How Many Yoga Poses Exist and The Basic Yoga Poses to Start Today

how many yoga poses exists

When we first start Yoga, there may be a lot of questions in our mind and we may be second-guessing ourselves. From the outside, it can look a bit intimidating with all of its different kinds of poses, pranayama, and props. Just know this, the doubts you are having as a young Yogi is one that everyone who practices yoga, faced at some point in their yogic journey.

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So, if you have decided that Yoga is the right kind of exercise for you, you may be wondering- how many yoga poses are there exactly. Well, simply put, there are about 84 different poses, according to the most reliable sources. While that number may seem overwhelming, remember that all yogis had to start where you are at now, with zero knowledge and experience. The main intention of everyone practicing Yoga remains the same, that is to better our minds, bodies, and spirits. 

84 different poses is a lot to handle when you are just starting out. It is always recommended that you master the basics first and then go for the more advanced poses. 

This is why, in this article, we will talk about the 12 basic yoga poses for beginners yogi, ought to know. 

The 12 Basic Yoga Poses

Mountain Pose

mountain pose

When performing this pose, make sure you stand up straight with your feet being about hips-width apart. Also, make sure that you let your hands fall by your sides and let them hang. Your palms should be faced forwards in order to get sufficient energy. You can also try bringing your hands into a type of prayer position with the hand being at the heart. 

Make sure that you gently keep your eyes closed and then start taking in deep breaths and letting them out through your nose. This will really help with releasing any type of tension you may have in your body or face and it will really help you calm your mind. 

Downward-Facing Dog

downward facing dog

After you have completed your mountain pose, you should take your hands down onto the floor. If you feel like your knees need to be bent, then do so. After this, make sure that you walk your hand about three or four feet ahead of your toes. 

You should try to push it into your palms and then lift up your hips and press them back into the heels of your feet. You should make sure to press them flat into the floor. Make sure that your gaze is focused on your legs and then keep on pressing your chest toward the thighs. This should, ideally, create a nice and flat back. 

Plank pose

plank pose

After having completed the Downward-Facing Dog pose, try to go up on your tiptoes. After that, you should roll over them and come into a position that is known as a high push-up position. Make sure you hold this position for the time it takes to take some deep breaths. Also, make sure that your wrists and your shoulders are directly in line with each other. 

Try and keep your heels pointed towards the sky. Your hips should be lowered and be in line with your body. Make sure that your gaze is kept a few inches ahead of your fingertips. This will create a type of straight line with your neck, head, and also back. 

Cobra

cobra stretch pose

After completing the previous pose, try to slowly lower your body down onto the ground.  This should be done by either lowering the knees, chest or then the chin. Conversely, you can also do it by going low straight through a regular push-up position. This position is sometimes called a Chaturanga. 

Make sure that you properly press the palms of your hands into the mat right alongside your chest. Remember to keep your shoulders rolled back and then lift your chest off of the ground. This should be done while the hips are planted firmly on the floor.

 Press your palms into your mat alongside your chest, roll your shoulders back, and begin to lift your chest up off the ground while keeping your hips firmly planted. Keep a slight bend in the shoulders to avoid injuries.

Child’s pose

child pose

In order to do this pose properly, first of all, sit back on the heels of your feet. Try and keep the big toes you have connected and also have your knees be separated about the distance of a mat-width. 

From this position, try and take your fingertips forward as much as you can. Once you are at that threshold, start lowering your forehead and also your chest down onto the floor. While you are doing this, make sure that your hips are pushing back onto the feels of your feet. This will release a lot of tension and help both your body and mind to relax. 

Warrior 2

warrior 2 pose

Once you have done the Downward-Facing Dog position, make sure that you step your right foot through. It should then rest in between the hands on the top of the mat. When done correctly, this will help align the front heel with your back foot. The front toes you have should be facing forwards and the back toes should face the sides. 

Try to keep a deep bend in your front knee. Also, make sure that the knee is properly in line with the ankle. Make sure to cartwheel your arms and raise your chest off of the thighs. 

