Hey everyone. Welcome to Yoga with Adriene. I am Adriene, and I am super-excited because today we have a sequence for the complete beginner. If you’re new to yoga or you’ve been curious about yoga practice and all its wonderful beautiful benefits, this is a great sequence for you. You don’t need any blocks, you don’t need any blankets; all you need is your body and an open mind. If you have a mat that’s great, but otherwise, open mind, open heart. Let’s get started. OK, my friends and my new friends, we’re going to begin in a cross-legged position we call this Sukhasana, or the easy pose, the pose of ease. Take a second here to check in with the breath by maybe looping the shoulders a couple times forward, up, and back. Inhale looping forward, exhale grounding down and back. Just finding a little organic movement, and then maybe checking in with the neck by maybe just moving one ear over one shoulder.
Then we’ll go forward into chest, shaking the head, yes and no. Coming back to center, we’ll bring the head over the heart, the heart over the pelvis. Take a second to maybe close your eyes or soften the gaze so you can maybe go inward a little bit as we find alignment; head over heart, heart over pelvis. We life the sternum, lift the chest, and then again, ground down through the elbows on the exhale.
Find a nice space between the ears and the shoulders. We just come into the moment with a little integrity, whatever that means to you. For me, it means body awareness, mind awareness, noticing where my thoughts are, and coming back to that body awareness. See if you can begin to deepen your breath; nice, long inhale in and a nice, long, juicy exhale out. Keep that going; nice, long inhalation and a nice, long, extended exhale out. Draw your palms together at the heart, take a deep breath in.
Each time we come here, this is a great little beginners’ tip: Each time we come to this mudra, we call it Anjali Mudra, you can think about lifting your sternum or your heart up to your chest. Often when we get a little bit tired, and we will in our practice, we can have this little reminder to loop the shoulders and lift the sternum to the thumbs each time we come to this hands-at-the-heart or this prayer position, Anjali Mudra. Practice that now. Inhale, lift your sternum up to your thumbs, draw your lower belly or your navel in to meet your spine. Again, we’re just coming into this active body but with this sense of ease. This is going to be a wonderful tool for beginning a yoga practice; just finding the balance between active body, strength, engaging qualities, and then also a softness, an ease, a lightness, a calmness, if you will.
Finding a place where those two can dance and be together is what our yoga is all about. Interlace the fingertips, follow your breath. As you inhale, press the palms forward, up, and back. Nice and easy as we climb up the side body, climb up the spine. On your next exhale, release the fingertips down. Nothing fancy, just checking with the body, checking with the breath. Inhale again. Forward, up, and back. On your exhale fingertips release with elegance, with ease; opening the shoulders, opening the chest, checking with the side body. One more as we ground down through the top to the thighs. Deep breath and exhale release.
Take your right palm to your left knee, sit up nice and tall. Send your left fingertips behind the tailbone. As you inhale, lift up, lift your heart, exhale journey towards the left. Find a gentle twist. Navel draws in towards the spine, and we remember that we come to the mat to have an experience in our body. Don’t crank yourself into the posture. Have the experience of gently moving into the twist, maybe closing the eyes for one last breath. We gently release back to center and take it to the other side; left palm to right knee, sit up nice and tall. This time I’m going to turn to the side so that you can see my spine. The tendency is going to be to round forward. We spend a lot of time here all the time, so no worries. In time, we’re going to begin to lengthen tailbone down, lower back becomes nice and long, heart lifts, shoulder blades ground down, and we find our twist.
What I’m trying to say is don’t sacrifice this lift in the heart and this length in the spine for a deeper twist. This is wrong y’all; it’s just wrong. Find what feels right, what feels good. It might mean that you don’t go all the way far back at first. We keep a nice mindful twist, using that exhale to journey a little deeper, even if it’s just energetically, and then gently releasing back to center. Take a second one more time to interlace the fingertips with the heart.
Inhale, palms reach forward, up, and back. Long puppy belly we stretch; lift it up high, and then exhale, release fingertips to the mat. Side body stretch nice and easy, keep grounding through the legs. The legs aren’t just limp, they’re nice and active; tops of the thighs drawing down. Plant your left palm or left fingertips, beginner yogi’s choice. Press into the palms or the fingertips, and then send the right fingertips up, think up, up, up, up, and then go over. Careful not to just go over trying to mimic an asana that you’ve maybe seen before; have an experience. Inhale, reach it up, keep this lift in the heart, and then exhale, side body stretch.
