Yoga for Beginners: A 12 minute workout to get started with yoga

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So you want to get started with yoga and you’re not sure how to begin. Maybe you’re feeling a bit intimidated, even.

Don’t worry – we’ve all been there.

Yoga is a journey – and everyone is at a different point. You just happen to be at the beginning.

Simple Yoga workout for beginners

This workout is designed specific for beginners and uses the basic yoga poses.

If you find yourself struggling, just take a quick break and then get back into it. Try to be aware of your body and how it feels through each of the movements.
For this specific beginner’s yoga workout, the poses flow from one to the next. Do each pose for 30 seconds before moving on to the next one. Once you have reached the last pose, take a one minute break, then repeat the set again from the beginning.

The whole workout will only take you 12 minutes, so it is a great way to start or end your day.

Beginners Yoga Workout

(30 for seconds each pose, repeat twice)

  • Mountain
  • Warrior I (Right side on the first round, Left side on the second round)
  • Warrior II (Right side on the first round, Left side on the second round)
  • Chair Pose
  • Forward Bend
  • Plank
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Cobra
  • Cat/Cow
  • Child’s Pose
  • Corpse Pose
  • (1 minute rest)


The Mountain pose (or, more correctly, ‘Tadasana’) is the foundation of all standing poses. This makes it a great starting pose for your practice.

This pose strengthens the ankles, knees and thighs, and tones the abdomen and glutes. It also improves posture and stability.

It may seem like a basic pose, but there are subtle alignment principles that you need to follow in order to do it correctly.

If you feel unsteady in this pose with your feet together, you can shift them apart slightly – just as wide as your hip bones. If you are struggling to get your spine straight, you can begin by practicing the pose against a wall.

Warrior I (R&L)

Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I Pose is a standing pose. It builds strength, focus, and stability.

This pose strengthens the arms shoulders, and back muscles. It strengthens and stretches the ankles, calves, and thighs. And it stretches the groin, belly, chest, lungs, shoulders, and neck.

As a beginner you may find it difficult to keep your heel on the ground while lengthening your lower back. When you get started you can place your back heel on a sandbag to assist until you are able to do the full pose.

Warrior II (R&L)

The Warrior II Pose strengthens the leg and ankle, and stretches the ankle, leg, groin, thorax, and shoulder.

It is a popular pose as it builds strength, expands the chest, and opens the hips. It also helps relieve backache, especially in the second trimester of pregnancy.

When your arms are out at your side, remember to actively reach them out to your sides, and draw your shoulder blades apart.

Chair Pose

The Chair Pose is the most common name for this pose, but it also goes by the names Utkatasana, Awkward Pose (in Bikram Yoga), Fierce Pose, Hazardous Pose, Lightning Bolt Pose, or Wild Pose.

For many beginners this feels like a very awkward position to be in. But be patient – it will start to feel more comfortable after a few tries.

There are so many benefits to this pose, it is worth getting used to it. This pose strengthens the muscles in your feet and thighs. It also increases your ankle mobility and tones your core muscles.

Forward Bend

The Standing Forward Bend – or Uttanasana – is a calming posture. It lengthens the hamstrings and activates the muscles of the inner legs.

When doing this post keep in mind to keep your back as flat as possible, and don’t lock out your knees (keep them soft). If you have a back injury, keep your knees bent.

As a beginner, you will find it quite difficult to get your head all the way to your legs while keeping your back straight, and without fully bending your legs.

When you get started, focus on keeping your back straight. Ben you knees a little more if you need, then once you have got your head down, gently straighten your legs.


The Kumbhakasana, Plank Pose, is a very popular exercise both in and outside the world of Yoga for those looking to strengthen their core.

It does a good job of strengthening abdomen, chest, lower back, but also strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, which improves posture.

The Plank Pose is also a good pose to prepare for challenging arm balances, as it strengthens the arms wrists, and shoulders.

If you find the Plank Pose too difficult in the beginning, you can modify it slightly by resting your knees on the floor.

Downward Facing Dog

The Downward Facing Dog Pose is probably one of the most well-recognised yoga poses.

The Adho Mukha Svanasana is an energising pose and provides a deep stretch. If you have tight hamstrings you won’t be able to get your heels down flat in the beginning.

Don’t worry about this, once you’ve done yoga for a while you get more flexible. Focus on lengthening your spine rather.


The Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana – is a great pose to stretch out your chest and shoulders, and strengthen your spine.

Remember to keep your elbows close to your body, rather than letting them stick out sideways.

To reduce strain in your lower back you can increase the bend in your elbows, or walk your hands further forward.

Cat/Cow Pose

The Cat/Cow Pose is a combination of two poses – the Cat (Marjaryasana) Pose and the Cow (Bitilasana) Pose – that are often done together.

It is a gentle pose that warms up the body and gets the spine flexible. This is a great beginner’s pose, as it is quite simple to do correctly and brings an awareness to the body.

If you wrists hurt while doing this pose, you can place your forearms on the ground instead.

Child’s Pose

The Child’s Pose – or Balasana – is a restful pose. It can be done between more challenging poses (‘asanas’).

It provides a gentle stretch to the hips, thighs, and ankles, and calms the brain. It is also a great pose to elongate the back, which is especially helpful is you spend a lot of your day at a desk.

Corpse Pose

Surprisingly, the Corpse Pose – Savasana – is one that yoga students often find the most difficult to do.

The state of relaxation is, as it turns out, not that easy to get to! When you first start practicing this pose you may find yourself a little tense or distracted. Keep at it, and you will
start to experience the benefits of the amazing Pose.
If you do your yoga practice before be, you may find that you start sleeping better after doing the Corpse Pose.

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