Embarking on your yoga journey can be an exciting and transformative experience, but stepping onto the mat for the first time can also feel intimidating. At HAUM Studio, we understand the importance of building a strong foundation from the very beginning, and that starts with familiarizing yourself with fundamental yoga poses. This comprehensive guide is designed to help beginners feel confident and prepared for their first classes at our studio, by introducing 10 essential yoga poses that will serve as the cornerstone of your practice.

From standing poses like Mountain and Warrior II to seated and supine postures like Seated Forward Bend and Supine Twist, we’ll walk you through each pose, offering step-by-step instructions, alignment tips, and modifications to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. With a solid understanding of these key yoga poses, you’ll be ready to join our supportive and welcoming community at HAUM Studio, and embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and well-being.


1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

A fundamental standing posture, Mountain Pose serves as the foundation for all other standing poses. It helps improve posture, balance, and body awareness while also teaching proper alignment that carries over into other postures.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and big toes touching. Distribute your weight evenly through both feet.

  • Engage your quadriceps and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor.
  • Stand tall by lifting through the crown of your head and draw your shoulders down and back.
  • Reach your arms by your sides, palms facing outward.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, focusing on grounding into the earth and lengthening through your spine.

2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This popular pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, and legs while stretching the entire posterior chain. It also lengthens the spine and is a great way to transition between poses.


  • Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
  • Tuck your toes under and lift your hips, straightening your legs and pushing your heels toward the floor.
  • Spread your fingers wide, distributing weight evenly through your hands.
  • Relax your neck and gaze between your legs or at your navel.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, actively pressing into the hands and feet while lifting the hips up and back.

3. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)

This powerful pose builds upper body and core strength, preparing you for more advanced arm balances and inversions.


  • Start in a plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your body in a straight line.
  • Shift your weight forward onto your toes, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Lower your body down, stopping when your elbows create a 90-degree angle with your forearms parallel to the mat.
  • Keep your core engaged and shoulders away from your ears.
  • Hold for 2-3 breaths before transitioning into the next pose.

5. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)


This deep backbend opens the chest and shoulders while strengthening the arms, legs, and core. It is often performed with Downward-Facing Dog and Low Plank in the Sun Salutation sequence.


  • From Low Plank, keep your hands on the mat, push down and lift your chest, straightening your arms.
  • Point your toes, press the tops of your feet into the mat, and lift your thighs off the ground.
  • Engage your glutes and core, while keeping your arms strong and shoulders away from your ears.
  • Soften your facial muscles and hold for 2-3 breaths.

4. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)


This versatile standing pose stretches the legs, spine, waist, and chest while also strengthening the lower body and improving balance.


  • Stand with your feet about 3-4 feet apart and turn your left foot out at 90 degrees, while keeping your right foot slightly turned in.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides, in line with your shoulders.
  • Shift your hips to the right and reach your left arm forward as you lower your left hand down to your shin, ankle, or a block.
  • Stack your shoulders, keeping your chest open, and extend your right arm toward the sky, palm facing outwards.
  • Keep your legs strong and gaze up at your right hand.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.

 7. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)


A classic seated pose, Seated Forward Bend lengthens the spine, hamstrings, and calves while also promoting relaxation and stress relief.


  • Sit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Engage your thighs and feet, flexing your toes towards your shins.
  • Lengthen through your spine as you inhale and, as you exhale, hinge forward at your hips, reaching for your shins, ankles, or feet.
  • Keep your back, neck, and legs straight while folding as deeply as comfortable.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release with control.


8. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)


This gentle inversion opens the chest and shoulders, stretches the hip flexors and thighs, and strengthens the glutes, legs, and core.


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart.
  • Position your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
  • As you inhale, press through your feet and lift your hips off the ground, keeping your gaze at the ceiling.
  • Engage your glutes and thighs while maintaining a neutral neck and spine.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, then slowly lower your hips back to the mat.

    These fundamental poses will provide the groundwork for a strong and steady yoga practice. By incorporating them into your routine, you’ll build the strength, flexibility, and body awareness necessary to tackle more advanced postures. 

    Remember, consistency and dedication to proper alignment are keys to success on your yoga journey. It’s not about perfection but rather progress – be patient with yourself and enjoy the process of learning and growing. Our skilled and compassionate instructors are here to support you every step of the way as you build a solid foundation and progress in your practice.

    At HAUM Studio, we pride ourselves on providing a nurturing and inclusive community where practitioners of all levels can cultivate balance, strength, and overall well-being. We invite you to join us and experience the transformative power of yoga in a nurturing environment. Sign up today for a beginner-friendly yoga class in San Francisco – at HAUM Studio, and let us guide you on your path to a healthy and fulfilling yoga practice!