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  • Writer's pictureBecci

8 Poses To Prepare You For Your First Yoga Class

We’ve all been there at one point in our lives: our first yoga class - be it on youtube, with a friend at college or at a professional yoga studio - we all jumped into the cold water and started our journey. If you are getting ready to start your yoga practice, but feel a little unprepared to make the jump - fear not, I got you covered. Below, you can find 7 easy yoga poses you are most likely to encounter in every yoga class, no matter the style. I will provide you with some basic guidance on how to do these poses, so that you can follow the class easily. Comfort lies in the known and the repetition, so having heard of these poses before your first class might help you get over any initial fears or doubts.


1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

  • There is a difference between standing, and actively engaging your body to really stand

  • Even out the weight between both your feet.

  • Stand with straight legs, but do not overstretch your knees.

  • Push your shoulders down, away from your ears to lift your chest.

  • Draw your navel to your spine (general tip for any yoga pose!).

2 & 3. Cow/Cat Poses (Bitilasana/Marjaryasana)

I combined these poses because they are usually always taught together. Cat - cow variations are great to open your chest and warm up your spine.

Cow Pose:

  • Start in a neutral tabletop position, with your knees right under your hips and your hands right under your shoulders.

  • As you inhale, drop your belly down to the ground as you imagine touching the back of your head to your hips.

Cat Pose:

  • As you exhale, roll up your spine towards the ceiling, curl your tailbone under and bring your gaze to your belly button.

4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This one is a true yoga classic and the reason for those ‘I’m down, dog’ print shirts. This one is a bit trickier, because there are a lot of little details to pay attention to, but don’t worry, you will find yourself in this position a lot and practice makes perfect.

  • Spread your fingers apart widely for a stable and strong grip.

  • From tabletop position (see above), lift your knees off the floor so only your hands and feet are on the floor. It is totally fine to keep a soft bend in the knees. After all, we are still warming up.

  • Your shoulders are pushing up your spine. Keep your head between your arms and the gaze on the floor directly in front of you.

  • Your buttocks should be the highest part of your body, with your hip bones moving towards your upper thighs, close enough to hold a small object (for example a yoga block) between your upper legs and belly.

5. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

This one is all about the core and is crucial to build a strong foundation for your practice.

  • Only your hands and feet are on the floor.

  • Your shoulders are in a straight line over your hands/wrists.

  • Your torso is parallel with the floor.

  • Your heels are above your toes.

  • Tense your abdominal muscles and draw your navel towards your spine.

  • Keep your body in one straight line and BREATHE.

6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

This one is a wonderful ‘heart opener’. It’s perfect for those of us with a desk job, who spend most of our days bent over a computer keyboard.

  • Lie flat on your belly with the tops of your feet on the floor and your legs stretched behind you.

  • Press your legs, feet, and hip into the floor.

  • Place your hands a little above or next to your shoulders.

  • With an inhale, lift your chest and torso off the floor, either with bent or straight arms, depending on your lower back flexibility.

  • Make sure that you are using the strength of your back to lift you up, your arms are only a supporting factor. A good exercise to practice here is letting your hands hover above the ground for a while.

  • Your shoulder blades are pulling towards each other on the back and down away from the ears.

7. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Disclaimer: There is different ways to teach forward folds, with straight legs from the beginning or bent legs until your flexibility improves: I personally follow that second line of thought).​

  • Stand up straight with your feet touching or hip-width apart. A good indicator for this is putting both of your fists between your heels.

  • On an exhale, send your chest forwards towards the floor, keeping as straight a back as possible, nose reaching for the knees and gaze forward.

  • What is important with a forward fold is that your belly connects with your upper legs, so bend your knees until you find that belly to thigh connection.

  • There are different things to do with your arms here (touch the floor, grab your big toes, your ankles or even your opposite wrists to just have them dangle there. Feel what is comfortable for you.

8. Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)

After all this work, your body deserves some rest (your instructor will hopefully also tell you that if the practice gets too heavy at any point, you are also always free to assume this position).

  • Kneel on the floor with the tops of your feet on the floor.

  • Bring your knees towards the sides of the mat with your toes still touching.

  • Sit on your feet and lay your upper body between/on your legs.

  • Depending on if you want to stretch or rest your shoulders, extend your arms forwards or rest your arms to your side, maybe giving yourself a little hug by touching your feet.

  • Breathe in deeply and enjoy your rest. ​


Having heard (and maybe tried out) all these poses, you can be sure that you are more than ready for your first yoga class. Just one last thing: yoga is for everybody. And by that, I mean every body. You don’t have to be a flexible gymnast to go to your first yoga class. Likewise, you don’t have to be the strongest person in the room. Yoga is a journey for your body and mind. It is the progress that should matter to you, not perfecting any of these poses on your first try. Keep that in mind when you step onto your mat, be gentle to yourself with your thoughts, and at the same time strive for greatness. I hope you’ll have fun exploring the world of yoga.  



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