10 Simple Yoga Exercises for Novices, Beginners and Intermediates

Verified by Mindmonia
Verified by Mindmonia

We teach mindfulness for free and use scientific studies for our articles

Yoga ball and matt

Yoga has a lot of exercises, which often leads to this question: “Which Yoga exercise is the right one for me?

Especially beginners don’t know which yoga exercises exist, which are appropriate for beginners and which aren’t. Not even intermediate or expert yoga practitioners know all exercises or might just want to learn something new.

That’s why we will cover about 10 yoga exercises in this article with videos and descriptions for all levels: novices, beginners, and intermediates.

Asanas, the physical yoga postures, are not the only type of yoga exercises that exist. However, in this article, we will only cover the Asanas.

If you want to learn the basics about yoga before you start with the actual yoga exercises, check out our detailed yoga guide for beginners.

Jump ahead to any of the sections below:

4 Yoga Exercises for Novices

You can do the following exercises at home easily. The exercises are beneficial for all kinds of parts of your body and are particularly suitable for novices, children, and seniors. No matter how old, athletic or flexible you are – there are Asanas for everyone. 

Yoga Exercises for Novices 1: Child’s Pose 

Balasana or “child’s pose” is one of the simplest and most relaxing yoga exercises. You usually do it after Vinyasa Flows or strenuous exercises. During Balasana, the body rests on the yoga mat, and you mostly focus on breathing calmly.

One variation is the “Extended Child’s Pose“, in which you stretch your arms out forward.

Type of Yoga Pose

Sitting posture

Instructions

  1. Start in the thunderbolt pose by sitting on your lower legs. 
  2. The big toes are touching each other, the buttocks are touching the feet.
  3. Take a deep breath. 
  4. As you exhale, lower your upper body forward until your belly rests on your thighs. Your forehead may touch the floor.
  5. Now place your hands next to your body with the palms facing up.
  6. Your shoulders are loose and fall wide apart.
  7. Remain in this position for a few breaths before you stand up again.



Benefits

The child’s pose has a calming effect. Thanks to the gentle movements, the child’s pose is ideal for beginners. 

On top of that, this exercise strengthens and stretches the spine, thighs, ankles, and heels.

Yoga Exercises for Novices 2: Cobra Pose

The “Cobra” or Bhujangasana is a relaxing posture that eases tension in the back area. If you’re a novice, don’t bent your back too much. Stretch your back as far as it is comfortable.

Type of Yoga Pose

Lying posture

Instructions

  1. Lie down on your stomach and stretch your legs out backward. Press the top of your feet slightly into the mat for more stability.
  2. Place your hands on the mat, next to your chest. Your elbows point backward. 
  3. Place your weight on your biceps and palms and slowly push your upper body upwards.
  4. Pull the sternum to the front, your shoulder blades contract, and push them downwards. 
  5. Focus your gaze forward.
  6. Your elbows are still pointing backward.
  7. Hold the position for two to three breaths and let yourself sink back down. 



Benefits

This exercise strengthens the entire back. It gently stretches the abdominal muscles, neck, and shoulders and has a releasing effect on the abdomen. From an energetic and spiritual point of view, this yoga exercise helps with a blocked heart chakra.

Yoga Exercises for Novices 3: Goddess Pose

Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose) is a powerful, yet easy to perform Asana, which mainly strengthens the leg and hip muscles.

This exercise is also suitable for pregnant women.

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Spread your legs wide apart and turn your feet outwards at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Keep your eyes and upper body straight forward. 
  3. Place your hands at waist level.
  4. Slowly squat down and bend your knees as if you were in a Qigong horse stance. Pretend to sit on a chair.
  5. Keep your upper body straight.
  6. Now stretch your arms to the side and bend your elbows slightly so that your hands are pointing upwards. Your palms are facing away from you.
  7. Hold this pose for at least three breaths.



Benefits

The Goddess pose strengthens your leg muscles (especially the thighs) and improves your posture. You also enhance your stability and balance and prepare your legs and hips for exercises that require strong leg muscles.

Yoga Exercises for Novices 4: Downward-Facing Dog 

The “Downward-facing dog“, also called Adho Mukha Svanasana, is probably one of the most famous yoga exercises of all. Even those who don’t practice yoga know about it. 

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Begin this exercise with all fours on the mat.
  2. Stretch your arms and keep your hands flat on the floor, fingers spread. 
  3. Press yourself slowly upwards with your legs from this position. Make sure that the soles of your feet are resting on the floor and stretch your legs out. Your buttocks are the highest point.
  4. Imagine that someone is pulling your buttocks up on a rope.
  5. Direct your gaze downwards, facing the floor or your hands.
  6. It’s essential that your back is slightly rounded and that you do not have a hollow back during the exercise.

