Top 10 Poses For Beginners


Brand new to yoga? Here are the Top 10 Poses you should know to help you feel comfortable in your yoga class.

Click the link below for our ‘Learn Yoga’ Video Series on YouTube!

Spotted Dog Yoga on YouTube

1. Mountain Pose

It is the base for all standing poses and gives you a sense of how to ground into your feet. If you feel like you’re just “standing there” then you probably aren’t doing it right.

Stand there with your feet together. Press down all ten toes as you spread them open. Engage your quads to lift your kneecaps and lift up through the inner thighs. Draw your abs in and up as you lift your chest and press the tops of the shoulders down. Feel your shoulder blades coming towards each other and open your chest.

mountain pose

2. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Dog is used in most yoga practices and it stretches and strengthens the entire body.

Come on to all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips.  Keep your knees slightly bent if your hamstrings are tight, otherwise try and straighten out your legs while keeping your hips back. Press firmly through your palms and keep engaging your legs to keep the torso moving back towards the thighs.

downward dog

3. Plank

Plank is a great way to strengthen the abdominals, and learn to use the breath to help you stay in a challenging pose.

From all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your legs up off the mat. Slide your heels back enough until you feel you are one straight line of energy from your head to your feet. Engage the lower abdominals, draw the shoulders down and away from the ears, pull your ribs together.plank.jpg

4. Triangle

Triangle pose stretches the sides of the waist, opens up the lungs, strengthens the legs and tones the entire body.

Stand with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Open and stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left toes in about 45 degrees. Engage your quads and abs as you hinge to the side over your right leg. Place your right hand down on your ankle, shin or knee (or a block if you have one) and lift your left arm up to the ceiling. Turn your gaze up to the top hand and hold. Lift up to stand and repeat on the opposite side.


5. Tree

Tree is an awesome standing balance for beginners to work on to gain focus and clarity, and learn to breathe while standing and keeping the body balanced on one foot.

Start with your feet together and place your right foot on your inner left upper thigh. Press your hands in prayer and find a spot in front of you that you can hold in a steady gaze.

Hold and breathe for 8-10 breaths then switch sides. Make sure you don’t lean in to the standing leg and keep your abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed.


6. Warrior 1

Warrior poses are essential for building strength and stamina in a yoga practice. They stretch the hips and thighs while building strength in the entire lower body and core.

For warrior one, you can take a giant step back with your left foot coming towards a lunge, then turn your left heel down and angle your left toes forward 75 degrees. Lift your chest and press your palms up overhead. Step forward and repeat on the opposite leg.

warrior 1.jpg

7. Warrior 2

Warrior 2 is an external hip opener and opens up the inner thighs and groin. It’s a good starting point for many side postures including triangle, extended angle and half moon balance.

Stand with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Turn your right toes out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees. Bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle while keeping the torso even between the hips. Stretch your arms out to your sides and gaze over your right hand.

warrior 2.jpg

8. Seated Forward Bend

It’s important to incorporate a forward bend in yoga practice to stretch the hamstrings, lower and upper back and sides.

Start seated with your legs together, feet firmly flexed and not turning in or out, and your hands by your hips. Lift your chest and start to hinge forward from your waist. Engage your lower abdominals and imagine your belly button moving towards the top of your thighs.

Once you hit your maximum, stop and breathe for 8-10 breaths. Make sure your shoulders, head and neck are all released.

forward bend.jpg

9. Bridge Pose

A counter pose to a forward bend is a back bend. Bridge is a good beginner’s back bend that stretches the front body and strengthens the back body.

Lie down on your back and place your feet hip width apart. Press firmly on to your feet and lift your butt up off the mat. Interlace your hands together and press the fists down to the floor as you open up your chest even more.


10. Child’s Pose

Every one needs a good resting pose and Child’s pose is an awesome one not just for beginners but for yoga practitioners of all levels.

Start on all fours then bring your knees and feet together as you sit your butt back to your heels and stretch your arms forward. Lower your forehead to the floor (or block or pillow or blanket) and let your entire body release. Hold for as long as you wish!childs pose.jpg

So there you have it. The Top 10 Yoga Poses that every newbie should know. Give them a try and build your confidence as you learn yoga.

