At one point in your life, you have probably seen a jaw-dropping photo or video clip of a yoga expert making an extremely difficult pose look so effortless. You think to yourself, “I’ll never be able to reach that level of awesomeness”. But, with a great deal of practice, concentration, and determination, you may eventually be able to pose like a yoga master.
Just like with any other discipline or practice, it is wise to start your yoga journey with the basics. Allow your muscles to develop muscle memory, and from there, work your way up to mastery.
Beginner yoga poses may look easy, but you’d be surprised at how tough some of these asanas are, especially if your body isn’t used to them. Sometimes, even professional yogis have a hard time perfecting them.
This doesn’t mean you should give up, though! Challenge yourself to mastering these poses and you’ll definitely feel rewarded.
7 Yoga Poses You Should Watch Out For as a Beginner
1. Dandasana, the Staff Pose
From the Sanskrit words danda meaning stick and asana meaning posture, the staff pose is a seated position aimed at strengthening your core and enhancing your posture.
This pose may look really easy, but it could be challenging for people whose work routine requires sitting all day. Doing so might create muscular imbalances, making this posture difficult to perform.
This pose should not be done on a full stomach – wait for at least 4-6 hours after your meal and empty your bowels before performing it.
To do it, start with sitting up straight with your legs stretched out forward, forming a 90-degree angle. Lengthen your spine by facing forward and pressing your buttocks firmly on the floor. Relax your shoulders, flex your feet, and put your palms on the floor. Hold the pose for about 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply while doing so.
2. Paschimottanasana, the Seated Forward Bend
From the Sanskrit words pashima meaning west and uttana meaning intense stretch, this seated pose stretches your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. Performing this regularly alleviates stress and improves digestion.
Beginning with the staff pose, gently lift your arms up as you inhale. Lean your torso towards your legs as you exhale, reaching your toes with your hands. Maintain the position for 3-8 deep breaths.
Tightness in the back and legs will make this pose hard to achieve, so don’t force yourself to lean all the way forward if you find it too difficult.
3. Ustrasana, Camel Pose
From the Sanskrit words ustra meaning camel and asana meaning posture, this backbend is named after the animal since performing it makes your body resemble one. The camel pose is performed to strengthen the front of the body, ankles, thighs, and back; and improves your mood and energy.
To perform the camel pose, go on your knees and spread your legs slightly apart. Press the topside of your feet on the floor to stimulate your legs. Bend the torso and hips backward, expanding your rib cage and squeezing your buttocks and thighs. Slowly reach your heels with your hands one at a time. Hold the pose for 3-6 breaths.
Backbends are generally a difficult position for beginners, so it will take some practice to master. A slightly easier version of this pose is to reach your sacrum instead of your heels.
4. Bakasana, the Crow Pose
From the Sanskrit terms baka meaning crow and asana meaning posture, the crow pose aims to strengthen your core, shoulders and wrists, as well as enhance your balance. Surprisingly, this seemingly difficult pose is actually considered for beginners and is highly achievable (after a ton of practice, of course).
To achieve the crow pose, start with a squat and place your hands on the floor, with your palms facing down. Gently bend forward, placing the crown of your head to the floor. Your knees should be placed on top of your elbows at this point. Lift your heels one at a time, using your elbows to support the weight of your legs. Slowly lift your head and look up. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Vrksasana, the Tree Pose
Another pose that seems easy but can actually be quite tough, the tree pose is a balancing position that requires you to stand on one leg. It originated from the root words vrksa meaning tree and asana meaning pose. Mastering this pose strengthens your spine, thighs, and calves, enhances your balance, and helps you feel centered.
Start by standing straight with your feet together. Place all your weight onto your right foot and raise your left leg, bending the left knee forward. Place your left sole against your right thigh, with the toes pointing to the ground. Press your palms together and place your hands in front of your chest. Lengthen your spine and hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute
6. Phalakasana, the Plank Pose
More famously known as the plank, this pose comes from the root words phala meaning to ripen and asana meaning pose. This strenuous position boosts your energy and strengthens your core, spine, and arms.
Achieve this position by first placing your hands (palms facing down) and knees on the floor. Move your legs backward one at a time, with only the toes touching the ground. Make sure your arms and legs are not bent, creating a straight diagonal line. Stay in position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
7. Tadasana, the Mountain Pose
Surprised to see this seemingly simple pose on this list? It’s basically just standing up, right? Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than just that. The mountain pose is challenging because it requires you to be completely aware of your entire body, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.
Tadasana, from the words tada meaning mountain and asana meaning pose, improves your posture and tones your abs; if done correctly, that is.
Begin the pose by standing straight with your feet together. Concentrate on your feet, spread your toes wide apart, and place your weight evenly across the 4 corners of your feet.
Lift your knee caps to activate the legs and draw your tailbone down to lengthen your spine. Draw your shoulder blades down, slowly opening your chest. Place your arms on your sides with the palms facing forward. Move your chin up as you relax your jaw.
Breathe deeply for 6-8 times. As you do this pose, make sure to focus your attention on your breathing, drawing energy from the earth up to your toes and the rest of your body.
And there you have it, the list of some of the toughest yoga poses for beginners. Keep in mind that while these poses might be difficult in the beginning, your body may eventually get used to them with time and practice.
Hopefully reading this article has put you in the proper mindset as you embark on this exciting journey. Namaste.