10 Gentle Yoga Stretches For Beginners For Head To Toe Flexibility

Increase your flexibility fast with these 10 gentle yoga stretches for beginners that you can do in 5-10 minutes a day.

These basic yoga stretches for beginners will open up your entire body stretching your muscles and increasing blood flow.

Although yoga is in essence a spiritual practice, yoga for many of us is also a way to improve one’s physical conditioning.

When we think about people that do yoga we instantly think, highly flexible, mobile and supple. With that image in our head of someone bending into positions that make you wonder how is that possible.

Beautiful yoga stretches for beginners.

How did she even get to that position?

While some people are naturally better suited to yoga than others, such as that hypermobile friend we all have who is freakishly bendy, yoga is great for developing flexibility.

Yoga is the ideal practice for beginners to improve flexibility and a lot of the basic beginner poses are stretches or require a degree of flexibility to get into the poses.

Yoga is commonly just a series of well put together stretches and poses that anybody can do with a little modification here and there

When it comes to improving your flexibility, the more you practice these beginner yoga stretches the better you will become at doing them, you will get stronger more flexible and more confident.

The more that you can make time do these gentle yoga stretches for beginners, the quicker you will improve your flexibility and nail that downward facing dog pose.

Woman doing a gentle yoga stretch.

Yoga offers a gentle way yon stretch your body. You can use these beginner yoga stretches to gently push your body through its range of motion, you do want to be in some discomfort when stretching but not so much that it hurts.

To begin, start with 10 minutes every 1-2 days increasing to once every day if you want to see noticeable improvements in your flexibility.

You may also want to try these basic yoga stretches throughout your day, you dont have to do them as a routine. When you have a few minutes spare during the day and want to have a short break try a pose or two.

The more you can stretch the better.

To begin, hold each Yoga stretch for 30 seconds, with the aim of holding each pose for 60 seconds. Some add on 10 seconds each day until you reach the 60 second mark.

10 Gentle Yoga stretches for beginners

Do these yoga stretches for beginners one after the other once though in the morning as you begin your day or to relax before bed.

Hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds

  • Happy baby pose
  • Reverse pigeon pose
  • Head to knee forward bend pose
  • Bound angle pose
  • Marichi’s pose
  • Child pose
  • Cobra pose
  • Cat cow pose
  • Downward facing dog pose
  • Cat cow face pose

How to do these yoga stretches for beginners

Learn how to do each of the yoga poses below to rapidly improve all-round flexibility. Do them in this sequence for maximal benefit.

Happy Baby pose

Happy baby pose is a great beginner yoga stretch for your lower back and inner thigh muscles whilst setting you up nicely for downward facing dog and child’s pose.

Muscles Stretched: Hamstings, Inner Thigh, Inner Groin, Erector Spinae

How to do Happy Baby pose: to do baby pose, simply la on your back, exhale and bring your knees into your chest, taking hold of your feet. As you inhale pull your feet in and bring your knees up towards your armpits. Have your knees slightly wider than your hips so the can move to the outside of your body slightly.

Gently push your feet upwards as you pull your hands downwards to create some tension.

Reverse pigeon/ Eye Of The Needle Pose

This gentle Yoga stretch for beginners is a great stretch for your hamstrings and glutes.

Muscles Stretched: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Erector Spinae

How to do Reverse Pigeon pose: from baby pose, take your left leg and place left foot/ankle onto the top of your right knee. Reach through and take hold of your right leg. If you cannot reach you can use a towel or strap to hold on to. Gently pull your right leg towards you as you feel your left glute stretch.

Hold for 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the other side

Head to knee forward bend

The head to knee forward bend is a simpler alternative to the seated forward bend pose which allows you to reach slightly further and is a great beginner yoga stretch.

Don’t worry if you can’t actually get your head to your knee just yet, just focus on stretching your hamstring muscle on the back of your upper leg.

Muscles Stretched: Hamstrings, Calves.

How to do Head To Forward Bend pose: from reverse pigeon, sit up and place your right leg straight forward on the floor. Bend your left leg and place your left foot against your right knee/ inner thigh.

From here take a forward lean reaching both hands towards your right foot.

Ito increase the stretch you can use a towel or strap to pull yourself closer to your foot.  

Hold in position for 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the opposite leg.

