Yoga for Beginners
The Complete Guide

Yoga is an excellent way of getting into shape, releasing stress, and feeling more energized and present. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about yoga for beginners. Make the most of your yoga practice from your first class with the help of this complete guide.

Definition: What is Yoga?

Yoga is a multifaceted practice that spans centuries and borders. The origins of yoga are rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism but the community welcomes any person who wishes to try. It's fitting since "yoga" comes from yuj which means to unite or join - uniting your mind with your body! Yoga is a way for the body, mind, and spirit to come together in harmony.

The wide variety of styles and poses can help facilitate your yoga practice so you can get the most out of it. Each yoga style, although different physically and historically rooted in a variety of philosophies, is based on one common theme: leading happy lives.

And the best part? Anyone of any age, gender, or physical ability can practice yoga. It's not just for the flexible, it's for anyone who wants to cultivate their health, inner peace, and calm.

Yoga is a great way to stay active and healthy, and it's never too late to start.

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Engaging in regular yoga practice brings numerous benefits to your mind and body. Some of the benefits include increased strength, flexibility, and muscle tone in addition to improved mental clarity, pain relief, and a reduction in stress levels and blood pressure.

Let's have a closer look at what yoga can do for you.

The 28 Day Yoga for Beginners Program

If you have been looking for a way to get into yoga but don’t know where to start, this is the perfect program. Designed by one of the world’s leading yoga instructors, Kristin McGee, this program will help you feel comfortable in each session.

The 28 Day Yoga for Beginners Program has everything that beginners need. This course is designed for the complete beginner, so if you have no previous yoga experience there’s nothing to worry about. It will guide you through each step of your journey with easy-to-follow instructions.

Moreover, Kristin’s approachable style of teaching will make you feel like she is your friend guiding you on your first steps so there’s no pressure involved at all!

This free yoga program for beginners might just be exactly what you needed right now: A fresh start – one filled with peace and balance as well as renewed energy levels, emotional stability, strength both physical and mental.

7 Tips for Yoga Beginners

There are things you can do to help set yourself up for success when beginning yoga. Once you've set your foundation and feel good in your practice, your motivation will be higher. You'll feel more excited to come to your mat everyday. You'll be on your way to creating your yoga habit.
  1. Hydrate. The more hydrated you are, the easier the practice will seem. Refrain from chugging a jug of water before practicing. A full belly will only hinder your ability to twist and fold. Likewise, this goes for eating before practice too.
  2. Get comfy. Wear comfortable clothing. Choose something you feel good moving in and that doesn't make you feel self-conscious. That is to say, you can choose any color or brand as long as you feel happy and comfortable in them.
  3. Find videos online for beginners. There are tons of videos you can find on different online platforms. You can catch a class on YouTube or sign up for an online yoga subscription. However, if you opt for in-person classes, before class, let the teacher know you are new to the practice. That way they can look out for moments where you might feel lost, and even prevent them! 
  4. Make a yoga space. This speaks to wanting to come back to the space. For instance, at home you can create a yoga space specific to your liking, with candles or plants. Meanwhile, outside or in a public class, you can position a small trinket on the side of your mat to represent your space. Some students use jewelry, a book, or even a folded piece of paper with their intention written on it. To sum up, have something to honor and create your own personal practice space.
  5. Don't skimp on the props. Blocks and bolsters provide some needed support and a layer of interest to the practice. If something is more comfortable, you are more likely to stick with it. This is especially helpful when first beginning yoga. For instance, if you don't have any props at home, you can improvise with a big book and a pillow. Most importantly, a good yoga mat is something you cannot improvise. You would need to invest in a thick, dense, non-slip yoga mat. It makes a big difference to your comfort level. Certainly, a good yoga mat will affect how you feel about coming back to your practice time and time again.
  6. Absorb the theme of the class. Whatever the instructor is talking about at the start of practice is often referred to as a Dharma talk. It is there to provide contemplation and inspiration. Moreover, it will be connected with the class movement in some way, and it can even help you complete some of the more challenging aspects of the class. And if the teacher skips the Dharma talk at the beginning, focus on verbal alignment and on any theory or material shared during the class.
  7. Never compare. Firstly, forget what the intimidating person in the front row, or on Instagram is doing. Secondly, focus on your own cues and breath. Comparison is never a good way to stay motivated. Especially when you’re starting yoga.