Here, we’re not going to hold, but we’re going to set the tone for our yoga practice and our yoga journey by finding a little self-expression, finding a little movement. You might sway up and down, front and back, you might close your eyes, you might stretch your mouth, you might wiggle the fingertips. Draw the shoulders away from the ears, take a deep breath in, and exhale swiftly through center and to the other side, creating space in the body, connecting to the breath.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong. It’s great, just takes the edge off. We’re going to learn some basics, we’re going to focus on alignment, but really it’s about that self- expression. Find a moment or two to find a little movement, and then swiftly we come back to center. We’re going to take the palms and dive forwards onto all fours. I’m going to align wrists underneath the shoulders and knees directly underneath the hip points. I’m pressing into the tops of my feet; toes are pointing straight back and my palms are spread super-duper-wide, spreading the palms like starfish. The most important thing I can teach you at this moment is to connect with this upper current of energy, whatever this means to you, and that means not collapsing into the bones, but pressing up and out of the earth.
That means connecting to every part of the foundation, all parts of the body that’s pressing into the mat, and then remembering the find that integrity; head in the heart, heart over the pelvis, but maybe creating a nice tabletop position. We’re not sitting up straight anymore, we’ve moved our center of gravity, but I can still work with that alignment: Head, heart, and pelvis in line. Notice how I’m drawing my shoulders away from the ears and I’m remembering that my head, this neck, is an extension of the spine. I’m not hanging out here, I’m not crunching here, but I’m going ahead and taking the gaze down for now and finding a nice, long, beautiful neck.
You might feel a little bit of pressure in the arms and the wrist. Keep pressing up and out of the palms so that we can begin to build strength rather than collapse into the bones. From here, one more breath. I’m going to exhale. On your next inhale, loop the shoulders, drop the belly, tailbone tilt up towards the sky as I look forward. A little cat-cow; long neck. Take your time, no rush.
On the exhale, I start at my tailbone, I travel up the spine, walking up the spine until the crown of the head is the last thing to release. Take a breath cycle, in and out, letting the weight of the head go. Navel’s drawing up towards the spine. I’m pressing into the tops of the feet, I’m pressing up and out of the palms. Deep breath in, inhale, looping the shoulders, heart radiates forward. Then on the exhale, tucking the tail, drawing the navel up, closing the eyes to really have an experience, we call this spinal-flex or cat-cow. One more inhale. Pressing into all 10 knuckles, exhale, curling the tailbone in, starting there, traveling up the spine; chin to chest, crown of the head releases, and then we inhale back to tabletop position. Curl your toes, walk your fingertips back, a little yoga for the feet, a little beginners’ feet moment. For some this is no biggie. For others, your dogs are barking at you right now, so you might just stay here. Others might walk the palms all the way up. Find that lift in the heart, deep breath in, press into your pinky toes.
This is a great opportunity to roll the wrists out. Stay connecting to that breath. Don’t worry about how to breathe, just continue to play with the breath; deep in the breath. Then we’ll come back to all-fours. Come on to the tops of the feet again. Inhale, extent the right toes out long. Go ahead and bring the right toes to the earth. We’re just going to take a couple of seconds to breath into the back of that right leg, breathe into the calf. Notice I’m not collapsing into my shoulders, but I’m maintaining that lift so that slowly, I can begin to build that strength in the arms and just that energetic body, that lift, we call it Hasta Bandha; the hand-to-earth connection, this upward current of energy. Notice how I’m rocking a little bit back and forth, just finding that sit bone to heel connection. I’m working it, drawing my navel up towards my spine, knitting the lower rib cage and keeping the neck nice and long. Then release back to tabletop position and take it to the other side. Curling the left toes under now, stretching out the back of that leg, the calf, while still maintaining a nice line from the crown of the head to the tip of the tail.
Breath, and then we’ll bring it back to tabletop position. Curl the toes under, walk your palms out, and then slowly, we’re going to walk the knees back here. Elbows are going to drop in line with the shoulders and in line with the wrists. Then my pelvis is going to tilt up as my forehead maybe comes to the mat and heart melts down towards the knees. If your shoulders are having a wake-up call right now, maybe you pulse in and out of it a couple times. We call this Anahatasana, or heart- to-earth pose. This is a like a puppy posture, like a half-downward dog. Take a couple of breaths, sway a little from side to side. My shoulders are actually a little tight, a little sore from practice yesterday, so I’m finding a little bit of movement.