Triangle pose

triangle pose

Moving on from Warrior 2, make sure that your feet are kept exactly where they are. First, extend your front leg to make sure that it is proper and straight. Make sure that the front of your fingertips is pushed as far forward as you possibly can. 

When you reach that threshold, make sure to slowly move them so that they can come back onto the ground. They should, when done properly, rest fine just alongside the front ankle. 

Tree pose

tree pose

When performing the tree pose, make sure that you are starting off with the Mountain pose. Make sure that you clasp your hands around the right ankle. After this, you should try to rest the inside of the feet alongside the supporting leg. When done properly, it will either be up and above your knees on your thighs or it can go down below your knees alongside your calves. 

When you can, you should try to bring your hands into a type of prayer position right at your heart. Conversely, you can also raise them up and towards the sky. This will, in effect, create some types of branches with just your arms. When you are at this position, remember to hold it for about 4 to 8 breaths. 

Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend

Sitting on your mat with your feet stretched out in front of you, reach your hands up toward the sky and begin to hinge forward at your hips, allowing your arms to drop toward the ground, reaching forward to your toes. When you can’t reach any further, plant your palms and lower your forehead down toward your legs, with your nose toward your knees.

Seated Twist Pose

Once again, try and sit straight up while your feet are extended. Try to bend the right knee and then it should be brought towards the chest. Make sure that you cross it over with your left leg and have your right foot be pressed into the floor. The leg should be kept extended while in front. For more advanced Yogis, they can try bending it underneath the body and in the opposite direction.

Make sure that you take your left arm and put it to the outside of the knee you have bent. After this, begin to twist towards your right side. 

Bridge pose

In order to properly perform this pose, start by lying completely flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Your feet should be out right in front of your view. Make sure to bend your knees and press them in towards your feet. You should, ideally, have your heels be very close to your bottom. 

While your palms are pressed onto the floor, make sure you lift your hips off of the ground and have them pointed towards the sky. Hold in this position for about 4 to 8 breaths and continue to push through your feet. The hips should be kept as high as you can possibly keep them. 

Savasana (relaxation)

After having completed all of the above, there is also a proper way to relax and unwind from your Yoga sessions. Make sure that you lie completely flat on your back with your arms extended out along your sides. Make sure that your palms are facing up towards the sky and allow your feet to turn towards the opposite side of your room. 

Make sure that you close your eyes and release all the tension you have in your hands, feet, body, and face. The focus should be concentrated on your breath and you should take deep breaths both in and out of your nose. 

Lay in this position for a while and thank your body for all that it does for you.

Editors Pick
Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga
9.7/10 Our Score

The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga–the ancient healing discipline for body and mind–by its greatest living teacher. Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises. Features a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. Illustrations throughout.

Which Ones are Suitable for You?

It has been well-documented that Yoga can bring about a lot of health benefits. However, there are also different forms (and different poses, as has been demonstrated above) of yoga that are each useful for particular health conditions. So, it is not uncommon to be wondering which type of yoga is right for you and, in particular, which poses are right for you. Let us have a closer look. 

  • If you want something that is a bit more gentle and suitable for beginners, you ought to take a look at – Anusara Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, and also Restorative Yoga. 
  • If you are looking for something a bit more advanced, then the following are suited for you – Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Power Yoga (or Vinyasa Flow Yoga), and Jivamukti Yoga

When choosing a particular type of yoga, make sure you know what you want out of it. You should, ideally, choose a type of yoga that will match your fitness levels. Also, this may sound a bit strange, but your personality will also be a determining factor when choosing a type of Yoga. 

Final Words

As we can clearly see, Yoga is not the most traditional of exercises that we find people doing in the West. However, the benefits of Yoga have been well documented and it is a good thing that many people in the West are now finally embracing it seriously. 

In answer to the question posed by this article, there are about 84 different Yoga poses in total. However, when starting out, it is better if you started with the 12 poses listed above. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many yoga poses are there?

Ans: 84

Q: What is the hardest Yoga Pose?

Ans: While there are many that will test the limits of our fitness, the handstand scorpion is well documented as being particularly difficult to properly accomplish.