Our tip: If you notice that your feet are lifting off the floor, grab a yoga block, pillow, or any other accessory to aid you in keeping them on the floor. Place it under your hands as a support so that your upper body is higher. The perfect height is when you stand with your feet entirely on the floor.



Benefits

This yoga exercise strengthens your arms, wrists, and back of your legs. It also strains the Achilles tendon, and your lower back. Your back, shoulder, and it stretches the leg muscles and releases tension in the neck area.

3 Yoga Exercises for Beginners

If you already have some yoga experiences, you can go ahead give the following exercises a try. They are more challenging than the exercises for novices presented above. 

Yoga Exercise for Beginners 1: Warrior 1 

The first yoga exercise for beginners is the “Warrior 1” exercise. It’s also called Virabhadrasana 1 and is one of three “warrior” yoga postures.

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Start in an upright position. 
  2. Take a step out and move your left leg forward. 
  3. The back leg stops. Turn the foot outwards at a 45 – 60-degree angle. 
  4. The upper body and hips are aligned forward. The heels of both feet remain in line.
  5. Now let your upper body fall forward gently.
  6. Move your upper body upwards to put it back in an upright position and lift both arms.
  7. Your palms face each other, and your shoulders remain relaxed.



Benefits

This yoga exercise improves not only your posture and sense of balance, but also your endurance. You will also strengthen your back, leg, and shoulder muscles. 

Yoga Exercise for Beginners 2: Pigeon Pose

The pigeon pose (Kapotasana) is one of the Asanas that improve your overall flexibility. Important: many people doing the exercise for the first time complain about pain in the front leg. That’s why you should do this exercise only in a spectrum where you don’t feel pain.

Type of Yoga Pose

Sitting posture

Instructions

  1. Begin this exercise with all fours on the mat.
  2. Extend your right leg backward. The top of your foot and knees are not touching the floor.
  3. Now pull your right leg forward and bend your knee.
  4. Your right leg is now extended backward.
  5. Keep your upper body straight and look ahead. 
  6. Shift your weight mainly to your arms to relieve your right knee. 

The important thing here is to pull your leg forward in one movement. Many people make the mistake of putting themselves in this position first and then try to position their knee correctly. However, you have to pull it forward in one go to avoid putting all your weight on the knee.



Benefits

This Asana is particularly suitable for stretching the muscles and fascia throughout the body. It encourages a straight sitting posture, which makes it the perfect exercise for anyone who sits a lot.

Kapotasana also has a calming effect on body and mind.

Yoga Exercise for Beginners 3: Frog Pose

Mandukasana or frog pose is an excellent and preparatory stretching exercise for challenging yoga exercises such as the crow pose.

Type of Yoga Pose

Sitting posture

Instructions

  1. Begin this exercise with all fours on the mat.
  2. Place your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your waist.
  3. Take a deep breath and slowly move your knees outwards as far as you can. Feel the stretch in the inner thighs. 
  4. Turn your feet outwards. The insides of your feet, ankles, and knees rest on the floor.

Our tip: If your knees hurt, put a blanket or towel under them.



Benefits

The frog pose opens your hips and provides greater flexibility throughout your body. It strengthens your lower back, pelvis, and the insides of your thighs. If you do this exercise regularly, you will improve your posture and relieve back pain.

3 Yoga Exercises for Intermediates

As an advanced yogi, you will have better physical fitness, are more flexible, and know how to keep your balance. If you are looking for new challenges on the mat, these yoga exercises are just right for you.

You should do the positions we’ll be showing you here only under professional guidance at the beginning, as there is an increased risk of injury.

Yoga Exercise for Intermediates 1: Crow Pose

The crow (Bakasana or Kakasana) is the “easiest” of these three challenging exercises. However, it may require some courage because you put all your body weight on your forearms. 

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Squat down and place both hands in front of you with your fingers spread firmly on the yoga mat. 
  2. Lift your buttocks up.
  3. Bring your knees forward until they touch the outside of your arms.
  4. Slowly shift your weight onto your hands and get on your toes.
  5. Tense your abdomen and torso and exhale. 
  6. Slowly come forward into a horizontal position. Your feet will lift themselves off the mat.

Our tip: You keep your balance by focusing your gaze on a point in front of you and breathing evenly. 



Benefits

This yoga exercise strengthens the arm muscles and your wrists. Energy-wise, it helps you to gain better self-confidence and improves your ability to concentrate.

Yoga Exercise for Intermediates 2: Headstand

The first attempt takes quite some courage, but once you get a taste of it, the exercise is enjoyable.

