How many yoga positions do you know? Yoga is a widely practiced activity in the world because of its ability to reduce stress and improve health. It consists of a number of movements that its practitioners must know. To this end, most of them tend to refer to unreliable media and are often confused. Here are 27 must-do yoga positions to practice.
Basic yoga postures
These are the easy yoga postures for beginners.
The lotus posture
The lotus posture is still called Padmasana in Sanskrit and has its origins in the time of Vyasa. It strengthens the abdominal muscles, maintains the spine, promotes blood circulation and reduces anxiety. To perform it, the practitioner sits on the floor cross-legged, with the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. This asana helps to stimulate the kundalini and is often done at the beginning of a yoga session.
The cobra posture
The cobra posture is translated as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit and represents courage. It relieves abdominal and lumbar pain and strengthens the upper limbs. To practice it, the performer is lying on his stomach, feet together, head pulled backwards by taking support on the forearms. The position can be maintained for 20 seconds and is not recommended in case of pregnancy, abdominal pain or hyperthyroidism. It has for variant the sphinx and stimulates the heart chakra.
The posture of the dog head down
This position is still called Adho Mukha Svansana and means “Face of the Dog”. It especially promotes the relief of spinal pain and good blood circulation. For its practice, the performer is on all fours, the knees are then taken off the ground, and the pelvis tilts forward. The upper limbs are stretched and the head bent forward under a long exhalation. It is possible to have someone accompany you to lift your pelvis or to lift one leg once in position. Discover our article dedicated to the head down dog.
The Warrior’s Posture II
It is called Virabhadrasana in reference to the warrior fathered by Shiva. Its practice favors the development of upper limb muscles, abdominal muscles and mental balance. The performer stands with his right foot facing forward and making a 90° angle with his knee. The left foot is drawn back and the arms are stretched out on either side of the body in a slow exhale. The posture stimulates the Anahata chakra and can be performed for one minute.
Let’s not forget the famous posture of the corpse: SHAVASANA, lying posture to finish all the yoga practices no matter the level of the yoga positions realized during the course.
The pincer posture
The pincer posture is still called Paschimottanasana which means “Lying in the West”. As benefits, it reduces anxiety, stimulates the liver, pancreas and kidneys. To perform it, the practitioner is sitting on the ground with his lower limbs stretched. The head rests on the knees and the arms are directed towards the legs. The position lasts 30 seconds and is not recommended in case of hernia or kidney pain. This posture is known to stimulate the root and Maladhara chakras.
The twisted posture of the spine
It comes from the Sanskrit name Supta Matsyendrasa which means “Lying on the back”. This posture reduces tension in the spine, improves digestion and calms the mind. In addition, it helps to stimulate the Sadisthana. To practice it, the performer is in a supine position, with his arms spread on each side. His right knee should be bent and brought to the left side. He must turn his head to the right side. The posture lasts 2 minutes and is not recommended in case of herniated disc, joint or abdominal pain. It is important to note that this posture can also be done with a chair
The fish posture
Still known as Matsyaasana which means “Lord of the Fishes”, the fish pose helps relieve lower back pain. It also improves blood flow and facilitates breathing. To practice it, the performer lies down, the palms of the hands are under the buttocks and turned towards the ground. The chest is then lifted on exhalation and the head directed backwards for 30 seconds. This position is not recommended for pregnant women, people with high blood pressure or neck pain.
The posture of the mountain
The mountain posture is translated as “Tad-asana” in Sanskrit. It releases physical tension and improves concentration. To perform it, the practitioner stands with palms facing forward and shoulders slightly stretched downwards. This position is done at the beginning of the session and stimulates the Prana chakra.
The child’s posture
The child’spose is also called Balasana. It relieves migraines, reduces stress and fatigue. To practice it, the performer puts his buttocks on his heels, the head is maintained between the arms on the ground. The position is forbidden in case of fragility of the knee joint and stimulates the Root chakra.
Discover 5 other yoga postures to start with in this post .
Intermediate yoga postures
These are the positions to know to better evolve in the practice of yoga.
The posture of the plough
Still called Chakrasana in reference to the wheel, it strengthens the shoulders, arms, back and self-confidence. To realize it, the practitioner is lying on the back, arms along the body, legs are swung backwards while breathing in. It is not recommended in cases of scoliosis, herniated discs or shoulder problems. The plow posture develops the Manipura chakra.
The posture of the camel
Still called Utrasana, it stretches the abdominal muscles and stimulates the digestive organs. It is not recommended in case of abdominal pain, sciatica or exaggerated lordosis. To practice it, the performer is kneeling on the floor, arms are swinging backwards and touching the heels. It can also be done with blocks to facilitate the bending and allows to work on the Vishuddha chakra.
The candle posture
The candle posture comes from hatha yoga and is also called Sarvangasana. It is recommended to improve shoulder flexibility, thyroid function and spine. To reproduce this position, the performer lies on his back, the legs are sent in the air and maintained by the hands at the level of the hips. It is recommended to perform this posture for at least one minute. This posture is prohibited for people with heart problems and pregnant women.
