Yoga is often overwhelming for that novice.
You trot down to the neighborhood library or Barnes & Noble, and pick up a book on the subject, and you see people twisting themselves into positions you never thought the human body capable of.
Even when you do find a book that supposedly has yoga pose for novices, all the pictures look absolutely impossible!
Especially for you.
You try one or two, and you cannot even get close to what’s shown in the pictures… or… even worse… you feel a sharp, stabbing pain that tells you that you have gone too far.
I am here to tell you that most of the time, anybody putting out a yoga book is going to try to look as good as possible… from a yoga standpoint, at least. They are going to show themselves in the final, perfect position, forgetting about what it was like for them to fall over while trying Warrior II position with the first time.
So, the first thing I want to tell you about yoga poses for novices… or overweight people, or old people, or people with specific problems, such as arthritis, is, don’t try to be perfect from the start.
Secondly, apply some common sense.
Just because a position such as the half-spinal twist, or Ardha-matsyendrasana (Learning the Sanskrit names for the various poses is a challenge in itself.) is, at some point in your practice, going to have benefits, just looking at a picture of it should tell you that you might not quite be ready for it!
Even an experienced yogin is probably going to do some sort of warm-up, in the form of easier poses and movements, before slipping casually into THAT position.
Finally, start with some of the more simple, and easier to perform, yoga poses.
Believe it or not, there are many benefits of simply doing such apparently easy asanas as Corpse Pose (Shavasana), or Child’s Pose (Balasana). In fact, some experienced in the practice consider Corpse Pose, where you lay flat on your back on the floor and breathe, as actually being MORE difficult than some others that may look more impressive… or scary!
While eventually, you will want to string some poses together to make a yoga routine, and your personal, satisfactory, fulfilling, and worthwhile routine may be different from every one else’s, it’s not a problem to start simply by learning and practicing a few yoga poses for novices as separate “exercises” before you eventually string them together into a complete routine.