In honor of #NationalWorkoutBuddyDay (which is coming up March 1!), WH is posting a series of workouts that are great to do with a buddy, whether they’re in the room next to you or sweating with you from afar. This one from Eve Lynn Chrust, an Obé trainer, will help you build your yoga practice. Don’t forget to post a pic on Instagram March 1 and tag #NationalWorkoutBuddyDay and @womenshealthmag.
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, don’t stress, starting a yoga practice isn’t as scary as it might seem initially. There are a few yoga tips every newbie should know before dropping by a studio or streaming a yoga video on YouTube. Another thing that can help you feel more Zen is to learn some basic yoga postures ahead of time so that you’re familiar with the fundamental or essential asanas (that’s yogi for moves, btw) you’ll likely be asked to do in almost every workout.
These include yoga postures you’ve probably heard about, like downward-facing dog and warrior II, as well as others you may not. Malasana, anyone? Just don’t feel like you have to nail them all before you can start taking classes. Most teachers will encourage new students to look around the room and watch other practitioners as a way to figure out what to do when you’re first starting out—but remember: It’s not a competition. Everyone moves differently, so try not to compare yourself to anyone else. (Easier said than done, I know, but try!)
The good news is that, even if you’re just starting out, most yoga poses you’ll come across in beginner or all-levels classes are totally attainable for every body or can be modified to make them easier, which a yoga teacher can help you do. Plus, yoga comes with a whole slew of mental and physical benefits you stand to gain, no matter how advanced you are. They include increased flexibility and strength, as well as better mobility and range of motion in your joints. If you’re moving quickly through a vinyasa or power sequence, you’ll get some cardio perks too.
Before your first flow, take a sec to familiarize yourself with the 20 beginner yoga poses below.
How to: Start on all fours with wrists directly under shoulders and knees below hips. For cat, first exhale while arching back and dropping head and tailbone toward mat. Then on the inhale while arching back, tilting tailbone and chin toward ceiling, and dropping tailbone toward floor to come into cow pose.
How to: Start on all fours with wrists directly under shoulders. Extend legs to straight behind body, toes tucked. Engage abs and bring hips level with shoulders so back is flat. Gaze slightly in front of face to keep spine neutral.
How to: Start in a plank position, shift bodyweight into right hand, wrist under shoulder, drop heels to right side on to mat, rotate body to face left side, and lift left arm into air at shoulder height. and twist. Raise hips as high to ceiling as possible.
How to: Start in a plank position. Lift hips up and back, sinking heels toward floor, until body forms an upside down “V” shape. Press shoulders away from ears and relax neck. Spread fingers wide on mat, with palms pressed against the floor.
How to: Start in a downward dog position. Lift left foot off mat and up toward ceiling while keeping shoulders square and bodyweight even between both palms and right foot.
How to: Start in a plank position. Keep elbows in close to sides, bend arms, and lower entire body as one unit, stopping when biceps are parallel to mat.
How to: Start lying on mat with legs extended straight behind body, front of legs resting on floor, and upper body propped up in air by pressing palms down into mat. Extend arms to straight and lift thighs and shins off of floor.
How to: Start in a kneeling position, with shins flat on the ground, butt on heels, knees slightly wider than torso, and hands in lap. Walk arms forward to straight on floor, lower stomach down on to thighs, and rest forehead on floor.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, bodyweight distributed evenly throughout both feet, and hands at sides with palms forward. Spread toes, lift chest, and bring shoulder blades down back.
How to: Start standing with feet together and arms at sides. At the same time, raise hands overhead, palms facing in, until biceps are by ears while bending knees and sitting back as if lowering into a chair.
How to: Start standing in mountain pose. Fold forward at waist and place palms on mat in front of feet (bend knees as much as necessary to make this happen).
How to: Start in a forward fold. Then, step left foot backward until leg is straight, toes are tucked, and heel is high, while bending right knee to 90 degrees and coming up to balance on fingertips. Lower back knee and shin on to mat.
How to: Start in a low lunge with left knee and shin off floor. From there, lift torso and raise both arms overhead, keeping shoulders down and hips squared to front of mat.
How to: Start with legs almost as wide as mat, right foot forward, toes facing straight ahead, left foot back, outside of foot parallel to back of mat (right heel lined up with middle of left inner arch), torse facing left side, and arms at sides. Keep left leg straight while deeply bending right knee until thigh is parallel to mat, then extend arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Gaze should be over front fingers.
How to: From Warrior II, tilt torso forward and rotate it further to left until shoulders face side of mat, bring right forearm to rest on left thigh and left arm forward and overhead until bicep is by ear. Gaze up at ceiling.
How to: Start with feet wider than shoulders, toes facing forward, arms at sides. Lean forward and double over until hands touch mat and crown of head is hovering above floor. Weight should be evening distributed between heels and toes.
How to: Start with feet wider than shoulders, toes facing forward, arms at sides. Lean forward and double over to plant right palm on mat half way between feet. Rotate torso toward left side and bring left hand to hip, turning gaze upward.
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend knees and sit down as deeply as possible, bringing butt to hover just above mat. Raise torso upright, bring hands together in front of chest, and press elbows into legs to push them apart.
How to: Start lying on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at sides. Draw knees toward chest outside of ribs with legs bent and soles facing ceiling. Bring arms inside of legs and grab big toes with first two fingers and thumb of same hand. Gently pull knees toward floor.
How to: Start lying on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, left hand on heart, and right hand on stomach. Extend legs and arms to straight on floor.
Eve is wearing an Athleta top and bottom.