
9 Vinyasa Yoga Poses for Beginners
Always consult your doctor before performing yoga poses or exercises.
This is a great pose to start a yoga practice. Start by kneeling with your toes untucked and sitting back on your heels. You can separate your knees or leave them together. Lean forward, laying your chest over or between your thighs. Your arms reach forward with your palms facing down or you can reach them behind you with your palms facing up.
Child’s Pose can reduce stress and helps stretch your hips, thighs, and ankles. I also find that it’s a great way to bring your attention to your breath, an essential element of a yoga practice. If you have a knee injury, you should avoid this pose.
Cat and Cow are two poses that fit seamlessly together. Come to your hands and knees, with shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees. Exhale and arch your back up, bringing your gaze towards your belly. This is Cat Pose. Now, inhale and drop your belly, arching your back down, bringing your gaze up to the ceiling. This is Cow Pose. You can alternate between the two poses, using your breath as your guide.
Benefits of these poses include increased strength and flexibility in your spine and relieved tension in your upper back and neck. If you have a neck injury, you should avoid these poses.
Also known as Butterfly Pose, Baddha Konasana is one of my favorite vinyasa yoga poses. It’s relaxing and gives you a great stretch. To begin, come to a sitting position with knees bent and the bottoms of your feet coming together. Gently bring your knees as close to the floor as is comfortable. Make sure you keep your spine straight. If it’s comfortable, you can lean forward, but only as far as you can keep a straight spine. Hold this pose for 1-5 minutes.
Baddha Konasana helps stretch your thighs, groin, and knees. It can improve circulation, fatigue, and menstrual cramps. If you have a knee or groin injury you should avoid this pose.
Standing Forward Bend
Come to standing, feet hip distance apart. Let your torso slowly fall forward, arms hanging. Keep your spine long. Instead of coming forward with your shoulders, thinking of hinging at your waist. Let your head hang loosely. You can have your knees slightly bent. Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths and then bend your knees a little more before coming up slowly to standing.
This is a very calming pose. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It relieves tension in your back, neck, and spine. A standing forward bend helps to stretch your hamstrings, hips, and calves while strengthening your thighs and knees. If you have a back, hip, shoulder, or leg injury, you should avoid this pose.
From Standing Forward Bend, step one foot back and place your hands down in front of you. Your back heel is lifted and your hips should stay facing the front of your mat. Lift your gaze and your arms if you like. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.
This pose is great for strengthening your hips, thighs, and glutes. It also increases your energy. If you have high blood pressure, heart problems, or a knee or spinal injury, you should avoid this pose.
Downward Dog Pose
To get into Downward Dog Pose, start on your hands and knees with shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips. Relax your head and bring your gaze towards your belly. Try to elongate your spine by bringing your hips up and back in space. If you feel some discomfort in your wrists, elbows, or shoulders, try walking your hands back to your feet a little. This will help alleviate pressure on the arms. Hold the pose for a few breaths and then bring your knees back down to the mat to exit the pose.
This pose can be tricky or uncomfortable if you have sweaty hands or feet. This causes you to slowly slip while in the pose and can lead to injury over time. To avoid this problem, make sure you have a good quality, non-slip mat. I recommend a Jade Yoga mat. It’s what I use every day and even though I have extremely sweaty hands and feet, it has completely solved my slipping issue.
This pose is great for relieving stress and leaving you feeling energized. It helps to prevent osteoporosis. It stretches your hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, are pregnant, or have high blood pressure you should avoid this pose.
To get into Boat Pose come to a seat with your legs straight out in front of you. Now, bend your knees and tiptoe your feet as close as possible to you. Keeping a straight spine, lift your feet off the ground. You can hold onto the backs of your thighs for support or reach your arms in front or above you. You can keep your knees bent or straighten them, just make sure you keep a straight spine. Hold this pose for a couple of breaths, put your feet back on the ground and then repeat a couple of times.
Boat pose is a great way to build abdominal strength. It also improves your balance and digestion. This pose will help to strengthen your hip flexors and spine, as well as stretch your hamstrings. If you have an abdomen, knee, hip, arm, or shoulder injury, you should avoid this pose.
This basic backbend is a great way to wind down your yoga practice. Begin by laying on your back. Bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor. Move your feet close to your body so that if you extend your hands towards your feet you can reach the backs of your heels. Press into your feet and lift your hips. Do not move your head around while in this pose. If it’s comfortable, you can tuck your shoulders under a bit and clasp your hands together underneath you.
Bridge pose is great for increasing circulation and decreasing stress. It helps to stretch your chest, neck, hips, and spine. It will also help to strengthen your chest, glutes, and hamstrings. If you have neck or knee pain, a back or shoulder injury, you should avoid this pose.
If you want to know more backbend options, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced poses, check out 8 Benefits of Backbends in Yoga.
Savasana is (or should be) the end of every yoga practice. It is the most important of the vinyasa yoga poses. This pose is done laying on your mat with your legs separated a little and some space between your body and your arms. Rest with your palms facing up. This is a time for complete relaxation. Your yoga practice helps you to release excess energy from your body and allows you to completely relax in your Savasana. You should stay in this pose for a minimum of 7 minutes.
Savasana helps lower blood pressure, alleviate stress and fatigue, and relaxes the body. If you have a back injury or are pregnant, you should avoid this pose or modify it under the direction of your doctor.
These Vinyasa yoga poses are the perfect way for a beginner to start their yoga journey. If you are interested in increasing your yoga practice and taking it to the next level, I would recommend taking a look at Increasing Your Yoga Practice. It lays out exactly how I built up to a daily yoga practice without getting injured.