What are Yoga Poses or Yoga Asanas?
A yoga pose, also called ‘yoga asanas’, is a posture or position of the body. These poses vary in difficulty and intensity, ranging from relaxing and easy to very challenging and hard. You will find here a good account of the topic What are yoga poses or yoga asanas?
Whether you are an advanced yogi who practices daily or new to yoga, each time you step onto your mat, it’s beneficial to have some guidelines to follow.
There are many styles of yoga and even within the same style of yoga, classes can include poses that range from gentle and restorative, or dynamic and challenging. Once you learn the basics of how to build a sequence, an entire world of creative variation makes itself available!
This page talks about what a yoga pose is and what asanas look like. It will provide general details about specific types of asanas including standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists, arm balances, inversions, and many more.
Following are the types of yoga asanas:
Tadasana is a great posture to strengthen the thighs, knees, and ankles. It improves posture, reduces flat feet, and strengthens abdominal muscles. It relieves sciatica and helps reduce obesity. One of the ways Tadasana is different from other yoga poses is that it can be done anytime due to its simplicity. Don’t force your body into this, pose ease yourself into it gently and slowly without straining.
02. Ardha Chandrasana
Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose, is a standing yoga posture that combines balancing and strengthening of the legs, working of the core & shoulders, and stretching of the spine. With instructions on how to do Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) pose with images, steps & benefits.
Balasana, also known as child’s pose, is a beginner-friendly position that’s commonly used to help release tension in the lower back. It’s often performed as a resting pose at the end of an ashtanga sequence or between sequences. Balasana is typically practiced for 30 seconds to two minutes and can be repeated two times for maximum benefits.
Bhujangasana (cobra-like) is a yoga posture that looks like the body of a snake. It can effectively cure sciatica, blood pressure, and thyroid problems. Bhujangasana means cobra; “bhujanga” means snake in Sanskrit language. Actually, the appearance of the body while doing this asana resembles a raised hood of a snake called Cobra. Hence it is named as Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose.
Bhujangasana is performed by lying face down on the floor with your feet together and palms under your shoulders. Inhale as you lift your chest from the floor by pushing off the hands and top of your feet. Back bends are likely to be an uncomfortable yet essential component of any yoga practice. That’s because they open up the front of the body and provide a counter balance to all our forward bending.
For example, when we sit for long periods of time, our bodies tighten up in the front and compensate by over-stretching through our backs. The result is often back pain. Backbends help reestablish optimal flexibility in our bodies by increasing mobility in tight areas like the shoulders, chest, hips and low back.
Dhruvasana is also known as the Utkatasana. It is a seated position of Bhujangasana. Dhruvasana is performed by sitting in the Vajrasana posture and then trying to lie down on the floor with legs straight and still in the Vajrasana position. The hands are also kept on the ground along side of the sides body, palms facing upward.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘dhruva’ means firm or solid, and ‘dhruvasana’ means firm posture. In this pose your knees are supported by your hands, elbows are planted on the floor, and your body weight is on your abdomen. Given this distribution of weight, dhruvasana helps strengthen your shoulder muscular system.
Dhanurasana is the posture which resembles a bow. Hence it is named as Dhanurasana. Dhanura in Sanskrit means a bow. Dhanurasana improves the health of the spine and makes it more flexible and supple. The vertebral column or the backbone becomes supple and flexible.
The spinal nerves are stimulated, toned up, and strengthened.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) is an effective yogic practice for our entire body. The word Dhanurasana is derived from the Sanskrit, Dhanu means bow and asana means posture.
Hastapadasana, also known as Standing Forward Bend Pose, is a great beginning yoga pose to learn. It’s an inversion, a forward bend, and a hamstring stretch all-in-one pose that can be performed as part of your daily routine or as part of a larger yoga sequence. It’s also a good one to include in your practice if you’re looking to relieve stress – all the softening of the body reflects the melting away of tension.
It offers several benefits for yoga students at all levels – beginners, intermediates, and those advanced in their yoga practice.