Speaking of learn yoga, did you know we have a new class here at Spotted Dog that covers just that? Join us on Tuesdays at 6:30 PM and Saturdays at 4:30 PM for our Learn Yoga classes! Go over the basics, ask questions and get assistance to help perfect that pose you have been working on. See you there! ♥

Play Hard ♥ Love Big


Let’s Talk Feet


SDY leader & teacher Katie Clark teaches you how to use basic alignment of the feet to expand your body and your practice!! Subscribe to SDY’s channel for more great learn yoga videos!

Play Hard ♥ Love Big


Learn Yoga Video


SDY leader & teacher Jennifer Vicari-Cox teaches you how to go from side facing wide leg forward fold to tripod headstand!!

Subscribe to SDY’s channel for more great learn yoga videos!


Play Hard ♥ Love Big

A Break Down, an Explanation, an Open Forum. Learn Yoga does it all!

I had been practicing yoga for about a year and a half. Fully in love with the discovery of the capabilities of my body. An unsatiated desire to LEARN as much as I could about each of the poses and everything yoga!
There was a constant question in my practice, “Was I doing it right?” But after savasana, being so relaxed and calm, I could barely remember one of my many questions to ask the teacher following class.
My western education craving a space to break down each pose and ask, “Is this right?” I had taken two private lessons which had elevated my practice dramatically and relieved pain-points in my body but still I had so many questions!
“Where should I be feeling this?”
“Should my hand be here or here in halfway lift?”
“Where should my foot be?”
“How the heck are you supposed to transition from … to …?”
“Darn it! I want to shoot back to chatarunga – but how?”
I had the curiosity of a four year old wanting to explore my new yoga language and knowledge. I craved reassurance that I was on the right path.
Then during a 10 day fit dog challenge – the LEARN yoga workshop started. 
“Does it count towards the challenge?” I asked Nick. 
He thought a moment, “Yeah, sure.” 
I didn’t blink an eye and responded “Well ok – sign me up!”
The workshop was exactly what my western culture of learning craved. A break down, an explanation, an open forum to ask all my burning questions and share some of the things I had learned along my way.  A safe and wonderful space to discover and grow my practice. I left each session empowered and enormous trust building inside me.
My yoga practice had given me access to listen to my body and finally I was learning to trust and understand what my body was telling me. I could interpret the many sensations.
“Oh that burn – that’s good!”
“That sting – yeah not so much!”
“My breath is a tool to leverage and find new levels of the pose”
A new freedom opened up on my mat and in my life. Trusting my body and mind – together. For so long the two seemed separate sometimes working at odds – almost fighting with one another. I had a new peace in my running – when to keep going and when to pause, rest and heal. I had all the information I needed – the really amazing discovery was that I had all the information I needed before the workshop. The true gift wasn’t all the answers and information, it was giving me the power to have trust in myself.
Emily Kendall
SDY Teacher

Play Hard • Love Big

Guest Teacher Luca Richards

Spotted Dog Yoga is excited to host international yoga teacher and published yoga researcher Luca Richards for two days in October!!

Luca Richards is an E-RYT 500 and a Certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher. Luca is trained in a number of fitness modalities, holding certifications in both classical and contemporary Pilates as an instructor and teacher trainer. Luca enjoys and shares a yoga practice that is both physically challenging and inspiring with a message that is tangible and grounded. He invites all his students to step out of their comfort zones and into powerful new possibilities. He uses creativity and humor to bring a powerful lightness to both the body and spirit.

Luca teaches classes, workshops and conferences throughout the USA and internationally, including Yoga Journal Live, ECA Thrive Fitness Conference, and presented at the White House in Washington, D.C. for Michelle Obama’s “
Let’s Move Campaign.” Luca uses his love of yoga to offer service to the local and global community, including his work with Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi, Kenya and Standout Yoga, an organization he founded that supports at-risk youth. In addition, Luca has been published in academic research on the efficacy of yoga in collaboration with the University of Miami and with Florida International University.