The Most Popular Yoga Styles

Like all art forms, yoga is continuously transforming. This has given rise to countless yoga styles practiced worldwide.  Below is a brief description of some of the most popular yoga styles.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha, which means force in Sanskrit, is a blanket term referring to all physical yoga practices. When people use the term Hatha to refer to a specific type of yoga, they are describing a practice that involves the breath, body, and mind. Practitioners hold poses, or asana, for several seconds or minutes. This promotes controlled breathing and meditation. 

Vinyasa Flow

Vinyasa Yoga, sometimes called vinyasa flow in the West, is a type of yoga that has over 5000 years of history. It is characterized by smooth transitions between poses. People pair movements between poses with breathing. There aren’t specific sequences or poses that define Vinyasa Flow, so the experience changes between instructors.


Ashtanga Yoga or Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a type of Vinyasa yoga where movements between poses are synchronized with inhales and exhales. What defines ashtanga yoga is the sequence of energetic and athletic postures. Pattabhi Jois popularized this type of yoga. The current style of teaching ashtanga yoga is called Mysore Yoga. 

Power Yoga

Power Yoga is inspired by the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga style. Several yoga specialists developed iterations of this yoga style in the United States in the 1990s. Power Yoga is a style that coordinates breathing with movements and sequences that activate muscles.  While the ambiance varies between classes, Power Yoga practices are often accompanied by loud music. 

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga is a structured yoga style where specific yoga postures are practiced in a heated, humid room. Because the body uses more energy at warm temperatures, many people choose to practice this type of yoga to burn extra calories. Prepare to sweat a lot! Bring some extra water to stay hydrated.  

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is a style of yoga that helps to improve the body’s alignment. It also helps to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength. Props, such as straps, blocks, belts, and blankets act as aids in supporting the body during postures to lessen the risk of straining muscles. Iyengar Yoga is beneficial for beginners, people with injuries or physical limitations, and for older adults.  

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga is a restful yoga style that aims to help practitioners relax, destress, and unwind. It opens up the body through passive stretching. Unlike most other yoga styles, it involves limited strength poses. Restorative Yoga classes involve focused breathing, meditation, and light stretches. Practitioners can use blocks, pillows, and bolsters to help people relax. The ambiance often has dim lighting and instrumental meditative music.

Yin Yoga

Yoga experts refer to most popular yoga styles as “yang” yoga, or yoga that is powerful, strength-building, and fast-paced. Yin Yoga, which is based in Taoist practices, helps to balance the effect of yang yoga styles on the body’s energy, or Qi. Rather than focusing on muscles, Yin Yoga activates the connective tissues. More specifically, it activates bones, joints, ligaments, and fascia, which is the thin casing around organs. Yin Yoga targets deep tissue and joint activation by holding postures for several minutes. It enhances flexibility and reduces stress levels. 

10 Yoga Poses for Beginners

As a beginner yoga student it is always helpful to have a breakdown of a few of the postures you’ll find in almost every class. Learn insightful tips, their health benefits, and how to properly execute these yoga poses for beginners.

Child's Pose

Child’s Pose is a great way to begin or end a practice and it is your go to rest shape if you need to take a break mid class

Benefits: Child's pose stretches your back and ankles and provides a moment to turn in. 

Tip: Rock your head side to side to get a calming massage on your forehead and warm up your neck muscles.

Modifications: If your knees are tender or if you feel stiff, put some padding under your knees. In addition, you can also put a pillow between your calf muscles and thighs. This will encourage more space. Another great modification you can do is to place a block under your forehead. What also works is a big pillow under the length of your torso so that you can rest your whole body and head on it. 

Keep in mind: If you have knee problems this may not be the shape for you. You can always sit meditatively or use downward-facing dog instead.

Downward-Facing Dog

This all over body stretch feels great on tight muscles.

Benefits: Downward-facing dog strengthens the arms, shoulders and back. Moreover, it stretches the hamstrings and calves. The bent knee version is a great way to relieve back pain too.

Tips: Focus on distributing the weight evenly through your palms. Lift your hips up and back away from your shoulders to pull the weight out of your wrists and shoulders. 

Modifications: You can do the pose with your elbows on the ground. You can also use blocks under your hands which takes the weight off your wrists.