Halasana is a Corpse posture which rejuvenates and restores the nervous system. The posture has two steps in it. Initially, the body is made to lie down in a way as if we are going to do Shavasana. Expanding the legs slowly and shifting the body upside down in a way that our hands touch our feet is Halasana.
Halasana or plough pose helps to strengthen the muscles of your back, legs and abdominal organs. It also helps in improving digestion, treating varicose veins and insomnia. This asana if done regularly will improve your overall health.Janu Sirsasana
Janu Sirsasana is also known as Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, this simple seated forward fold has many benefits. The posture stretches the hamstrings and back while gently stimulating the kidneys, liver and abdominal organs. Janu Sirsasana tones and massages the internal organs while increasing circulation to the pelvic area and spine.
Additionally, it calms your brain and helps relieve mild depression, stress, anxiety and fatigue. The pose also increases energy levels and encourages a sense of grounding. It is good for better digestion, mental health, and fertility ( female ) too.
Kandasana is a well-known and widely practised advanced asana (yoga posture). Kanda means ball in Sanskrit, and asana means posture or seat. It is mentioned in many ancient yoga texts including Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Sritattvanidhi, Gheranda Samhita, and so on.
Kandasana is a variation of the vajrasana (thunderbolt pose). The Kandasana or Vajrasana or Yogic Supine is a yogic hatha yoga posture, often practiced during the yogic practice of pranayama. It has many health benefits and also helps one to gain mental focus and clarity.
Karnapidasana, which is actually a compound word constructed of two different Sanskrit words – karna and pida. The former word refers to the ‘ear’, while the latter refers to ‘pain’. Therefore, Karnapidasana can be loosely translated as the ‘Ear Pressure Pose’. It also goes by another name – Karnapitihasta Mudra, which basically means ear-squeezing gesture or posture.
Softening of the sternum is the key to this pose. Once you are able to soften through your chest and torso, this pose will literally flow off the body. Many practitioners find they warm up and open the front of their ribs nicely in a simple lunge or Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II). Inhale and exhale deeply into the right hip crease. Keep the length in your front torso, and firmly press the left thigh into the earth. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears, with your shoulder blades firm on your back torso as you lengthen up from your tailbone.”
Literally translated, Matsyasana means “fish pose.” It involves twisting motion at the waist, hence also called “half-spinal twist pose”.
This pose helps develop strength in your neck, shoulders and legs. Because Matsyasana lifts the diaphragm, it increases lung capacity and oxygen intake, which helps calm the mind. Because of these benefits, you can easily incorporate this pose into your meditation practice to focus on breath and surrender.
Beginners should perform this pose with the help of a yoga instructor at first to ensure proper form and alignment.
Navasna means not just lying in the bed, but also being very free and Spontaneous.
The Navasna represents the combined power, emotions and other motifs. ‘Navasan’ means nine postures.
The name Padmatsyasana is from Sanskrit, Padma = Lotus, utsya = risen above, asana = pose. ‘Pad’ means ‘head’, ‘mat’ means ‘lotus’, and ‘utsa’ means ‘upraised’.
The padmatsyasana, or the lotus seat, is an excellent asana to practice in order to relieve fatigue. This asana aids in improving posture, and strengthening the muscles of the body including the back, hips, knees and arms. It also helps regulate blood circulation and digestion.
Raktachomasane means blood purification. Rakthchomasane includes a series of pranayama, yoga asanas and breathing exercises to purify blood.
Raktachomasane are Vedic Purification Processes that makes use of prescribed food items (Dravyas), Mantras, Mudras and asanas to manage the entire gamut of diseases. It is a technique used in Ayurveda which aims to completely cleanse the body’s channels.
They are different types of raktamokshana processes but can be broadly classified as local or general. Local or localized treatment is for single/limited disorganization, where as general Raktamokshana is used for systemic cleansing and management of several diseases.
Some examples include ; Uro And Rasanubhandha : uro rakta shodhane mantram – astangahrdaya 1-37 varti bandhana – astangahrdaya 9-30 rinadhija raktajrumbitah – caraka samhita chikitsa sutra 31/8 dushtarasanihita sthanamastik – caraka samhita chikitsa sutra 30/78
Sarvangasana is a shoulder-stand posture that stretches and aligns the back of your body. While this asana can be seen by some as a backbend, it is actually performed upside down, inverting the body.