“I am inspired by authentic connection and joyfulness in my practice, in my teaching, and in my life. I am committed to being with what is and to live fully in each moment. I have personally benefited from yoga in every way, revealing my own fluid strength and powerful vulnerability. As a teacher, my intention is to create a space where each student can experience their own greatness, without limitation or expectation.”  


Monday October 23rd 6-8pm

A special class focusing on true north alignment:
Cost: $20

Tuesday October 24th 6-8pm

Open to certified yoga teachers.

Discover how to optimize what you do well, recognize your strengths, and do them with purpose. Gain tools to deepen your connection with your students and share your unique gifts. Create an individual brand that will make you thrive. Simply stated by entertainment legend Dolly Parton:” Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” This workshop will be packed with humor, everyday wisdom, and practical applications that will transform every area of your personal and professional life.

Cost: $25

Just Call Her SUNSHINE!


You’ve seen her at the front desk…get to know Chantell Trumbull (nickname Sunshine) a little better! She has been married to her wonderful, fun loving husband Shawn for 22 years. The two met on the first day of their freshmen year in the dorm of Whitney Hall at CSU, Chico (they lived on the same floor). Chantell and Shawn have two teenage boys, Jake (17) a senior in high school and Cole (15) a sophomore. When the boys were little they tried a lot of different sports…soccer, little league, lacrosse, basketball…but the two have settled into their favorites, soccer for Jake and crew for Cole. The Trumbull family has two dogs, Murphy a ball and water loving black lab and Oreo a half poodle/half beagle mix called a poogle, otherwise known as the ‘fun police’ as he barks whenever too much fun is being had in the house!

Chantell has been practicing at SDY for ‘1 glorious year’ and loves everything about it because it feels like home! She loves the chill vibe, being with the community, practicing next to her people, making new connections and the support and encouragement we all show one another! You’ll mostly see Chantell practicing in the morning or at noon, though sometimes she likes to have a ‘lazy morning’ and show up later in the afternoon. About a month into her practice at SDY, Chantell mentioned to Nick that if we were looking to hire someone, she would like to be considered. Shortly after, she showed up at SDY for the first interview she has ever gone to in yoga pants!

Since starting her yoga practice, Chantell is more connected to herself and in-tune with her thoughts and feelings. She has become more ‘heart centered’ and open with herself and those around her. Life flows much more smoothly for her this way! She has also learned that she is enough, just as she is. She is doing her best on and off the mat…everyday is different and that is ok! Chantell has participated in our 40 Days to Personal Revolution program twice because she loves getting to know people and getting REAL! She has also completed our Connect: Assistant Program and has discovered that assisting is her new favorite thing! Chantell is now enrolled for our next Light Up! Teacher Empowerment Program beginning in October! She is excited for the program and just KNEW that it was time for her to take this next step. Chantell’s advice for anyone considering the program…“Don’t think, just do!” If your heart is nudging you in a certain direction…GO! Your heart is never wrong.

We appreciate ALL that Chantell does for our SDY community! She is the friendly face you first see when you come in, the excited assistant who can’t wait to see what you can do and just an all around amazing woman!

LEARN YOGA: Modifications for Back Injuries


Don’t let a back injury take you away from your yoga practice. You can use your yoga practice as a way to heal your back by creating stability in your core through safely modifying your poses.

The video below goes over three different ways that you can modify your chaturanga (high to low push up) so that you can consciously create strength in your core while protecting your back.

  1. Skip chaturanga, hold plank pose instead and then press directly back to downward facing dog from your plank position.
  2. Drop your knees as you lower to the ground. Come into cobra pose instead of upward dog. Press back to your hands and knees and then into downward facing dog.
  3. Without dropping your knees, lower all the way to your belly. Come into cobra pose. Press back to downward facing dog.


At Spotted Dog Yoga in Folsom, CA we teach the “Journey Into Power” sequence as discovered and designed by Baron Baptiste, founder of the Baptiste Yoga Institute.

Learn YOGA! Sign up for SDY’s 3 week beginner series “Learn Yoga!” The next session begins on August 15th!