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Are you looking to get into yoga, but a little overwhelmed where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
We have prepared the perfect 20 minute yoga routine for beginners that incorporates some of the most basic yoga poses to stretch, calm, and tone your entire body.
No matter what your purpose for starting yoga is, I’m glad you have begun, and am happy to walk along the journey with you into showing you just how amazing yoga can be.
This beginner yoga routine consists of 16 poses. Try to hold each for 15 seconds, repeat the sequence four times (two times on each side), and rest for one minute between sets and one minute at the end of your last set.
The poses for the 20 minute yoga workout are:
- Cat-Cow– 15 seconds
- Downward Facing Dog– 15 seconds
- Standing Forward Fold– 15 seconds
- Mountain– 15 seconds
- Standing Backbend– 15 seconds
- Warrior I– 15 seconds
- Warrior II– 15 seconds
- Warrior III– 15 seconds
- Triangle – 15 seconds
- Half Moon– 15 seconds
- Extended Side Angle– 15 seconds
- Chair– 15 seconds
- Four Limed Staff– 15 seconds
- Cobra– 15 seconds
- Pigeon– 15 seconds
- Seated Straight Legged Forward Fold– 15 seconds
This sequence is perfect for building the foundations, toning, improving flexibility, and is just challenging enough to get you warmed up and empower you to keep going!
16 poses may seem like a lot to remember at first, which is why we created a Free PDF Printable for you to download when you sign up for our Free Resource Library below!
Take it as slow as you want and do what feels right for you and your body. If you are not up to holding them for 15 seconds, that is okay! This is your practice! All that matters is you are moving, growing, and learning!
One tool I would definitely recommend having next to you for this sequence if you are like me and not born naturally flexible, are blocks.
I give a few options for you to use them in the poses where needed, but you can use them anyway that assists you in getting deeper into each pose.
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How Many Calories Does a 20 Minute Yoga Routine Burn?
Many people are getting into yoga to lose weight as now there is much more information supporting the effectiveness yoga has on weight loss. One of the key components of losing weight is burning more calories than you consume, meaning implementing exercise into your routine to burn off extra energy.
So I’m sure for that you are wondering exactly just how many calories does 20 minutes of yoga actually burn?
If you use a simple online calorie calculator you will see that a 150 pound person burns about 62 calories doing 20 minutes of Hatha yoga. The type of yoga and how intense you make it makes a huge difference on calories burned per session.
Compared to Hatha, Vinyasa yoga burns 198 calories per 20 minutes. That is a huge difference! That is because Vinyasa yoga is much more intense and causes your heart rate to increase much more than Hatha, which focuses on basic alignment and postures.
This following sequence is meant to be a flowing sequence, which is what Vinyasa yoga is, but you have control of how intense you make it. Start off slow and then once you get the hang of how to do each pose correctly and incorporate your breath, increase the speed and rounds you do on each side to really start burning some fat.
1.Cat and Cow (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
This is a combination of two poses that creates a “flow”. They are great for warming up the spine and feeling around to see where your tighter areas are.
- Start on all fours, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and knees hip distance apart. You can choose to keep your toes tucked or untucked, whatever is more comfortable.
- On your next inhale, drop you belly, arch your back, and lift your chest. Allow your gaze to flow upwards. This is cow.
- Now, on your next exhale, slowly begin to round your back, tuck your pelvis, and bring your gaze in towards your chest. This is cat.
- Take a moment and try to become completely in sync with your body and your breath. Stay here for 15 seconds, switching positions on your slow inhale and exhale.
2.Downward Facing Dog (Adho mukha śvānāsana)
- Come to a neutral spine, still on all fours. Tuck your toes and push your hips up and back, straightening your legs and pushing your heels towards the ground.
- It is okay if your feet don’t touch the ground. You can also “pedal” them out by bending one leg at a time while you straighten the other. This will help loosen up the tightness.
- Ground your hands and spread your fingers on the mat. Engage your arms, core, and legs.
3.Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Keeping your arms where they are, begin to slowly walk your feet towards your hands, keeping them as straight as possible, until you come into your forward fold.
