Yoga Exercise Plan for Beginners

Yoga Exercise Plan for Beginners

woman performing yoga pose - downward dog

Although yoga is gentle and low-impact compared to many types of exercise, you still need to ease into a yoga program. All forms of exercise come with risks, especially if you jump in full throttle. You can risk tears and other damage to your muscles if you attempt to go too deeply into poses or skip to advanced poses without doing the prep work. Even basic sun salutations can wear out a beginner, and those are just the warm ups.

Start with a yoga exercise plan for beginners so you can enjoy a safe, healthy yoga practice.

Sun Salutations

Yoga routines open with sun salutations, which are short routines consisting of standard yoga poses. There are variations in each style of yoga. Some styles also perform the routines more quickly than others. Beginners should start with 2 to 3 rotations through a sun salutation using a basic routine.

A simple beginner version of sun salutation A includes:

  • Stand in Mountain pose
  • Bend forward into Forward Fold
  • Step back into a left Low Lunge
  • Assume Plank position
  • Lower into Four-Limbed Staff pose
  • Look up in Cobra
  • Push back into Down Dog
  • Step into a right Low Lunge
  • Step forward into Forward Fold
  • Stand up again in Mountain

Two to three times through a sun salutation is plenty for your first day of yoga. Work up to three sun salutations during your first week. Use a slow tempo. Attempt to hold down dog for several breaths, gradually building up your time in this posture.

Adding Seated Postures

Basic yoga poses can be divided into seated and standing postures. A few poses are performed lying down and make for great poses to put at the end of a routine. There are also arm balancing postures, but these are best reserved for non-beginners. You can further divide postures into twists, inversions, supine poses, prone poses, backbends, and balance poses, but for the purposes of a beginner routine it is simplest to stick to standing and seated poses.

After your first week of mastering the sun salutation it is appropriate to add some seated postures. Easy pose, cobbler’s pose, half lotus, and staff pose are some good beginner postures. After three to four rounds of sun salutations, experiment with 3 to 5 seated poses. Hold each pose for three to five breaths. End your routine with lying in corpse pose for 5 minutes.

Adding Standing Poses

Standing poses strengthen your legs, challenge your balance, and stretch your hips, legs and torso. It is best to add these poses after you feel proficient at sun salutations. The timing may be your second week or maybe even your fourth. Some good beginner standing poses include tree pose, warrior I and II, standing backbend, triangle pose, and goddess pose. Start with two standing poses in addition to four sun salutations and 5 seated poses. Hold each pose for two to three breaths. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of deep breathing while lying in corpse pose.

Yoga is a gentle enough practice that you should be able to do it almost every day, but three days a week is a good place to start. You can slowly add more standing poses and extend the time you hold each position.

As you advance in your practice, you can add inversions, arm balances and advanced versions of standing and seated positions. There is also another sun salutation version called sun salutation B that you can try later on.

Final Thoughts

This beginner yoga exercise plan is helpful if you wish to start a routine at home before attending a group class. It is also useful for someone who only wishes to do a basic routine for general flexibility and strength improvements.

Now if you’re completely new to yoga and not at all familiar with any of the poses in this yoga beginners plan, you may want to start your yoga journey by visiting YogaSync.TV on YouTube to view demonstrations of many yoga poses referenced in this article for free, sign up at YogaSync.TV or an equivalent online service where for a low monthly fee you can learn yoga in-depth in the comfort of your own home, purchase one of the many yoga books from, or for the best results sign-up and attend a yoga class in your local area.

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Author Profile: Sarka-Jonae Miller

Sarka-Jonae Miller is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and the author of the novel "Between Boyfriends." Sarka writes articles on health, fitness, wellness, travel, weight loss, and more.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

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