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13 Yoga Poses for Everyone

An expert's guide on how to get started

The following poses can be modified for beginners, older adults and those with chronic conditions. Not in any sequential order, they should give you an idea of what you can expect to learn from an experienced yoga instructor.

warrior II yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Warrior II

 

The warrior II pose is good for the hips, strengthens the quadriceps and improves hip flexibility.

tree yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Tree Pose

 

The tree pose is excellent for improving balance.

cat yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Cat Pose

 

Often done at the beginning of class, the cat pose promotes flexibility of the spine.

cat yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Cow Pose

 

Usually done in conjunction with the cat pose, the cow pose is good for the spine.

mountain yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Mountain Pose

 

Harder than it looks, the mountain pose is the basis for all standing poses. It's good for posture and balance.

warrior I yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Warrior I

 

Good for stretching the hamstrings and hips, the warrior I pose also strengthens the legs.

plank yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Plank

 

The plank, which can be modified by putting the knees on the ground, strengthens abdominal muscles and is good for upper body strength and core stability.

lunge yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Lunge Pose

 

The lunge pose is great for the hips and chest and strengthens the legs.

camel yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Camel Pose

 

A perfect antidote to hours spent sitting hunched in front of a computer, the camel pose stretches and opens the chest.

downward dog yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Downward Dog

 

The downward dog stretches the entire back of the body — back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles.

bridge yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Bridge Pose

 

A block helps make this modified bridge pose into a relaxing, resting position for the back.

cobra yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Cobra

 

The cobra strengthens the legs, arms and upper back.

triangle yoga pose

— Photographs by Joshua Kessler; poses by Rama Nina Patella, certified anusara teacher

Triangle Pose

 

Good for people with arch problems or flat feet, the triangle pose is also good for hip flexibility and balance.

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