- Bring your feet to touch and reach towards the ground with your hands, or gripping your ankles or legs to fold more with each exhale.
- Make sure not to let your chest collapse here and still engage your entire body.
- From forward fold, bring your hands to your hips and use your core to slowly hinge up to a standing position.
- Bring your hands to your sides, palms facing forward and arms engaged.
- Ground your feet towards the floor and activate your legs so your knee caps slightly lift.
- Lift through your chest and drop your shoulders. Breathe here for 15 breaths.
5.Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)
- On your next exhale, keeping your feet grounded, swoop your arms up to come above your head in a prayer position and slightly arch your back as you send your prayer backwards, your gaze following.
- This can be as mild as you want, make sure to listen to your body and only go as far as is needed for you. This is a greater chest opener and you will be able to get deeper into it with practice.
- Breathe here for 15 seconds.
6.Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
- Come back to a neutral spine in standing position, and step your left foot about 3-4 feet behind you, and turn the foot on an angle. Your left heel should be completely in line with your front right heel.
- Bend your front right leg at a 90 degree angle.
- As you bend your front knee, keep your arms lifted with palms facing each other. Lift through the chest and stay grounded through both of your feet.
7.Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
From your first warrior pose, you are going to make a few simple adjustments to come into your second warrior.
- Keep your legs exactly the same as in Warrior I, and bring your arms straight out to your sides, like airplane arms.
- Your body will now be facing the left side of the room. Keep your gaze forward over your right fingertips.
- Remember to engage through your back heel and keep your right leg bent. Engage your arms and make sure they are inline with your shoulders.
8.Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
- Begin to straighten your front leg, keeping a slight bend in it still. Start to lift your back foot of the ground as you slowly hinge your body forward and bring your arms up by your ears.
- You can do this supported if staying balanced here is too much of a challenge. Bring your arms or fingers tips to the ground while still maintaining alignment and lifting through your chest.
- You back leg should be completely straight here, with your foot flexed and ties facing towards the ground.
Blocks would also be beneficial here to use on either side instead of going unsupported to help with balance when first starting out.
- Slowly begin to bring your back foot to the ground as you simultaneously hinge your body upward and straighten your left leg.
- Your left foot should be on an angle and grounded. Both of your legs should be engaged and straight.
- Slowly hinge your body forward and bring your right hand to the inside of your right foot. If you can’t touch the ground yet, that’s okay! You can grab onto your ankle or shin as well.
- As you right hand comes down, your left arm floats up into the air, with your gaze following it.
- Your body should be able to fit in between two walls in the pose, you should be completely linear. So make sure your chest is lifted, your heels are aligned, and your shoulders and hips are in line with each other.
10.Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
- From Triangle, bring your right fingers slightly forward and to the side, in a 2 o’clock position to your foot.
- As you’re doing this, slowly lift your left foot off the ground as you hinge forward and open your body up to the left side of the room.
- Your back foot should be pointed, and you can choose to either let your gaze fall to the ground or if you’d like a challenge, look up at your left fingertips. Make sure to keep your arms in line with your shoulders.
Blocks may be beneficial here as well to use for your front hand if you have tight hamstrings.
11.Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
- Slowly float your left foot down to the ground as you bend your right leg and bring your right hand back to the inside of your foot.
- Your back foot should be completely flat on the ground and on an angle like in the warrior poses.
- Your right knee is at a 90 degree angle and your hand is flat on the ground. Use blocks here if you need them as well!
- Keep your left arm lifted and extend it towards the front of the room, forming a straight line of energy all the way down to your left heel.
- Breathe and stay here for 15 seconds, you’re almost done with the sequence!
- Keep your right leg bent, and then slowly bring your left foot to meet your right as you rotate your torso towards the front of the room and bring both arms up by your ears.
- Your feet should be together, with most of the weight on your heels, to the point where you can freely move all ten toes.
- Sink your seat deeper with each exhale, and lift up through your chest.
13.Four Limbed Staff (Chaturanga Dandasana)
- Plant both hands on the ground by your feet, as you step one foot back at a time into a plank position.
- Squeeze your elbows in tightly towards your body as you bend them and slowly lower yourself to hover above the ground. Hold here for 15 seconds.