Keep in mind: This pose is not recommended if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or other wrist problems. Similarly, it's also not recommended if you are in the late stages of pregnancy.

Plank Pose

Perhaps the best prep pose in yoga, but also a challenge by itself!

Benefits: This is a great shape to strengthen the entire body. Further, it can also be modified for wrist pain using your forearms and you still get the exact same benefits.

Tips: Pull (or wrap) all your muscles towards your center. Push the floor away with your hands (or forearms) and feet. Maintain a slight lift in your hips to avoid dipping down at the waist, which might strain your low back. 

Modifications: If you find yourself hunching forward through your shoulders, you can lower your knees to the ground. This will remove some of the weight from your upper body and back.

Keep in mind: If you have a sore low back or shoulders, lower your knees until your core is strong to support your back. 

Four Limbed Staff Pose

This is the pause between plank and lying on the floor, often referred to as Chaturanga or low plank. It is also used as a transition instead of a hold, especially when first starting to build strength.

Benefits: This shape is incredibly strengthening for the whole body.

Tips: Keep your core engaged, your elbows tucked in towards your ribs. Keep your elbows back over your wrists as much as possible. 

Keep in mind: If your hips begin to sink, lower your knees to protect your lower back, shoulders, and wrists.

Mountain Pose

This may look simple but it is not just standing still. Mountain pose is the foundation of many other shapes. 

Benefits: This shape is about finding healthy posture. And having better posture boosts our confidence levels. In addition, it relieves aches and pains in the body from hunching forward over a desk, phone, or computer.

Tips: Imagine the top of your head lifting up to the sun like a blooming flower. 

Keep in mind: The adjustments in this shape are tiny. You’re not thrusting your hips forward or ramming your chin into your chest. The movements are very delicate.

Tree Pose 

This classic shape is simple and will strengthen the entire body. 

Benefits: Tree pose stretches the interior hip and works on calming the mind. All balancing shapes encourage core strength.

Tips: To stay balanced, firstly, fix your gaze on one unmoving object. Secondly, press your foot into your leg and your leg into your foot equally. Once you feel comfortable, press your raised knees back and raise your arms above your head.

Modifications: If holding your balance is challenging, start with your foot on your ankle instead of your calf muscle.

Keep in mind: You never want your foot to be on your knee joint. Certainly, pressing on your knee joint is both unsafe and unhealthy.

Warrior II

A powerful stance that stabilizes the mind and creates intention. 

Benefits: Warrior II strengthens the muscles around your knees and stretches the hamstrings. 

Tips: When looking at your back foot the arch should be in line with the heel of the front foot. 

Keep in mind: In Warrior II, you always want to be able to see your toes in front of your knees as this keeps your bent knee safe. 

Triangle Pose

A continuation of Warrior II that brings more focus on lengthening the body.

Benefits: Triangle is wonderful at strengthening the muscles of the back.

Tips: Let the movement come from your hips instead of your waist. You can do this by elongating your torso and pushing through both feet.

Modifications: Use a tall block under your lower hand to push the floor away. Lift your torso up until you are strong enough to hold it yourself. 

Keep in mind: Bend your knees gently to protect your hamstrings. Place your hands on your hips to help your back out.

Cobra Pose

Cobra is a great stretch from the hips all the way up to the chest. 

Benefits: Cobra will help stretch the entire front of the body. Similarly, it will stretch the abdominals and hips after a workout. It is also a great way to stretch the front of the chest and shoulders.

Tips: Stay low, you should be able to lift your hands off the floor and still keep your body lifted up. 

Modifications: Try to bring your feet together and spread them out to see which feels better on your back.

Keep in mind: The benefits are in stretching the font body, not stressing out the lower back. If your back is tender, choose child’s pose or downward facing dog instead. 

Bridge Pose

A wonderful shape to hold at the end of your practice to cool down.

Benefits: Use this shape to stretch your frontal hips, thighs and abdominal muscles. Bridge also strengthens the back muscles and hamstrings. 

Tips: To strengthen your hamstrings, put a block between your knees and hold it there. 

Modifications: Put a couple of blocks under your hips and rest to give your low back a  little extra support. 

Keep in mind: Your heels should line up, and they should be directly under your knees. This will help you make the most of the pose, and it will help you avoid injury. The best way to check is by doing the pose in front of a mirror and adjusting your body accordingly. 