The half-bridge posture
The half-bridge posture is called Ardha-setu-bandhasana. It facilitates digestion, strengthens the lungs and allows a good relaxation. To perform it, the practitioner lies on his back. The knees are bent and the arms by the side of the body, the trunk is raised and the performer must lean on the forearms. The position is not recommended in case of pregnancy, shoulder injury and sciatic pain. It stimulates the chakra at the coccyx.
The grasshopper posture
Still called Salabhasana, it allows to massage the internal organs and is forbidden in case of pregnancy, asthma, and heart problems. In the execution, the practitioner is lying on his stomach, arms along the body. The legs are then lifted and held for 10 seconds. The grasshopper posture stimulates the Swadhisthana chakra.
The toad posture
It is still called Mandukasana which means rebirth. This position allows a better functioning of the excretory and digestive systems. To execute it, the practitioner is on all fours, the arms are put between the thighs. The head is inverted backwards and the legs stretched while breathing in. Mandukasana is not recommended in case of hernia, hyperthyroidism and joint problems.
The posture of the tree
The tree pose is also called Vrikshasana and signifies the balance between heaven and earth. It stimulates the concentration and the digestive organs. In practice, the performer stands with one foot placed on the opposite thigh and hands clasped above the skull. It is important to note that this posture is not recommended if you have foot or knee injuries.
The posture of the eagle
The eagle posture is also called Garuda which means “King of the birds”. Its benefits include reducing cramps, improving concentration and developing balance. In the mountain pose, the practitioner wraps his left foot around the right foot. The right arm is also wrapped around the left for 30 seconds. Garuda is not recommended for knee or ankle problems.
The posture of the boat
The boat posture is also called Paripurna-navasana which means “Plenitude”. It helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, stimulates alertness and relaxes the body. To practice it, the performer sits with his legs stretched. He lifts his feet and arms simultaneously with the palms of his hands together. This position is not recommended in case of pregnancy, hemorrhoids and hernia.
Advanced yoga postures
They are usually studied during sessions with experienced yoga practitioners.
The bow posture
Still known as Dhanura, which means “physical strength”, it allows to soften the spine and to regulate the blood system. To reproduce this position, the practitioner lies on his stomach with his arms at his sides. The knees are bent and brought towards the back and the ankles are caught with the hands from behind. The position is not recommended in case of pregnancy, hernia and back injuries. It can also be done standing.
The scorpion posture
The scorpion posture is also called Vrischikasana in reference to the scorpion’s tail that it reminds us of. Among its benefits, we cite the strengthening of the arms and lower limbs. To succeed, the practitioner must balance on his forearms, the legs are in the air and the head turned downwards. The feet are brought back as much as possible towards the head and the knees tightened. It is possible to use a wall for balance. Please note that Vrischikasana is not recommended in case of hip fracture.
The posture on the head
Still called Sirsasana It relieves headaches and strengthens the capacity of the lungs. To practice it, the performer must put his head on the ground, take support on his forearms and raise his hind limbs. Moreover, it can be practiced with the legs spread to promote the stimulation of Mahakonasana. The position is not recommended in case of neck trauma.
The peacock pose
The peacock pose is also called Mayurasana in reference to elegance. It strengthens the back muscles, improves concentration and balance. To perform it, the practitioner gets on all fours on the floor. The palms of the hands are facing forward and serve as a support to lift the whole body. This position is not recommended if you have hand or wrist problems.
The posture of the painful ears
It is still called Karnapidasana in Sanskrit and allows to stretch the whole body to unblock the Vishddha, Manipura and Svadisthana chakras. To perform it, the practitioner lies on his back. The legs are sent towards the head which will be included between the thighs. The arms are stretched out to hold the feet in position. Karnapidasana is not recommended in case of diarrhea, painful periods or injury.
The triangle posture
The triangle posture is also called Trikonasana which means “Stretched Triangle”. It relieves abdominal pain, reduces stress and makes the spine more flexible. To perform it, the practitioner stands with his legs spread. The left arm is brought towards the left foot and the right arm is stretched towards the sky. The head is always turned to the side of the raised arm.
The pigeon posture
The pigeon posture is also called Kapotasana in Sanskrit. It keeps the body upright, stimulates the internal organs and reduces fatigue. To perform it, the practitioner sits on the ground and sends his left leg backwards, the second leg is bent. The hands are placed on each side to provide support. This position stimulates the Maladhara and Svadisthana chakras.
The turtle posture
The turtle pose is also called Kurmasana and is recommended for improving physiological and spiritual health. To perform it, the performer sits on the ground with the soles of the feet together. The arms and head are brought forward over the legs and held for 30 seconds. Kurmasana unblocks the Muladhera and Swadhistana chakras.
Head to Knee Posture
The head to knee posture is also called Janu sirsasana and is ideal for relaxing the muscles of the lower back. It also helps develop the chest and lungs. To practice it, the performer takes the posture of the stick, the sole of the left foot is in contact with the right thigh. The head is placed on the right knee and the hands hold the right foot in extension.
In short, yoga asanas allow you to stimulate specific chakras in order to achieve spiritual balance. You have the possibility of better succeeding them by consulting some photos describing these postures above. It also allows you to discover other variations andlearn more about their benefits.
If you want to know the origin of the asanas read this article.