The Complete Yoga Beginner’s Guide

If you’re interested in Yoga but don’t know where to start, then this article is exactly what you need. As an Isha Hatha Yoga teacher I’ve spent over 6 months in India learning the classical way to practice Yoga, under Sadhguru’s guidance. Yoga has completely transformed my life and the lives of many others, and today I want to show you how you can do the same.  By the end of this article you’ll know exactly what yoga postures to start with and how to get the maximum benefit out of yoga in your life.

Here are three practices designed by Sadhguru for beginners.  It is a combination of yoga postures, breathing technique and guided meditation.  This is an ideal way to introduce anyone to yoga and meditation.  Try it for a couple of days and experience the amazing benefits for yourself.

What are the best yoga practices for beginners?

Yoga for wellbeing – Yoga Namaskar

If you are sitting a lot throughout the day, Yoga Namaskar can help stretch and strengthen your spine in a big way. It is very effective and it will energize your system almost instantly.  This complete routine has only 7 steps. We will start with Yoga Namaskar for its simplicity and effectiveness.

Let me share with you a real life experience.  When my brother was in his late 20s, he played a lot of computer games. Not only did this habit affect his vision (eye strain) but it also affected the way he sat in his chair. His posture became compromised due to the long hours of computer gaming.  After a while he started walking around with a hunchback. It was so awful to see.

I taught him Yoga Namaskar to help get his posture back. During his initial practice, he experienced very intense pulls especially when he squatted down.  The practice started to correct his posture.  Despite the intensity, he continued with the practice every day.

After a week of practice, I noticed that he started to walk around with his chest up and his back straight. Somehow, he even looked taller.  I was really surprised to see the difference, especially since it was only one week after he started. He told me that he had so much energy after the practice that he even skipped his afternoon naps. 🙂

Learn Yoga Namaskar with Sadhguru:

Learning + guided practice: 11 minutes

Practice time: + 5 minutes (for 3 cycles)

Condition: Light stomach (1.5 hour after a meal)

Handy tips:

1, If your feet are not fully touching the ground when you squat down, you can use some cushions or blanket as a support.  Put the cushions or blanket on your yoga mat, step back on them when you squat down for step 4, step 5 and step 6. 

2, With the cushion support under your heels, even those with hernia can do this practice.

3, If for any reason, you are not able to squat down, you can also place a low chair behind you. Instead of doing step 4-6 squat, you can do them while you are seated.

3, You can increase the number of cycles according to your physical condition.  Start with a cycle of 3, and as your strength grows, you can gradually increase the cycle to the multiples of 3 (e.g. 6, 9, 12… etc.).

Yoga for Peace – Nadi Shuddi

This simple breathing technique helps to bring balance between the left and right energy channel. After doing it for just 4 – 5 minutes you can already notice a sense of calmness.  I always do Nadi Shuddhi before I start my yoga class.  The balance and calmness help me to prepare for the workshop.

A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine was going through some stressful events in her life.  Her condition was very unstable and she often had panic attacks.  When she asked me to help her, without any hesitation, I taught her the entire Upa-Yoga practice which includes Nadi Shuddhi.   She was very emotional during the session.  She told me that she had not felt this peaceful and relaxed in a long time.

A couple of weeks later she called me and told me something incredible had happened to her. She was driving on the highway and she had a panic attack again.  Normally it would end up in a completely chaotic and unmanageable situation for her. This time she pulled over at the side of the road and started doing Nadi Shuddhi.  She stayed in the car and focused all her attention on the breathing…  it calmed her down… After that she got on the road again and continued her way. She called me up because she was so proud of herself and she was very grateful for the practice.

Learn Nadi Shuddhi with Sadhguru:


Learning + guided practice: 10 minutes

Practice time: +5 minutes

Condition: Light stomach

Handy tips:

1,It is important that your nostrils are unblocked before you start with Nadi Shuddhi.  In case they are blocked, you can do some jogging to open your nostrils. Make sure you wait for your breath settles before you start with Nadi Shuddhi.

2, If you feel any stress or anxiety before a meeting or a presentation, you can find a quiet spot, sit quietly to do Nadi Shuddhi for 4-5 minutes.  This will help you to calm down before you enter the meeting room.