Yoga Workouts

Build strength, burn fat, and boost your energy! These simple yoga exercises will help you jumpstart your yoga journey. You can use, follow, and share these yoga routines with your friends and family. No prior yoga experience or flexibility required!

Flexibility Flow

Yoga-teacher-to-the-stars, Kristin McGee, will get you started with your at-home yoga practice through this full length online workout.

Grab 1-2 blocks for this head to toe, lengthening, and opening yoga routine. These easy yoga stretches focus on specific areas that are often less flexible. Release tension, increase mobility and flexibility with this yoga workout for beginners.

Fat Burning, Toning, and Sculpting

Learn what yoga exercises can help you burn fat and build energy. One of the world's leading yoga instructors, Kristin McGee, shares how this full-length workout routine will amp up your stamina in no time at all!

Stress Relieving Slow Flow

Celebrity yoga coach, Kristin McGee, will make you feel relaxed and comfortable right at home in this full length online at-home yoga class.

This basic yoga class is designed to help decrease stress using a delicious slow flow. It is perfect yoga for complete beginners. Discover how to do yoga at home to expand your body and calm your mind. Kristin reminds us to always move at our own pace and breathe whenever we practice yoga.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you wear when you practice yoga? How should you breathe? When's the best time to do yoga? Here are some tips to make your yoga practice comfortable, mindful, and nurturing.

Where, when, and how often should I practice yoga?

Check whether you feel more active in the morning or afternoon. Then practice during that period. If you feel resistant in the morning then it’s better to practice at lunch time or in the afternoon.

Many lineages suggest practicing daily for 15-30 days to create a new routine. However, most athletes will tell you that a day of rest here and there is optimal for the body. This is especially true when you are new to a practice. Doing yoga 2-3 times a week is a great starting point. The amazing Kristin McGee shares some more insightful tips to get you started on your yoga practice.

How should I breathe while practicing yoga?

You’ll encounter different breathing techniques in your future practicing yoga. In beginner yoga, the only one you need to think about is Oceanic Breathing, or Ujjai Breath. Allow the breath to flow in and out smoothly like an ocean’s wave. If you want you can even count to 3 or 4 for each inhale and again for each exhale. Yoga-teacher-to-the-stars, Kristin McGee, shares helpful tips on how you can breathe properly while practicing yoga.

What should I wear to my yoga class?

There is no real uniform in yoga except bare feet. Wear something comfortable to move in. Stretchy pants and a comfy shirt work well. Many yoga students choose tight fitting athletic wear because this type of clothing won’t move when you turn upside down. It’s all optional. Listen to more tips from one of the world's leading yoga teachers, Kristin McGee, so you can start your practice with much comfort and ease.

Can men do yoga?

Yes! Anyone can do yoga. Yoga is wonderful for increasing flexibility and strength and boosting health and immunity. It is for everyone. World-renowned yoga teacher, Raghunath, shares why you should start doing it now.

We hope this helps make your journey into the world of yoga more exciting and less overwhelming!

And if you want more information on how The 28 Day Yoga For Beginners Program is helping others like you find success in practicing yoga every day, sign up here to start your journey on a new path to physical and mental well-being!

“Wonderful! Gives step by step guidance the entire time, I never feel like I am lost. Seriously, try it out!”

Nysandra from USA 
Joined the 28 Day Yoga for Beginners Challenge 12 weeks ago

More Yoga for Beginners

Yoga Works! Here’s How

You probably already know that yoga is a form of spiritual, mental and physical fitness system, all at the same time. However, here's a little secret to help you understand how yoga works: a lot of the benefits of yoga come from how it helps your body take in and use oxygen.

The Benefits of Yoga

Not everybody is into lifting weights or running on the treadmill. However, this should not stop you from being physically fit. There are many exercise alternatives that you can try out. One of these is yoga. Aside from keeping you in shape, the benefits of yoga also extend into emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

How to Increase Flexibility With Yoga

Those wondering about how to increase flexibility need look no further than yoga. Improved flexibility has always gone hand in hand with yoga exercises. Pretty much every yoga pose takes your joints through a wide range of motion, making them stronger, more flexible, and able to absorb more impact without leading to pain or other problematic conditions. But there are a few important points you might want to know before you hurt yourself by over-stretching.

