If you’ve never taken a single yoga class, hitting the mat for the first time can be kind of intimidating (you want me to do what with my body?!).
But if you’re a beginner yogi, don’t stress, yoga isn’t as out-there as it seems. Before your first flow, take a sec to familiarize yourself with the 20 beginner yoga poses below, so you don’t get mad confused when the instructor calls for “upward-facing dog.”
Not quite ready to hit up a legit class? The yoga mat featured in these poses was created by Women’s Health in collaboration with backslashfit—and guess what, it’s the world’s firstsmart mat. It pairs with Amazon’s Alexa to offer guided yoga instruction, and will even roll itself up when you’re done. Yep, thanks to this mat, yoga just got a lot easier for everyone.
How to: Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart, your body weight distributed evenly throughout both feet, and your hands at your sides, palms forward. Spread your toes, lift your chest, and bring your shoulder blades down your back.
How to: Raise your arms overhead, palms facing in, arms aligned with your ears. Bend your knees, and sit back as if lowering into a chair, bringing your thighs as close to parallel as you can.
How to: Stand at the front of your mat with feet hip-distance apart. With your legs firm and chest lifted, bend forward, keeping your abs engaged and back flat. Bring your hands to your thighs, shins, or the mat, depending on your flexibility
How to: Place your hands on the ground, outside of your feet. Then, step your right foot behind you. Bend your left knee to 90 degrees, but keep your right, back leg extended. Press your palms against your mat on either side of your left leg.
How to: From a low lunge, root your feet foot firmly into the ground and rise up, lifting both arms overhead, keeping your shoulders down. Lift your torso, and square your hips to face forward.
How to: From the high lunge, twist your back foot so it forms a 90-degree angle with your leg, and press it firmly into the mat. Then extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms facing down, as you pivot your torso, so it’s lined up with your hips. Your gaze should be at your front hand.
How to: From Warrior II, make sure your right knee is directly above your right ankle. Turn your torso to the right and then lean forward, either with your hands in prayer position or with your left arm extended down to the inside of your right foot. Repeat on the other side.
How to: Bring your feet in a wide stance, about three to four feet apart. Raise your arms out to the sides and slowly bend forward, placing both hands on your mat.
How to: From a wide-angle forward fold, place your right hand on the mat, equidistant between your feet. Raise your left arm out to the side and up, twisting your body, and turn your gaze up to your fingers. Lower your left arm and place it where your right hand is. Repeat on the other side.
How to: Stand with your knees slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees and sit down as deeply as you can, reaching your arms forward, if needed, to keep your balance. If possible, place your arms between your knees in prayer position.
How to: Position your hands below your shoulders, pressed into the mat. Extend your legs behind you, toes pressed into the floor. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face. Now, tighten your abs and hold.
How to: From a plank position, shift your body weight into your right hand and right foot, as your lift your left arm toward the ceiling and stack your left leg over your right. If you feel strong and balanced, take this move up a notch by lifting your left leg. If not, just hold.
How to: From a plank position, keep your elbows in close to your sides, bend your arms, and lower your entire body, stopping when your chest and face are just inches from your mat. Hold here.
How to: From a low hover position, extend your arms and lift your upper body, with an arch in your upper back, and your chest open and lifted. Your legs should be fully extended, the tops of your feet against your mat, and your thighs lifted a few inches off your mat.
How to: From a plank position, tuck your toes, lift your hips up and back, and extend your legs, pressing heels to floor. Press your shoulders down and relax your neck. Spread your fingers wide on your mat, with palms pressed against the floor.
How to: From downward dog, lift your right foot toward the ceiling as your balance your body weight between your left foot and both palms.
How to: From all fours in a tabletop position, inhale and bend your knees, bringing your butt back onto your heels. Keep your arms extended in front of you.
How to: Lie on your back. Bring your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around them.
How to: Lie on your mat with you legs extended. Rest your arms at your sides.
Women’s Health worked with backslashfit to create the world’s first smart mat. In addition to being one of the grippiest and softest mats around, it also:
- Rolls itself up. That’s right. Just flip it, click it, and watch this mat pick its own damn self up.
- Pairs with Women’s Health yoga on Amazon Alexa. Just use the command that comes with the mat’s packaging to turn on Alexa and hear the yoga flow of the day.