Introduction to Yoga for Beginners: 40 Common Yoga Poses | Sarah | Skillshare

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Introduction to Yoga for Beginners: 40 Common Yoga Poses

teacher avatar Sarah, Certified Yoga Teacher & Makeup Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tips on Hand & Knee Placement

    • 3. On The Mat Yoga Poses

    • 4. Standing Yoga Poses

    • 5. Lying Down Yoga Poses (Back on the Mat)

    • 6. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Hi everyone! In this class, I am demonstrating the 40 common poses (along with their sanskrit names) for you. Hopefully, this helps you to recognise the poses better and understand what the names mean when the teacher calls for it in class! 

I am also on my own journey on improving my yoga practice and after filming myself, I realised that some of my alignment can be improved. You would see additional notes on the footage for the improvements I can work on. 

This class covers these poses: 

On The Mat Poses

  1. Cat/Cow
  2. Thread The Needle 
  3. Child's Pose
  4. Wide-legged Child's Pose
  5. High Plank 
  6. Low Plank
  7. Baby Cobra
  8. Cobra
  9. Upward Facing Dog
  10. Downward Facing Dog
  11. Dolphin
  12. Low Lunge
  13. Lizard Lunge
  14. Pigeon
  15. Scorpion Tail 

Standing Poses

  1. Mountain
  2. Forward Fold
  3. Half Way Lift/Flat Back 
  4. Crescent Moon
  5. Chair
  6. High Lunge
  7. Warrior 1
  8. Warrior 2
  9. Reverse Warrior 
  10. Extended Side Angle
  11. Humble Warrior 
  12. Triangle
  13. Reverse Triangle
  14. Goddess
  15. 5 Pointed Star
  16. Garland / Yogi Squat 
  17. Tree
  18. Warrior 3
  19. Standing Splits
  20. Dancer 

Lying Down Poses 

  1. Bridge 
  2. Wheel
  3. Spinal Twist
  4. Happy Baby
  5. Savasana

This class is mostly intended to show you the poses. I am now working on filming the alignment guides and cues for each pose to help you do them safely when you practise and these classes should be up next! 

I know yoga can be intimidating sometimes and the names (and sanskrit names!) can be confusing. Hopefully this class helps! 

If you enjoyed this class and would like to learn more, feel free to watch my other classes on skillshare: 

Sending you love and positive vibes! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Certified Yoga Teacher & Makeup Artist


Hello, I'm Sarah! I am a certified yoga teacher, freelance makeup artist and a self growth enthusiast. I am so glad to be able to learn more and share all my passions with you here!

