20-Minute Yoga for Beginners: At-Home Routine

Yoga is one of those things, great for our well-being, we know we should regularly do but sometimes can’t seem to find the time to slip it in. And, if time isn’t the issue, maybe not being physically flexible enough, not having a studio nearby, or not knowing what kind of yoga to choose may be stopping you from getting started.

Well, it’s time to push those excuses to one side because adding more yoga to your routine has a plethora of health benefits, is shown to improve quality of life, and doesn’t take much effort. In fact, before yoga became a physical practice, it was mainly a meditative one with a focus on pranayama (controlled breathing). Nowadays, you can pop into your local studio and choose from a wide range of yoga styles like vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram, prenatal or restorative yin yoga classes.

So, how do you get started? Our best advice is to start simple. Set aside just 10 minutes of your day to do yoga. If it helps, literally pencil this yoga appointment into your planner or add it to your Google calendar. These yoga sessions could start as a seated meditation, stretching session, or 10 minutes of simply closing your eyes and breathing slowly — whatever makes you feel comfortable. Once you have these short sessions under your belt, give our yoga for beginners at-home workout a try. It’s a 20-minute vinyasa flow that you can do without leaving the house and getting out of your PJs.

Yoga for beginners: At-home session

This yoga flow is appropriate for all levels but targeted at beginners. However, if you haven’t exercised in quite some time or are recovering from an injury, not every pose might be safe for you. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist before pressing play.

For a more detailed explanation of the poses featured in this yoga for beginners at-home flow, read on.

Poses explained

In case the video cues weren’t enough read through the descriptions below. We’ll touch on all of the key movements of this beginner yoga routine.

Cat-cow

Start this posture on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Inhale to come into cow pose: letting the belly drop, lifting the tailbone, and looking forward. Then exhale to round into cat pose: curving the spine, looking at the belly button and creating space between the shoulder blades.

Downward facing dog

Like cat-cow, begin on all fours. Spread your fingers wide and tuck your toes under. To come into position, press into your hands as you lift your knees off the floor, raising your hips to the ceiling. Once you reach an inverted “V” position, begin to straighten your legs (but don’t lock your knees). Straighten your arms and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Direct your gaze to the back edge of your mat.

Forward fold

In this beginner yoga sequence, you’ll transition from a downward facing dog into a forward fold. Start by walking your feet up to meet your hands. Place your feet flat on the ground about hip-width distance apart, maybe slightly wider. Keep the knees soft and grab opposite elbows with your hands. Relax your neck and shoulders.

yoga for beginners forward fold

Half sun salutations

Moving on from a forward fold at the front of your mat, come into a flat back position with hands under your knees (inhale). Fold forward again (exhale). Next, slowly roll up bit-by-bit to a standing position and sweep your arms up towards the ceiling (inhale). Then bring your hands down to your heart and fold forward again (exhale). Repeat a few times to warm up.

High plank

Place your hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders and step your feet to the back of your mat with your toes curled under. Tense every muscle (especially the core) to keep the body in a straight line from your head through the top of your heels.

Baby cobra

From a plank position, lower onto your belly. Keep your palms on the floor right below your shoulders and draw your elbows into your body. As you inhale, press down through the tops of your feet and pubic bone, gently lifting your head and chest off the floor. Draw your shoulders back and away from your ears and don’t tense your neck. Tip: It’s best to keep your head and neck neutral by gazing forward but slightly down (aka, no wrinkles in the back of your neck).

Sun salutation A (modified)

For a modified sun salutation, we’ll string the half salutation, plank, and baby cobra together.

  1. Beginning in a forward fold, inhale to a flat back position.
  2. Exhale and fold forward.
  3. Next, inhale and reach your arms towards the ceiling, then exhale as you bring your hands down to your heart and fold forward.
  4. Inhale again to move into a flat back position.
  5. Then place your hands on the floor and step back to plank and exhale.
  6. Inhale and then while exhaling lower down onto your belly.
  7. Inhale to baby cobra.
  8. Then exhale as you come to all fours and into downward facing dog.

Low lunge

Come into a lunge with your right foot forward and hands on either side of the foot. Drop your left knee to the earth and untuck the toes so that the top of your foot rests on the ground. Make sure your right knee is positioned over the right ankle. Look slightly forward so your back and neck are in a straight line, with your head neutral. Breathe deeply here before switching sides or moving onto the next posture.

Low lunge twist

From the low lunge position with right foot forward, plant your left hand flat on the floor or on a block. Lift your right arm to the ceiling, turning your chest to the right. Look up at your right hand and breathe.

Low lunge with a backbend

From the low lunge position with your right foot forward, come upright by bringing your hands to your right thigh. First make your spine as straight as possible, ensuring that your ribs are over your hips. Avoid compressing your low back by leading the backbend movement from your upper back. To do this, pull your shoulders back to open your chest and continue to lift up and out of your lower back as you backbend.

Seated forward fold

Sit down and extend your legs straight out in front of you. With a straight back, start to bend forward. With every exhale, lean forward a little more. Bend your knees slightly, especially if your hamstrings are tight. Take several breaths here.

yoga for beginners forward fold seated

Seated twist

Sit with both legs extended out in front of you. Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the floor outside your left leg. Place your right hand behind you and hook your left elbow on the outside of the right knee. Twist toward the right-hand side, keeping your spine straight and exhaling to twist deeper. Switch sides after several breaths.

Bridge pose

Lay on your back, bend both knees and plant your feet flat on the floor. Check the position of your feet, ensuring they are hip-width distance apart and close to your butt (you should be able to graze them with your fingertips). With your arms by your sides and palms facing down, engage your glutes, hamstrings, and spine in lifting up into a bridge position. Keep your knees in line with your ankles and breathe deeply before slowly releasing the pose.

Spinal twist

Lay on your back and bring your knees into your chest. Extend both arms out to the sides (in a “T” shape) and let both knees fall to the right side. Turn your head to the left and feel the stretch from your tailbone to your neck. Hold for a few breaths before switching sides.

Give this beginner yoga sequence a try next time you’re looking to move your body in a low-impact way — you’ll feel relaxed and well-stretched post-flow. For more yoga flows, sign up for 8fit Pro and check out the beginner-friendly yoga routines in the app.