3, If you have more time, you can always do it longer for better results.

Meditation for beginner – Isha Kriya

Many participants who came to my Hatha Yoga class tell me that they have been following Sadhguru on YouTube and practice Isha Kriya meditation. It has brought an incredible amount of space between themselves and outside situations. They felt cocooned in their own inner space and less disturbed by what happened externally.

What they shared really resonated with me.  This is the first meditation I ever learned. Initially I did not quite get it. The existential truth is told within these two sentences: “I am not the body. I am not even the mind.” After experiencing the truth of those sentences first hand during one of the advanced yoga programs, the Isha Kriya practice became much more vivid and explosive.

Learn Isha Kriya with Sadhguru:

Learning + guided practice: 20 minutes

Practice time: 12 minutes

Condition: Light stomach

Handy tips:

1, You can download Sadhguru’s App or Isha Kriya App from the Appstore.  Follow Sadhguru’s audio throughout the meditation.  Use a headphone for a better sound quality.

2, Avoid doing the meditation after having a full meal or when you are too tired, otherwise you will tend to doze off.

How to plan your day for yoga practices?

Now that you have learned these three practices, you might wonder: “how can I derive the most benefits from these practices? ” Well you’re going to have to incorporate them into your daily life, which will take a little planning.  Here are some handy tips you can use to arrange your day for these practices:

Mornings or evenings yoga

If you like to get up early in the morning, it is a wonderful way to start your day. Have a shower first, then do Yoga Namaskar (3 or more cycles), followed by Nadi Shuddhi (4-5 minutes or longer depends on your schedule), then finish with Isha Kriya (12 minutes).  The total morning routine is about 25 minutes. An ideal way to start with your day.

If you prefer to do it in the evening, this is also a good way to relax from your daily activity. Have a shower and follow the same sequence for approximately 25 minutes of practice. Then get on with your evening activities.  This can be done before dinner or 1.5 hour after dinner (with a light stomach condition).

Yoga throughout the day

Each of these three practices is a “standalone practice”, which mean they can be done separately as well. You can spread them throughout the day if you are so inclined. For example, in the morning you do Yoga Namaskar (+5 minutes).  Around lunch time you can do Nadi Shuddhi (+5 minutes); in the evening you can do Isha Kriya (+12 minutes).  Or do it in any order you prefer.

If your daily schedule is quite hectic and you only have only short breaks here and there, then, this is a flexible way to support your day. You can pick and choose which one you would like to practice at a given moment.  Even though it is just 5 or 10 minutes of practice here or there, it can still make a big difference to your day.

Twice a day for 40 days

If you want to establish a steady routine, you can also do these three practices in the morning and evening for 40 days, i.e. twice a day. These 40 days are known as a mandala.  As your body goes through a physiological cycle, if you can follow this, you will receive the maximum benefit from this set of routines.

Handy tips:

Here Sadhguru has shared some more tips on how to set the right condition to do yoga at home:

https://isha.sadhguru.org/yoga/yoga-for-beginners/yoga-at-home/

What is the next step?

If you want to go a step further, you can also dedicate 90 minutes of your time to experience the full Isha Upa-Yoga practice by following this instruction video.  In addition to Yoga Namaskar you will also learn a few other practices which will help relax the joints, neck and shoulders. They are very supportive and relaxing after a long day of work.

After Upa-Yoga practice, you will naturally progress to the Hatha Yoga series or Inner Engineering program (including Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya).  There is no sequence in terms of which one to learn first. I always tell participants to follow their heart. Whichever one you are longing strongly for; you should just follow that.

Handy tips:

If you want to have some structured way to support your yoga practice, you can also follow the weekly free webinar from ishayoga.eu  They offer free online webinars every Tuesday (7CEST) and Saturday (5CEST).    They offer 9 different sessions. 

During each session you will learn one yoga practices from the Upa-Yoga series plus one guided meditation: Chit Shakti meditation for Health, Love, Peace, Health, and Success plus infinity meditation and food session. It is really an amazing free resource and they are conducted by trained Hatha Yoga teachers from Isha Foundation.

Here you can find the list of scheduled free online webinar by clicking here.

Did you find this article helpful to get you started? Have you already tried out these practices and online webinars? Let me know whether you like them and share your experience so far.