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1. Introduction: so Hi. Everybody will come back to another class. Thank you for joining me today. So today we're going to do a little bit of yoga in this class. I'm going to show you 40 common poses that we usually hear and seeing yoga practices. So I know the name sometimes can be a bit confusing. So hopefully just watching this video, you can kind of recognize the different names and the different poses. And this, hopefully will help you in your own practice or when you join a yoga class in the future. So let's dive straight into the classes and thank you for watching. 2. Tips on Hand & Knee Placement: a lot of postures in yoga involves your hands being on the mat, for example, things like tabletop, downward facing dog or plank. And then a lot of teachers do guide that. You know your middle fingers should be No. One pointing toe. It's the front of the mat. So let me just use one hand here. So in general guidelines, a lot of them say Middle finger to its different of the mat. So it looks something like that. And then this is how to wrist crease would look like if I bring my shoulders on top off my wrist. So it's quite a bit of creasing on the wrist, and what I tend to find is when I point my middle finger towards the front of the mat, I tend to get risk fatigue a lot. Olia and my wrist tends to hut a lot faster as well. So what I like to do is I'm going to point my index finger toe. It's different of the mat instead, so let me just show you one more time. This is the middle finger pointing forward, and then this is my index finger pointing forward so that Gen. General slight movement all bringing my hands out. It actually causes less creasing in the wrist and also reduces the kind of like the chances of risk fatigue throughout your practice. So this is how I like to practice. And this is how I got my students when it comes to yoga classes. So this is something you can definitely try out now when you're putting your hands on your mat with index fingers pointing forward. So something like that, Um, make sure they're showed a with distance now because I'm just showing you my hands. They're not really showed with distance now, but generally they would be about here. So once you have your show with distance and your index fingers pointing to, it's the front of the mat. What you would need to do is to try to make sure you're putting pressure within the l shaped that you're forming with your index finger and your thumbs. So it is ensures that you also not putting too much pressure on your wrist. So some people they tend to live their fingertips up or does a gap here, and then what happens is you're putting a lot of pressure on your wrist, and that could hurt you over time. So we'll always remember when your hands are supposed to be on the mat pushed down on your knuckles. That could be one way off queuing. Or just remember to spread your hands, spread your fingers and then put pressure, especially in the l shaped your forming with your index and your thumbs. So this is a good guideline off how I generally place my hands when I practice yoga and how I got my students to put their hand positions when we do yoga classes in positions like playing downward dog and so one so that stiffest, the next thing that I'm going to talk about would be a neat placement. So a lot of times when you're doing yoga, it involves your knee being bent. So, for example, in Warri opposed crescent pose and things like that. So, for example, I'm going to show it to you. Now it's going to look something like that. Sony over your ankle. Now what happens when it comes to this kind of placement is that a lot of students tend to bring their knees in woods. Now, this is really bad for uni, and you don't want that to happen. So general Guideline is try to take your knee point and pointing to it's the middle toe, all your little toast or something like that. You don't want internal rotation, and you don't want to bring your knee in Wits. Keep it out. So distracts your joins properly. Your knee is above your ankle, and you shouldn't is perpendicular to X the Met. So this ensures that you're protecting your knee and making sure that you know you're not kind of like putting uneven pressure on your knee. So this is again the second tip. 3. On The Mat Yoga Poses: the very fest pose. We're talking about his cat cow. So this is cow position where my belly's dropping to What's the matter? And then when I push my back to its this guy, it's cat. I should have brought my knees a little bit closer to my hands. So my legs I in 90 degrees where my hips above my knees. And if you look at my hands index fingers pointing friend, my show does above my wrist. So from a neutral tabletop position, once you inhale, you're going to basically drop your belly down. Hit up. Relax your show it is. And then once you exhale, you're gonna push your navel into spine and your back towards the ceiling. All the skyfall cat position. Next, we have threatening needles when you threaten the needle, thinking like your hand as the needle and you're going through the whole off the needle itself. The whole is what you've created with your legs, your body as well as the other hand. I hope that makes sense. So this is a really good way to kind of like loosen any time tightness in your show. It is and have a little twist for your lower back. I love to do this in the mornings. You can also incorporate a twist before you threaten the needle to give yourself