I’m never sitting in any sharp pain ever, but using my breath as a tool to move beyond the pain and find some movement. Again, notice how the elbows, they’re going to want to come out. See if you can keep them in line with the wrists and the shoulders. One more breath; heart to earth, pelvis tilting up towards the sky. Then I’ll begin to curl the toes, inflate at the heart, inhale, life the heart, press into the palms, and then slowly, one leg at a time, nice and slow, I’m going to lift the sit bones up, dropping the left heel then right, and come into our first downward dog together.
Palms pressing like starfish into the earth, keeping that upward energy, that upward current up through the palms, through the arms, so I’m not collapsing my weight. I’m finding this nice length in the spine. Notice how I have really yet to straighten both my legs yet. Don’t worry about what you think downward dog is supposed to look like, but my beginner’s tip, and this is great for all yogis; we always try to inspire each other in the yoga world to come back to a beginner’s mind. I think downward dog is a great place to check in with that beginner’s mind, by first maybe finding a little movement, peddling the feet, drawing the shoulder blades in and together. Take a deep breath in, and then exhale, come back to the knees, and walking the fingertips back up for a little rest.
Loop the shoulders, maybe a couple of circles of the wrists, and we dive in for more. Here we go. Palms to the earth, belly to the tops of the thighs. This time slowly, slowly building to a nice still dog where we take a second to be with the breath. Tops of the shoulders are drawing away from the ears. My two big toes are turned in just slightly, sit bones shining up towards the sky. I knit my lower rib cage together, I press up and out of my palms, I make sure my head is nice and loose, not holding in the neck. Tops of the thighs have this sweet inner-spiral going in towards the back of the mat. I take a nice deep breath in through the nose then exhale out though the mouth. It’s allergy season here in Austin. Inhale in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. Bend your knees generously, go for a little walk slowly up towards the front end of your mat, come on to the fingertips when you need to.
Together, we’ll land in a forward fold; feel hip-width apart, knees bent as generously as you need, and we let it all hang. Breathe, breathing into the lower back, Uttanasana. We might grab the elbows and rock a little side-to- side, then releasing the arms, bringing them to the waistline, perhaps using the thumbs to hook behind the back as I loop shoulders, pressing all four corners of the feet, and slowly rise up coming into a superhero pose as I loop the shoulders by not lifting the chest. I’m actually going to the front so you can see me loop me a little bit better. I’m coming into a mountain pose, we call this Tadasana, with the feet hip- width apart, toes are pointing forward. Really, this is about connecting to the earth, feeling strong. We practice this here so later on when we come into all these other fun, crazy poses, we practice, again, that upward current of motion while also grounding down.
For now, just check in with the feet, spreading awareness through all four corners of the feet, perhaps drawing energy up through the arches to the feet, maybe even lifting the knee caps, toning the quads; just bringing a little active energy into the body as, once again, we draw the palms together at the heart and, lift the sternum to the thumbs. Tuck your pelvis in, everyone. Again, close your eyes, find that head over heart, heart over pelvis; this time pelvis over heels or the center of the heels. Interlace the fingertips, soften the knees, find a little buoyancy as we inhale. Reach forward, up, and back. A nice tall stretch, and then exhale releasing the fingertips down, just like we did when we were seated. Opening the chest, inhale, soft knees, reaching forward, up, and back.
Tailbone lengthens down, tuck your pelvis, and exhale opening the shoulders, fingertips might move a little bit. Maybe checking with the neck this time: Inhale, forward, up, and back, lengthening the tailbone down, exhale. Take a second to draw a couple of circles with your nose, check in with the neck. Often, we think in yoga, we have to be in these crazy pretzel shapes, but really for me, each day; yoga really begins with this movement, this gesture; drawing circles one way and then the other, checking with my neck, grounding down through my shoulders, elbows, and fingertips.
Feels good. Take a second, soft knees, to bend the knees, and then reach the fingertips out; Volcano Pose. I’m lifting my toes, just to press into all four corners of my feet. I’m tucking my pelvis in. Your arms might get tired right away. With practice, you’ll notice this gets easier. Pull the thumbs back, find a flying-V is you feel like this, no space; find some space. Release the toes back down if you haven’t already and breathe. Spread the fingertips in celebration of you and your new yoga practice. Then take the right hand and grab the left wrist, again, just like we did before in the side body stretch, think up and over. Rather than just to the side, think up, length, length, length, and then over. This will look a little different for everyone. Again, you could find a little self- expression as you maybe sway a little back and forth. Then we’ll come back to center. I know arms might be getting tired; hang with me. Grab the opposite wrist, think up and over as you breathe into the stretch. Ground down through your feet. Remember that sit bone-to-heel connection; tuck your pelvis.
