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Beginner Yoga Poses to Provide the Foundation for a Solid Flow

If you tried yoga once or twice, but gave up after realizing crow pose isn't as easy as it looks, now is a great time break out the mat and give it another go. After all, yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility (a triple threat) and has a ton of mental health benefits. Plus, there's a yoga practice out there for everyone, whether you're looking to sweat or de-stress. (Just check out this beginner's guide to the different types of yoga.) This flow from Sjana Elise Earp (yoga Instagrammer @sjanaelise) includes yoga poses that serve as the foundation to any practice. (You can also check her out in this seated flow for flexibility.) 

How it works: Perform each of the poses consecutively, holding each for three to five breaths.

You'll need: A yoga mat

Downward-Facing Dog

A. Start on all fours with knees directly below hips and palms directly below shoulders. Lift hips toward ceiling, straightening legs, and allowing head to drop as you push shoulder blades down and hips high.

Three-Legged Dog

A. Start in downward-facing dog. Lift straight right leg up toward ceiling, keeping hips square with the floor. Be mindful not to arch your back.

Warrior I

A. From three-legged dog, drive right knee to chest and step right foot between hands.

B. Swing arms to reach toward the ceiling, keeping shoulders pressed down.

Warrior II

A. From warrior I, open arms to bring right arm parallel to right leg and left arm parallel to left leg. Gaze forward and press shoulders down.

Reverse Warrior

A. From warrior II, flip right palm to face ceiling.

B. Tilt torso toward left leg, while bringing left arm to meet left leg and right arm to reach toward ceiling and to the left.

Extended Side Angle

A. From reverse warrior, bend torso toward right side. Rest right elbow on right knee.

B. Swing left arm down then reach toward the right.

High Plank

A. From extended side angle, place hands on either side of right foot.

B. Step right foot back to meet left foot in a high plank.

Chaturanga

A. From high plank, bend elbows, lowering body until forearms reach sides of ribcage.

Upward-Facing Dog

A. From Chaturanga, press into hands to bring chest forward and up, while untucking toes to transfer weight to top of feet.

Downward-Facing Dog

A. From upward-facing dog, shift hips toward ceiling, allowing head to drop, transferring weight from tops of feet to balls of feet.

Three-Legged Dog

A. From downward-facing dog, lift left leg toward ceiling, keeping hips square with the floor.

Warrior I

A. From three-legged dog, drive left knee to chest and step left foot between hands.

B. Swing arms to reach toward the ceiling, keeping shoulders pressed down.

Warrior II

A. From warrior I, open arms to bring left arm parallel to left leg and right arm parallel to right leg. Gaze forward and press shoulders down.

Reverse Warrior

A. From warrior II, flip left palm to face ceiling.

B. Tilt torso toward right leg, while bringing right arm to meet right leg and left to reach toward ceiling and to the right.

Extended Side Angle

A. From reverse warrior, bend torso toward left side. Rest left elbow on left knee.

B. Swing right arm to reach down then toward the left.

High Plank

A. From extended side angle, place hands on either side of left foot.

B. Step left foot back to meet right foot in a plank.

Chaturanga

A. From high plank, bend elbows, lowering body until forearms reach sides of ribcage.

Upward-Facing Dog

A. From Chaturanga, press into hands to bring chest forward and up, while untucking toes to transfer weight to top of feet.

Downward-Facing Dog

A. From upward-facing dog, shift hips toward ceiling, allowing head to drop, transferring weight from tops of feet to balls of feet.

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