extra mobility so you want to stack your show. It is above each of eso that you get a really nice twist, and don't forget to breathe whenever you do such poses, then we have child's pose, everyone's favorite resting post. Now this is a very stress relieving pose, and it's very relaxing. You can put your legs your knees together. Oh, you can separate them. Met with distance for White Leggett child's pose. So in here, my knees, a together. So I'm getting more of a spine lengthening, and it supports my chest in my body a lot better. But if you want to have more hip opening, you can open your knees towards the width of your mat and then slowly melting off body and your forehead down towards the mat. This will really help to open up your hips, especially we've really tight hips. This is a great one to do in the mornings. Then we have plank pose, plank pose. It's a little bit different from CrossFit, where you're actually gonna push your showed as to what's the sky? And if you take Loki has showed us above wrists and then the balls of your feet will be underneath your heels as much as possible. Then you, of course, have chat, Teranga. So from playing this is gonna be like a push up a low playing where you kind of move forward a little bit and drop down. You want to aim for your elbows to be 90 degrees, so I'm not really day it with my practice. But you can kind of see, I'm trying to push for it from playing go down and then you form a 90 degree so you're not injuring your wrists. Then you have baby Cobra, the fest variation where this is more of spine. Strengthening your hands can be on off the map. That's up to you. And you know, you just gates forward and really push your shoulder blades together. Cobra's this second variation where you kind of go a little bit high off your waist and you'll hit still on the mat and you can really feel the spine lengthening in this pose. You can straighten your hands out in front of you all keep them bent like so, Lance variation is upward facing dog. So this is the full expression off the front extension where your hips and your shins are off the mat and you're pushing your body upwards. Now, this really helps to give you a really nice back then and it's kind of part of the vigna. So if you've been practicing for a while, so you usually will see it from a charter ranga and then you come up into up facing dog, then you have downward facing dog. So downward facing dog is when you talk your toes and then you're gonna push your hips back towards the back of the map here, you're really gonna focus on lengthening your spine. Your heels don't necessarily have to touch the mat. Focus on putting pressure on your fingers. Don't let them lift, especially the l. Shape your farming with your index fingers in your thumbs. Make sure that you're putting enough pressure that so you're not injuring yourself. And if you can remember to always try to push your show debates away from each other, that helps to stabilize you showed is quite a bit next we have dolphin pose dope imposes very similar to downward facing dog. But now my forearms out on the mat Here, you really want to put pressure into your palms and your forearms will still maintaining the length in your spine as well as you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings as well. Same thing your ankles don't have to touch the ground. Just make sure you're focusing on putting pressure on your forearms and arm and your hands . Sorry, and you can feel really nice shoulder opening. So this is perfect to do in the mornings, in my opinion, and I love to do it now we have low lunch in lowland. You want to make sure that your front knee is above your ankle and your back knee is behind your hips. Here, you're going to get a really nice stretch in your hip flexes, and you need to make sure that you kind of draw your inner thighs to its each other so you're not kind of injuring yourself. And then once already, hands up, take a deep breath is really good stretch to do is well, next you have Liz oppose visit post can be really challenging with sound people if you have really tight hips, but what you want to do is you want to bring your front foot to what's the outside of your hands, and what you can do is you. Instead of putting your forearms onto the mat, you just use your palms is we'll give you a less intense stretch. But if you can go for it, put your forearms down. You feel really, really good stretching the hamstrings, especially off the bench leg. Now we have pigeon post. This is probably one of my favorite poses, where you're kind of putting your bent the in front of you, and you want to make sure that your thighs parallel to the edge of your Met. Your shouldn't doesn't necessarily have to be parallel to the front edge of you met, but if you really do that, it's just gonna give you a very intense stretch. This is half pigeon, and if you're comfortable, you cannot cause melt your forehead down to its the mat for full expression off full pigeon . And one thing I would like you to remember is so, besides the value being parallel if, let's say the knee that spend is in pain. What? You can try. Doings deflects the big toe off the bed. Me? Lastly, we have scorpion tail. Scorpion tailed comes from downward facing dog. And then you're gonna lift one leg up and you're gonna bend that knee. Try to bring your foot as close to your glutes as possible and try to stick your hips on top of each other. Now in this post, trying to make sure that the front part