- You should be engaging your legs and hovering on the tips of your toes, and engaging your core. Make sure to keep a neutral spine and don’t let your butt come up into their air.
If you lack upper body strength, as I did when first starting out, don’t torture yourself. Drop your knees to the floor for a half Chaturanga. Or, in the video tutorial below, Lizette shows you how to properly use yoga blocks to assist you with your Chaturanga.
It is important to build a strong foundation and build up. That is why I still recommend this pose even in a beginner sequence.
I did this when first starting out and it was extremely frustrating to me the amount of upper body strength I lacked, but consistently practicing it lead to me being able to do it a few weeks later, and that boosted my confidence substantially.
Setting goals for your practice and achieving them is the best feeling in the world, and will make you want to keep going and keep improving.
But with that being said, listen to your body and if you are not at a full Chaturanga yet, that is okay! Maybe try to hold it for a short amount of time on your last set before you drop to your knees and build from there.
- From Chaturanga, slowly lower yourself all the way down to the floor. Keep your hands where they are, tucked in towards your body.
- Completely ground your legs and the tops of your feet on the ground. Plant your forehead on the ground then on your next exhale lift your chest and abdomen off the ground.
- Stay here and breathe for 15 seconds then release back to the floor.
- Come to all fours, and come into your Downward Facing Dog for a brief moment to transition into Pigeon.
- Extend your right leg up into the air, then angle it as you bring it underneath your torso up to meet your left wrist.
- The outside of your right shin should now be on the floor, with your right foot flexed.
- Allow you left leg to come to the ground, and point your back toes to let the top of your foot touch the ground.
- Sink into the pose and adjust your hips, making sure you are not leaning on one more than the other.
- The more you bend your front knee in this pose, the less tension you will feel, so if you feel it is too intense for you, try bending your front leg in a little more until you find the right amount of comfort for you.
- If you find yourself leaning too much onto your right hips, try placing your block underneath it to provide balance.
- Lift through your chest as you lift your arms up into the air. You can choose to stay here for 15 seconds or you can fold over your right thigh.
- Breathe through the tension here for 15 seconds.
16.Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
- If you decided to fold in your pigeon, come back up to an upright position. Gently swing your left leg around to the front of your body and straighten both legs out in front of you.
- Shake them out here for a brief moment if you would like. Then, making sure legs are together, flex both feet, and lengthen through your spine.
- Lift both arms up into the air, and using your core, slowly fold over both legs.
- You can use a block here to grab onto to sink deeper into the stretch, or if you cannot yet reach your toes, grab onto your shins or ankles, or use a strap if you have one.
- Don’t let your chest collapse. Keep your back straight and fold in deeper with each exhale.
- Stay here for 15 seconds.
Remember, try to hold each pose for 15 seconds, and breathe for those 15 seconds. It is common when first starting to get lost in your mind due to the discomfort. Allow your breath to bring you back to center.
Repeat this sequence four times, and switch sides each time. So if your left foot was in front for all the poses that allowed it, make sure your right is in front the next time, then switch. This provides balance for your body and prevents one side from being more worked on than the other.
Remember to allow yourself to rest one minute between sets, and one minute after, preferably in Savasana, known as Corpse Pose. This is the ultimate resting pose, and is actually much harder than it looks when first starting out!
Resting Pose: Corpse Pose (Savasana)
I know you can do it. All you have to do is put your mind to it. If you’d like more free resources, sign up for our FREE Yoga and Fitness Printables Library here!
Want to learn more essentials for starting and maintaining a strong yoga practice?
- 20 Essential Yoga Poses For Beginners
- How to Use Yoga Blocks to Improve Strength And Flexibility
- What is the First Yoga Pose You Should Learn?
- 8 Ways To Turn Your Yoga Practice Into A Strong Habit
Ally is the co-founder of GroundedPanda.com with her fiance Victor. She began practicing yoga at the beginning of her career as a Registered Nurse to cope with the physical and mental stress it put on her, and fell in love with it. Her goal is to help beginners develop a fulfilling practice without the intimidation. Besides managing this website, she loves hiking with her loving fiance and cuddling with her two silly cats.