Bound angle pose

Bound angle pose is a gentle stretch for your inner thigh muscles and is one of the best hip openers you can do.

Muscles Stretched: Adductors, Sartorius

How to do Bound Angle pose: from Head to knee forward bend, take both feet and place your soles against one another. Pull your feet in towards your pelvis.

Sitting with a good posture, head held high, back flat, chest out and shoulders down let your knees fall towards the floor a you feel your inner thigh muscles stretch.

You don’t need to force your knees down, just relax and let them fall natural. Relax and breath.

Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Marichi’s pose

This pose is a hip opener and twisting pose that will stretch your side muscles including your obliques and serratus muscles.

Muscles Stretched: Hamstrings, Sararus Anterior, Outer Thigh

How to do Marichi’s pose: Sit with your legs out straight, if you cant sit with your legs straight sit on a yoga block or cushion. From seated, pull your left leg in so that our heel comes close to our body. When you cannot maintain an upright position you have come far enough with your heel. As you get more flexible you will e able to bring your leg in closer.

Keeping your back upright, take your left arm up and behind you slightly and place it on the floor. Take your right arm and raise it bringing your elbow to your left knee.

Hold yourself in this pose for 30-60 seconds before switching to the other side.

Child pose

This is one of our favorite yoga stretches for beginners to stretch your large back muscles. It’s also a great restorative hip opening pose.

Muscles Stretched: Latissimus Dorsi, Glutes

How to do Childs pose: Start on all fours, bring your toes together and let your knees come wider than your hips. From here slowly drop your butt to your heels.

Reach your hands forward, shoulders down and rest your head on the floor or yoga block.

Rest here for 30-60 seconds.


cobra pose is a backward bend asana that helps to open your chest whilst we can modify it to stretch your abdominal muscles. It’s a great stretch for people who sit a lot.

Muscles Stretched: Abdominals, Deltoids, Pectorals.

How to do Cobra pose: to start lie down with feet together and hands by the side of your chest.

Lift from your chin, to your chest and then gently use your arms to lift your entire upper body up to stretch your abdominal muscles on the front of your belly.

Hold here for 30-60 seconds

Cat cow

Cat cow will help improve the flexibility of your spine. It’s actually two poses that you move between, cat and cow.

Muscles stretched: Erector Spinae, Abdominals as well as various muscles of the neck.

How to do the cat-cow pose: to do cat-cow pose, return to all fours (tabletop), wrists under shoulders, knees under hips.

Inhale and tilt your pelvis and lift your tailbone, draw your shoulders away from your ears and lift your chin up hold. On your exhale, tuck your tailbone under, draw your navel in and up, chin under towards your chest and hold.

Move between cat and cow on each breath nice and slowly for 30-60 seconds.

Downward facing dog

Downward facing dog is a beautiful pose that stretches your hamstrings, calves, upper back and spine. It’s a pose that is often used in yoga because it’s such a great stretch for the whole body.

Muscles Stretched: Hamstrings, Calves, Gluteus Maximus, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectorals, Deltoids.

How to do Downward Dog pose: Start in tabletop position and tuck your toes under so that you can push up onto your feet with your fingers spread.

From here lift your hips as high as you can up into the sky and take your gaze between your toes.

Press down and forward into your palms with a straight line from your hands to your tail bone. It’s okay if your heel doesn’t touch the ground yet. As you gain flexibility you can work on this.

Cow Face

Finally cow face pose, this is a pose that will stretch your muscles of your upper arm.

We are more focused on the stretching of your arm during this pose so sitting comfortably is important.

Muscles Stretched: Triceps, Latissimus Dorsi, Terres Minor, Deltoids, Subscapularis.

How to do Cow Face pose: For cow face sit up tall and take one hand up and over your head and place your hand on your upper back, now with your other hand go back and behind your body and try to reach it so that your fingertips meet. If you cannot interlink your fingers together you can use a towel or strap to do so.

You should fee a gentle stretch in your triceps muscle of the upper back of your arm.

Hold in position with good posture, head facing forwards for 30-60 seconds before changing to the other arm.

How To Increase Your Flexibility

Do these yoga stretches for beginners as a routine one after the other as a full 10-minute yoga sequence or break them up and do them on the go when you get a spare minute or so.

Increasing flexibility through doing these yoga stretches is achieved through being consistent and doing these stretches every day and multiple times a day for the fastest results.

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