Choosing the Right Yoga Videos

Way back when people who had no time to go to a gym, they could purchase yoga exercise tapes to help them come up with a routine at home. Those tapes eventually became CDs, and then DVDs. You still had to pay for them if you wanted to get a copy legally, though. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, there a lot of yoga videos freely available to anybody with a broadband Internet connection (or if your connection speed's not up to scratch, a lot of free time and a mountain load of patience!)

Finding the Best Yoga DVD for You

While many people simply go to the gym or studio to work out and do yoga, for many others, it's an option that they can't afford. Not only do you have to pay for membership or classes, you also have to consider the time and effort it would take to go to the studio regularly. This is why a lot of men and women just choose to workout at home and learn the basics at their own pace. So how do you find the best yoga DVD out there?

Choosing the Right Yoga Routine

When you do yoga, you have to choose a routine that fits you. In order to do this, you first have to know what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to build up your strength and flexibility? The routine that you end up with will depend largely on which of the many benefits of yoga you want to reap.

Yoga Stretches: Exercise for the Body and Soul

Yoga is generally known as a spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India and is very associated with meditative practices in a number of religions which aim for the attainment of spiritual insight and tranquility. The benefits of yoga, however, go beyond the spiritual and the transcendental. As yoga practitioners know first hand, these include physical and mental well being as well.

Yoga Classes: Which One Is Right for Me?

Ever since it gained widespread mainstream attention back in the 60s, yoga as a form of exercise has been part of the West's collective consciousness. Nowadays you can find a yoga school in almost every big city in the world. You can even do yoga in your own living room, although yoga classes are still the preferred method for most people, partly because of the community setting but also because it's a great way to get proper adjustments and tips. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right class for you in order to dive into the great big world of yoga.

Yoga Journal: Why Every Yogi Should Keep One

So you've started doing yoga. You've learned a few poses, got some of the breathing techniques down, and maybe started to feel like your body's in better condition that it ever was before. If you want to keep things that way (and chances are you do), then you should probably consider starting a yoga journal as well. This will help track your progress, in more ways than one.

Finding the Right Yoga Music

Sometimes no matter how "in the zone" you are, you'll find that you still need a quick boost to get you going and do whatever tasks you have at hand. For some, it's coffee (or any type of food), but for a lot of people, it's the perfect song or music that does the job. If you practice yoga and you're having one of those days where you lack motivation to get up off your ass and start doing yoga poses, maybe all you need to get started is the right yoga music to inspire and motivate you.

What Is Yoga: a Guide for Newbies

You know a lot of celebrities are doing it, and you've seen those yoga workout DVD infomercials, but that still doesn't really answer the question of "what is yoga?" and "how do I go about practicing it?" To start, this is what you should know: yoga is NOT just a fitness routine, nor is it practiced simply for meditational purposes. Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India and has evolved into various styles for over more than a thousand years that it has been in practice.

How to Do Yoga

Whether you have already joined a yoga class or have bought a yoga for beginners DVD as a guide, it still wouldn't hurt to have some sort of a primer to the wonderful world of yogic practice. This is why we've put together a brief but helpful guide not just on yoga poses and how to do yoga, but also on the benefits of yoga and the simple yet often overlooked things like proper yoga clothes.

Taking Classes for Yoga Online

Studying yoga online can be a great and economical way to learn the art of yoga while working at your own pace. Online classes allow you to complete each aspect of the lesson when it is convenient (but still, ideally, as part of a routine), making it a good choice for people who are busy with day jobs or classes and cannot take a yoga class in person. Yoga is a good way to awaken the mind and the body, and with the help of the internet, anyone can learn in a few short lessons.

Why Yoga Benefits Your Mind and Body

If you've done your share of reading up on anything and everything related to yoga, you should know by now that yoga is practiced both for the physical and mental benefits it brings. Sure, yoga achieved mainstream popularity more as a satisfying fitness routine. But given how stressful life gets these days, more and more people are turning to yoga as a dual solution for their weight woes and stress or anxiety.

What Is Yoga? A Guide for Beginners

There are many ways to define or explain what yoga is. You can go into its benefits, how it's practiced, how its learned, who teaches it, and so on and so forth. All that is helpful information if you want to get into yoga and learn the different yoga poses. But before all that, we're going to help you with vital information to help you answer that age-old question: what is yoga?

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