Warm yourself up thoroughly before you start doing this pose. You should warm-up before every yoga session anyway and then start with simple exercises. For this exercise, however, extensive warming up is highly recommended.

If you have never done or seen this exercise before, we suggest that you consult a yoga teacher who will show you this exercise to avoid a potential injury.

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Begin this exercise with all fours on the mat.
  2. Place your forearms on the floor and your elbows just below your shoulders. 
  3. Make sure that your elbows are not too stretched out. This will cause you to make a “hump”, which isn’t good.
  4. Cross your hands. 
  5. Put the crown of your head on the mat. Important: To prevent injuries in the neck area, it must be the crown of the head not the forehead or the back of the head.
  6. Move out from the hip and stretch your legs, similar to the downward-facing dog.
  7. Move your feet forward towards the buttocks. Your pelvis is above your head, the spine is straight, your weight is on your arms and elbows.
  8. Now tense your stomach and slowly release your feet from the floor. Either pull one knee first, then the other – or both at the same time, if your stomach and arm strength allows it.
  9. Bend your legs and continue to lift them slowly until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t put too much pressure on your head.
  10. Keep lifting your legs up so that your knees are in line with your hips. 
  11. Now stretch one leg after the other until your body is in a straight line.



Benefits

By doing the headstand, you’ll improve your sense of balance. The exercise also relieves your spine and prevents back pain. Besides, by reversing the body’s posture, it stimulates the blood circulation and activates the oxygen supply to your brain.

People with high blood pressure, elevated pulse, head, and back problems should avoid any exercises that are done in a head-down position.

Yoga Exercise for Intermediates 3: Scorpio Pose

Vrischikasana, also called Scorpio pose, is a very challenging pose for your balance. It combines strength, endurance, and self-confidence.

In this pose, you should also warm up extensively and, if necessary practice with a trained yoga teacher in order not to hurt yourself.

Type of Yoga Pose

Standing posture

Instructions

  1. Start the exercise on your knees. 
  2. Place your forearms, elbows, and palms on the yoga mat.
  3. Now stretch your legs and lift your buttocks.
  4. Move your legs step by step to your upper body.
  5. Breathe in and shift the weight to your upper body and your arms lying on the mat. 
  6. As you let yourself fall forward, you will automatically lift your legs off the mat.
  7. Extend your legs and raise them until they are in line with your upper body.
  8. Release your right leg from the floor. Stretch it as far up as possible towards the ceiling. Shift your weight to your hands, arms and elbows.
  9. Now lift your head slightly and move your hips and legs slowly over your head.
  10. Pay attention to steady and calm breathing.
  11. As soon as you have a secure stand, push your chest forward to get even deeper into the position.



Benefits

This yoga exercise strengthens your back, shoulders, and arms. It also makes your spine more flexible, relieves tension in your neck and shoulders and improves your sense of balance and your stamina.

Conclusion

Here’s a short overview of the yoga poses we presented:

Yoga ExerciseBenefitsDifficulty
Child’s PoseRelaxationNovice
Cobra PoseRelaxationNovice
Goddess PoseMuscles, strengthNovice
Downward-facing DogRelaxation, strengthNovice
Warrior 1BalanceBeginner
Pigeon PoseFlexibility, posture, stress reductionBeginner
Frog PoseFlexibility, musclesBeginner
Crow PoseStrength, balance, stress reductionIntermediates
HeadstandBalance, strength, stamina, courageIntermediates
Scorpio PoseBalance, strength, stamina, courageIntermediates

These exercises are only a small selection of many other yoga exercises. There are many variations but their basis is always the same. For example, there are different ways to do the headstand. 

At this point, we would like to point out that you can benefit from the many advantages of yoga, even without doing every exercise perfectly. However,  some of them might increase the risk of injury, so you should follow the instructions and take it slowly.

The most important thing is that you enjoy the yoga exercises and feel comfortable and don’t forget to enjoy your yoga session!

If you want to learn more about yoga and mindfulness, you will find many more articles on Mindmonia. Subscribe to our free Mindfulness newsletter and be the first to know when there is news. 

Thanks for reading.

Join Our Newsletter - it's free

Learn how to master mindfulness to achieve anything you want

We’re committed to your privacy! Mindmonia uses your email address to contact you about our relevant content. You may unsubscribe at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more handcrafted articles

Please check your email inbox now to confirm your email.

(It’s easy)

Just go to your inbox, open the email from Mindmonia, and click the link.
That’s it!

PS: If you don’t see a confirmation email, please check your spam/junk folder. Sometimes the confirmation message ends up there by mistake.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best website experience. Learn more.