The 10 yoga poses everyone should know

How many of these have you mastered? 

Photo: iStock

If you don’t know the difference between a downward dog and a tree, consider this your quick guide to calming down and chilling out. Here are 10 common postures you can add to your high rotation, in case they’re not quite part of it already.

1. Easy pose

It’s ironic that this posture is called this. It is sitting cross legged on the floor. For many modern workers this is an almost impossible feat. The easiest way to access this one is to grab a trusty block and sit up a bit higher.

2. Child posture

This is a great go-to when you need a break in class. Simply just kneel and stretch forward and take time out whenever you need it. It’s considered advanced in yoga to listen to what your body needs after all.

3. Tree posture

This posture is all about balance. You bend your left leg and place the sole of that foot against your right thigh. Trick is to press the foot and the leg together like a clamp. Keep your breathing slow and your gaze steady. You got this.

4. Down dog

This posture is done a lot in class, and usually beginners get wrist pain as they don’t spread their palms enough. So set your feet hip width apart and your hands shoulder width apart. Bend your knees until your back feels stretched out. If it all gets too much just master your child posture.

5. Chaturanga

Think push-up with your elbows tucked close to your body. When you first learn this one it is entirely acceptable to do it on your knees. Bonus.

6. Up dog

This posture should feel great when done correctly. Here are your insider tips: don’t lift up too high as your learning, think about lifting the chest and back body together, so your front and back muscles are working together to lift you.Once you feel stronger you can lift up higher, with eventually just your hands and tops of feet on the mat.

7. Triangle posture

This posture involves setting your feet just over a metre apart. For the first side your right foot goes straight ahead and your left foot turns in. The right leg can be a little bent as you master this one. You’ll want to tuck your tailbone forward and if your neck feels good you can look up to your right thumb as you spread your arms wide. Then you just turn and do the other side.

8. Back bend

Happy news, you don’t have to do some crazy gymnastics movement. You could simply do a little hip lift keeping your shoulders, feet and hands on the floor. It is just important that your back feels like it is getting a stretch.

9. Shoulder stand

Most yoga classes include an inversion and this one is a staple. To start you can simply go to a nearby wall and take your legs up. Once you get more confidence you can then press your feet against the wall to lift your hips up and take your hands on your back and practice taking one leg away from the wall at a time. When it gets too much you just return to legs up the wall. #yoga professional.

10. Savasana

At the end of every yoga class you can get five minutes just to lie back and relax. So worth the effort of stepping on the mat for the first time and no matter your fitness level or coordination, everyone can soak up the chill out time.

Martine Allars is a yoga teacher with Elixr. For more from Martine, head to, and follow her @martineallarsyoga.

aka Camel Pose

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