This means you may experience similar benefits to those felt during headstands and shoulder stands , with more of an emphasis on the upper back, chest and shoulders.
It is said that “anything that goes wrong with the body below the shoulders can be corrected by Sarvanga Asana.”
Simhasanam is a combination of two words where Simha means Lion and Asanam means Seat. Hence the complete word Simhasanam means seat on which one sits like a lion, in an easy relaxed posture. It is also a name of a God – Lord Vasudevaa(Srinivasa)
In it a person standing with the feet about one leg’s length apart and the arms straight out to the sides, with the arms parallel to the floor, bends sideways from the hips, stretching one arm down towards the floor and reaching up with the other hand towards the ceiling.
Pranamasanam, Trikonasanam and Pratyekabaddhapadmasanam are three important yoga asana that, embodied on the right side, give a person supreme intellect and happiness. They comfort the body, clear the mind (it is said that these asanas relieve the practitioner of all his sins), give him self-discipline and steadiness of mind. All this, if practiced regularly and meticulously.
Ushtrasanam, or the “camel pose”, is a special type of forward bend. It is an excellent posture for stretching the spine, shoulders, and neck. It also extends the legs and hips. The posture differs slightly from other forward bends, so it’s worth doing properly, and without strain.
Just bend the body backwards, then forwards. If you have time, do it slowly. Do it at least 10 times for each direction slowly. That’s Yoga Ushtrasanam, which means something located behind the navel. Science is science only when it is proven. Otherwise, it is superstition/belief/faith etc.
Virabhadrasana (Veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna, in Iyengar Yoga; often abbreviated as Virasana in other schools of yoga) is an asana dedicated to the mythical hero Virabhadra, a fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva, and is derived from the Sanskrit language.
Stability and balance are the two words that come to mind when you think of Virabhadrasan (“Warrior Pose”). This pose is an energetic pose which requires focus and alertness.
The Yoga posture of a tree is called the Vrikshasana. The meaning of “Vriksha” is a tree and the meaning of “asana” is a pose or posture.
It is also known as one foot in the neck pose. This posture is helpful in making the body stronger, balanced and flexible. With the help of this pose, all kinds of disorders from muscles to mind can be cured. Tree Pose or Vrikshasana also helps in strengthening the thighs, calves, ankles, as well as spine.
21. Savai Vrikhsitasan
Savai Vrikshasana (“head-knee pose of the monkey) or Savva means five. Vriksh means tree, this exercise is done with five trees.
In position the body resembles a Five and there are five movements to complete one round of the exercise. The entire spine is stretched in all directions, which improves your posture and makes you feel more energetic.
Regular practice produces a tremendous increase in height. It has a unique way of stretching the legs, hips, and back. Relaxation after practice is very important and can be performed on your back or stomach as per your convenience.
People who suffer from knee pain can also practice it because you don’t have to bend your knees at all while practicing this pose.
Savai Vrikhsitasan is one of the less important asanas, and it was not particularly mentioned in the old scriptures. Later, this asana was described by Kuvalayananda in his book and from there onwards only, it came into active practice.
Savai Vrikhsassis is also popularly known by other names like Yogic Forward Bend, Standing Straddle Forward Bend etc. This asana is a simple and beneficial asana for maintaining overall health of the practitioner.
Yoga Poses or Yoga Asanas are basically yoga moves that one can practice to gain different health benefits. Basically, there are 4 main types of Yoga Poses which includes Standing, Sitting, Supine, and Prone Positions. While every pose has its own meaning and interpretation, there are some common benefits that any asana offers.
Yoga asanas or poses are the foundation of any Yoga practice. Each of the basic positions or asanas have a specific effect on the body and mind. The whole purpose of practicing yoga is to maintain a healthy body and mind, become aware and in tune with your body, and maintain it in good shape for leading a happy life.