Then we come back to Volcano Pose for one breath. As we inhale look up, by drawing a line with the nose up, and then exhale back down at the heart, palms to the sternum as we lift it up. Bring the hands to the waistline. We’re going to take the right foot forward and the left foot back. I’m wanting to get to a place . . . I’m not going to spend too much time on all the fine details because I’m wanting just to get a taste for things. Right toes are going to point forward, left toes are going to point towards the front left corner of the mat. I’m going to make sure that I’m on two planes rather than one tightrope, like two skis so I have lots of space, maybe hip point apart. Take your right thumb, pull your right hip point back, then see if you can tuck your pelvis and do this thing we’ve been working on where we align head of heart, heart over pelvis.
The tendency is that the pelvis is going to want to spill back, but I’m going to lengthen the tailbone down, tuck my pelvis and find integrity in the torso, lighting that fire in my belly. too. Hands on the waistline as I loop the shoulders and breathe. Back heel is on the earth strong, both legs are charged by maybe squeezing the inner thighs together, finding that scissor effect. Got excited there. Then finding that effect in the crown. Breathe. You can stay here, bending the front knee generously. Eventually, I’m going to want to get to a place where the bottom of that thigh is parallel to the earth, but in due time.
I can stay here, hands on the waist, or I can reach the fingertips behind the ears and reach it up. I’m in Warrior I, Virabhadrasana I. Pull the thumbs back, remember your alignment. Draw your navel in slightly, breathe. If you feel like . . . hug those inner thighs together, find stability as you breathe. Take a deep breath in, inhale. As you exhale, open up to the left side of your mat; Warrior II. I might walk my front toes towards the front edge of the mat and I might find a little bit more space, a little wider stance is what I’m trying to say, as I pull my pinkies back and find that lift in the heart. Breathe. Strong legs, and then exhale, hands to the waistline. I’m going to turn my right toes in and my left toes out to take it to the other side.
We’re going to work in reverse order here, so a little yoga for the brain too, coming into our Warrior II on the left side first. Bend the knee. The tendency is you’re going to be like, “I’m not strong, so I’m going to hang out. I’m going to not bend that knee so far right away,” but I think you’ll be surprised. Get in there, get a little juicy, make sure your feet are stacked just where you need them so we’re not on that tightrope.
We’re really paying attention to our foundation, working our yoga poses from the ground up. Deep breath in, and exhale, hands to the waistline. Then I’m going to step the back foot in just a little bit so that I can bring that back heel to the earth. Strong legs, strong lower body, as I move my hip points gently towards the back edge, we’re just now on the front edge of the map. Lengthen the tailbone down, find that lift in the heart. We can stay here or we can reach the fingertips behind the ears to come up: Warrior I in the opposite side. Again, don’t worry about trying to create that perfect image, that perfect asana. It really is about having an experience, and then growing the pose. That makes it fun too, and less work. One more nice, long inhale in here. Hang with me. Hug those inner thighs towards the midline, and on an exhale, flow with the fingertips down back to the waistline for a little stability, hooking my thumbs behind here.
Then I’m going to turn the left toes in, come back to center, and I’m going to heel-toe-heel-toe my feet back into center. When you hear that in yoga class, that’s what this means: Heel-toe-heel-toe. It’s silly. This time, I’m going to challenge my center of gravity by coming feet flush together. Before we were hip-width apart, now I’m going to stand up nice and tall into tadasan, where I’ll finish my practice today, bringing the fingertips down, maybe closing the eyes, challenging that center of gravity; taking the experience of my practice and drawing the palms together at the heart. Inhale in, and nice, long exhale out: Tedasana. That was just a simple sequence to get us started. The hardest thing I often discover, and I’m sure many yogis will agree, the hardest part is just showing up; just rolling out the mat, just getting to the gym, getting to class, taking a moment for yourself.
Congrats to you for making it this far. You can favorite this video and return to it once a day for a week, see how that goes. Check out our ‘Foundations of Yoga’ series, also really awesome for beginners where we get back to basics and we take the time to breakdown each pose. Leave comments or questions below. Subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. I will see you next time. Namaste. .