of your body meaning you're showed is and your risk they don't kind of lift off. So try a best picture. Us showed us as quick as possible. This really helps to open up the hips. 4. Standing Yoga Poses: the feds cause we have is to Dawson on mountain pose here. You want to relax his shows, roll them back away from your ears. Now, I want you to imagine your imaginary pencil in between your shoulder blades and you're gonna squeeze them. And you also kind of want to try to lift your kneecaps up, so to engage your quads. So to Dawson was not just a standing pose. It's really for you to feel strength and grounded nous. And then this is Extended Mountain, where you lift your hands up. Then you have the halfway lift. Now, half we live. It's really focusing on a flat back. Your hands can be on the mat on your shins, whichever is more comfortable for you. Just remember to make sure that you're aiming for flat back here. Now we have to forward fold forward fold. It's really, really good to release the back, especially the lower back. You can have a micro bend in your knees if it feels like it's really tight in your hamstrings, you can put your hands onto the mat itself. Like so all you can go a little bit further by grabbing your ankles or the back of your caps makes we have crescent moon pose, orchard Rocinha. So here it's going to be a lateral stretch where you stretch the sites of your torso. You can interlace your fingers with the exception of your index finger, this is the traditional way of doing it. Just try to make sure that you know you're really grounded in your legs and your feet when you do this. Um, one way for you to think about it is when you lean to what's the right hand side. For example, try to brief into the left lung does really helps you to kind of get a really good stretch all the way from your left hip to your left fingertips. Modification instead of interlacing your fingers would be to grab the risk. I like to do this more, actually, because it feels that I can use my hand to kind of pull the sides of my body to stretch even further so you can definitely tried it out as well. Next, we have chair pose now. Tramples really strengthens the lower part of your body, especially your quartz. Here. Just remember to push your hips back and your knees don't necessarily always have to be on top of your ankles. Just take a look down to see if you can kind of wiggle your toes so most of the weight should be on your heels. Next, we have crescent lunch, so this is similar to low lunge by your back needs lifted. Now make sure your knees above your ankles when you're doing this pose and that your back leg your ankles lifted off. So you put impression to the ball of your feet. Warrior one. So Warrior one is similar, but now you'll makes a kind on separate railroad tracks, so they're not right behind each other. And the back foot is kind of like Children out 40 degrees towards the edge of your mat, drawing your belly button. Gays throw it and then once already, you can lift your hands up. Make sure you feel strong. Draw your inner thighs towards each other. Warrior two posts. So now your legs out on a tight rope, meaning your back foot is either. It's intersecting with your front foot. Here, you want to make sure that you also again very, very strongly above angle here, you're gonna open your arms up, Broaden across the collarbones and gays to its different middle finger off your front end. Then you reverse your warrior. You flip your friend, hand over and you kind of lean backwards. So rivers Warriors, mall this tight stretch buses a front extension. And don't forget to not dumb weight on the backhand. So a lot of people like to dump weight. Then it's not really good for your back. Knees will be careful about that. Next, we have extended sign angle. So here you can put your elbow on top of your knee and then you can lift your hands up. So this will feel like a really good stretch all the way from the outer edge of your back foot to your fingertips if it's available to you so you can also put your hands onto the mat, whichever's more comfortable. Generally for me, I prefer to put my elbow on my knee because I still feel pretty good stretch in this variation already. Also, remember to always broadened across the collarbones and don't let your showed a droop down . Next we have humble warriors, so here you usually going to interlace your fingers behind your back and then in warrior one position, you're going to bring your torso down. Usually your chest will be aligned with your thigh off the bed to me, and you want to make sure that you're not resting on the bench knee itself. I personally find is challenging. So it really works on your balance and again strengthening Yano a part of your body. The next pose will be triangle pose, triangle pose really helps to open up the hit. So you're gonna straight in your friend leg and then you're going to reach forward with your friend hand and then go down. So you want to make sure that your shoulders are stacked on top of each other and you're not your but it's not sticking out with the back. So try to imagine doesn't imaginary wall behind you and this really also opened up across your showed us? Remember to take deep breaths and brought it across the collarbones. Next up we have Rebus triangle. So where you just simply going to bring the hand that was lowered to what's the Met up and back. So this is kind of like a counter to the triangle pose. Remember again not to dump weight on the