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5 Yoga Poses for Inflexible Beginners

Are you new to yoga? Do you feel inflexible? Are you wondering what yoga poses to start with and how to make them work for your body? Here are five yoga poses you can try if you're new to yoga, if you're feeling inflexible, or if you have back pain. If you dont have the yoga props I'm showing you can use things from around your house. For example, instead of a yoga strap you can use a towel or a long sleeved shirt. Instead of a yoga bolster you can use a sofa cushion. If you dont have yoga blocks, you can use another sofa cushion or pillows, or any other type of support you can find around the house! You dont need a yoga mat for this either, you can do these beginner yoga poses on carpet or on a rug.


Get your space set up and lets get started, here are 5 yoga poses for inflexible beginners!


1. Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)


Butterfly pose is a yummy yoga pose that opens up the hips, especially the inside of the groins and inner thighs.


Here's how to do Butterfly Pose:

  • sit either on the floor or on a yoga bolster, you want to sit with your pelvis tilted slightly forward so you're on more the front of your sitting bones. This helps to keep the natural curve in the low back and not round it.

  • place the soles of the feet together, as close to your groin as feels good.

  • sit upright, imagine the crown of your head drawing up towards see sky. If its hard to sit upright and you feel like you're falling backwards, you sit on more support (add another bolster, a rolled up blanket etc)

  • if the stretch feels too intense, try placing yoga blocks (or other support) under the knees

  • if your knees bother you, try rolling up a small towel and placing at the back of your knee. This can help alleviate any pressure you might feel in the knee joint.


Butterfly pose with bolster or cushion underneath sitting bones

blonde woman sitting on a yoga bolster in a butterfly position with soles of the feet together and a pink yoga block under each knee
Butterfly pose with cushion under sitting bones, and added support under each knee

2. Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)


Thunderbolt pose is a wonderful seated yoga pose that can be great for meditating or as an alternative to the often more uncomfortable cross legged seated position called Easy Seat, or Sukhasana in Sanskrit.


Here's how to do Thunderbolt Pose:

  • sit back with your hips on your heels, toes untucked.

  • sit with the back straight, imagine the crown of your head drawing up towards the ceiling.

  • if this feels uncomfortable in your knees, thighs, or hips, you can place a yoga bolster between your feet and buttocks. Feel free to stack as much height as you need here!

  • if your ankles are uncomfortable, try placing a rolled up blanket underneath.


a blond woman in a pink and white outfit showing a yoga pose, thunderbolt pose, with a yoga bolster under her hips and a rolled up blanket under the ankles. She is smiling and is sitting on a pink yoga mat.
Thunderbolt pose with a yoga bolster under the hips and a rolled up blanket under the ankles

3. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)


Depending on your flexibility, you might not fold at all at first - and thats totally ok! This is where I started too, these photos are my actual flexibility back in 2020!


Here's how to do Seated Forward Fold for inflexible beginners:

  • sit either on the floor or on a bolster, depending on your flexibility. You can also sit on a yoga block here or even a chair!

  • extend your legs straight in front of you, try placing a blanket under your knees that you can press into and activate the front of the thighs.

  • if you can tilt your pelvis forward and hinge from the hips (not the low back) you can place the hands on the floor and stay in this version of the pose.

  • if you feel like you're falling backwards, you can place a strap around the soles of your feet and hold it with your hands. Make sure your pelvis is still tilting forward (add more support underneath you as needed).

  • another option if you're not able to bend with straight legs while keeping the pelvis tilting forward, is to keep a slight bend in your knees.


A blonde woman wearing a pink and white outfit is showing a seated yoga pose. She is sitting on a yoga bolster with her legs straight out in front of her, and a strap around the soles of her feet that she's holding onto with her hands. She has a rolled up blanket under her knees. She is smiling and is sitting on a pink yoga mat.
Try this variation of Seated Forward Fold, its ok if you're upright and not folding at first

A blonde woman in a pink and white outfit sitting on a yoga bolster with her legs extended out in front of her, knees slightly bent. She's smiling and is on a pink yoga mat.
You can also try sitting on support and bending your knees and see how that feels in your body


4. Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)


This is a great hamstring stretch thats accessible for most students as you can adapt it A LOT! The name can be confusing but basically if you're super flexible you can hold on to your big toe. However, chances are since you're reading this article the strap version might feel better for you.


Here's how to do Reclined Big Toe Pose for inflexible beginners:

  • lay on your back, feel free to use a blanket under your head if that feels more comfortable.

  • place a yoga strap around the sole of your left foot, and straighten the leg. Your leg may be higher or lower than what I'm showing and thats ok, work to a point where you feel stretch in the back of the leg.

  • you can keep the right leg bent or straight, bent feels a bit easier in my opinion - but see what feels better in your body.

  • if you feel any sharp sensation in your lower back, lower the leg.

  • you can also hold behind the thigh or the calf if you can reach it (or the big toe!), then you may not need the strap.

A blonde woman wearing a pink and white outfit laying on her back with her right knee bent. The left leg is straight with the foot towards the ceiling, and she has a strap around the sole of the foot that she's holding with her right hand. She has a blanket under her head. She's smiling and the sun is shining on her face. She is on a pink yoga mat.
Use a strap around your foot and a blanket under your head


5. Childs Pose (Balasana)

This fully propped up Childs Pose is one of my absolute favorites, especially if my back hurts! Its calming to the nervous system and very grounding. Feel free to stay in this one for as long as you'd like, 5 minutes or longer!


Here's how to do fully propped Childs Pose:

  • Place a yoga bolster on top of two yoga blocks.

  • Place a rolled up blanket (or two!) under the hips and one under the ankles.

  • Fold over the bolster and place the forearms on the floor.

A blonde woman wearing a white and pink outfit. She is in Childs Pose with two blocks and a bolster stacked underneath her upper body. She has a rolled up blanket under her hips and another rolled up blanket under her ankles. She is on a pink yoga mat.
A fully propped Childs Pose can feel very relaxing and restoring to the body

I hope you found these yoga poses for inflexible beginners helpful! Let me know if you try them and feel free to shoot me an email with any questions: elina@elinafromsweden.com


Also, did you know that you can practice yoga with me from anywhere in the world? I have lots of beginner- and back friendly yoga classes, as well as pilates classes, guided mediations, 5 minute yoga classes, yin yoga, vinyasa yoga, and much more! Check out The Yoga Studio here!


I hope to see you soon!


xx

Elina



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