Yoga Postures

Asana is defined as “posture or pose;” its literal meaning is “seat.” Originally, there was only one asana–a stable and comfortable pose for prolonged seated meditation. More than just stretching and toning the physical body, the yoga poses open the nadis (energy channels) and chakras (psychic centers) of the body. Yoga poses also purify and help heal the body, as well as control, calm and focus the mind. If you have not practiced yoga postures before, please read our yoga beginner’s guide.

Yoga Pose Catagories

While there is no definitive way to categorize yoga postures, there are four main physical orientations that can be helpful for researching and sequencing asanas. In general, these groups of yoga poses will share similar energetic and physical effects.

Seated Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Grounding & Balancing • Physical Effect: Flexibility

Standing Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Uplifting & Opening • Physical Effect: Strength

Supine Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Nurturing & Integrating • Physical Effect: Flexibility

Bow • dhanurasana

Prone Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Energizing • Physical Effect: Back & Core Strength

Yoga Posture Types

The above main categories of yoga poses can also be categorized into the yoga pose types below. You can also filter by these posture types on the above main pose category pages.

Backbending Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Energizing
Physical Effect: Strengthens Back & Core, Opens Chest

Standing head to knee pose / Dandayamana Janu Sirsasana

Balancing Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Invigorating
Physical Effect: Strengthens Arms & Legs

Upward Boat / Paripurna navasana

Core Strength Poses

Energetic Effect: Stabilizing
Physical Effect: Strengthens Core Muscles

Half Pyramid • ardha parsvottanasana

Forward Bending Poses

Energetic Effect: Calming
Physical Effect: Stretches hamstrings & back muscles

extended supine hand to toe / utthita supta padangusthasana

Hip Opening Poses

Energetic Effect: Surrendering
Physical Effect: Opens hips

Twisting Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Letting Go
Physical Effect: Stretches back muscles

Side Bending Yoga Poses

Energetic Effect: Harmonizing • Physical Effect: Sides of Torso & Sides of Legs

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