back hat. It's not good for the back Me. Now we have goddess pose. Goddess pose is very similar to a sumo squat where your legs are kind of pointing outwards , and then you're bending down. So, um, just remember not to kind of stick your butt out. Try to keep your torso s straight as possible. You can kind of do a twister, if you would like to. So this is what I like to do in the mornings as well, when I do goddess pose. Next, we have five pointed star. So usually it's a transition from Goddess Post. So I should have pointed my feet, too. It's the edge of the sites of my Matt now and then you're gonna lift your hands up. Kind of like an extended mounted. Now we have Garland pose off Mila Sinise. So basically, it's Yogi Squad. You can kind of see Hear that my feet A kind of kind of hit with distance upon all. You can use the mat as a guide. So separate your feet about map with distance upon and tried. When you bend down, your knees are kind of going in the direction of your feet. You so elbows impress against your knees to kind of push it outwards and then make sure your back is straight. You're not hunting now. We have tree pose in tree pose. You're really gonna work on your balance and your focus. So here you are going to bring one of your foot up. I either onto the sites of your thigh sites off your calf or on the ankle itself. I'll show you the modifications later on. And here, once you're ready, you can put your hands to heart center, or you can lift your hands up. Just make sure that you're never putting your foot on the knee because this is not good for you. Need the next post. We have this warrior three. Now this one is really something that works on your balance. I'm struggling with it still, so you want to appoint flex your football for possible? Just make sure that you're really focused on grounding the standing foot to what's the mat , and then hence to heart center and once you ready can lengthen your hands out. Then we have standing spits, which is usually from Warrior three. Some people call it extending L because it's quite impossible for us to do to split just yet, especially just stopped it. But it really helps to open up the hips, make stuff we have, dancers post. So dancer pose. You're going to grab onto the angle of one foot and you're going to bring it forwards. You're gonna kick the foot bag and then extend the other hand forward. So again, it's a balancing pose that really works on strengthening the standing lake and building up your focus. It's a really good one to open up your show days. 5. Lying Down Yoga Poses (Back on the Mat): So the verifies lying down pose we have. It's bridge posts. Enbridge Post. You would want to try to make sure that your shins again in a straight line and then you're gonna push your hips up if you can, and it's available to you. You can also push your shoulders to what's each other and squeeze your show to play that interlace your fingers for a kind of like more of a shoulder opening as well. If not, you can just leave your palms by the side of your body arm the mat. Also, make sure that your females are your fines are not externally rotating when you do bridge pose, so make sure they're in line with your needs on and then we have wheel pose. So well, polls is kind of like a a deeper posed buses bridge where you're kind of going to use your hands, you're gonna push your body up. So a teacher once told me, it's kind of like the Nike signed. You want to push your chest to what's the gateway of you? Showed is so kind of like really get a really good front extension right here to make sure your risen, not in pain. What we suggest is to for you to kind of turn your hands towards the edges of your mat before you push yourself out. Always push yourself up from the hips, Fez. Before you actually lift up the crown of your head and then push your hands feather to lift off from the way makes we have spinal twists. So for me, the one I'm showing you, Festus, we're going to do one leg at a time. This is gonna be more intense versus of let's say you do two knees together. I really like to do this, but try a best to make sure that your showed a blade off the opposite scientists on the mat so that you don't injure yourself. And always remember that when you inhale, try to lengthen and an ex he'll try to twist a little bit more. Your knees don't have to touch the mat or the ground the same thing. Keep your short oblates down and you can bend both knees. This will be less intense, but really good for you know, if you feel extremely tight, exposes happy baby. This really opens up the groin as well as your hamstrings and your hips. So grab onto the outside of your feet and then use your hands to kind of pull your legs down. Your thighs should be roughly about parallel to its the ground if possible, and try to make sure you push a sacred to what's the mat? Lastly, we have carps. Pozo show Bettina here. You just want to really relax Your feet should roughly be about met with distance and your hands will be slightly out of the mat. Make sure your hips are away from your shoulders and your showed us away from your ears and just take deep breaths. 6. Final Thoughts: there we have it. Guides to 40 more common yoga poses. I hope you kind of learn a little bit from here and kind of recognized. Opposes. Better. So you're going to realize I didn't really go into detail about the alignment and common mistakes, and I plan to do future classes on that. So stay tuned and thank you very much for watching.