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.
Asana is just the beginning
Asana practice is just the beginning of your yoga journey. Practicing yoga poses can boost your physical vitality, calm your mind and balance body’s systems, but the subtle yoga practices of mudra, bandha, pranayama, and meditation will take you even further to attaining the benefits and rewards of hatha yoga.
Tips for practicing yoga poses
1. Begin where you are, and set expectations accordingly.
2. Gather or purchase any yoga accessories and yoga props you might need.
3. Decide when, where, and how long you want to practice.
4. Create a clean and comfortable spot for your yoga practice.
5. Choose your yoga sequence or list of poses to practice.
6. Read and understand the instructions for each pose before attempting
7. If something is confusing or too difficult, seek advice from a yoga teacher.
8. Know your physical limits and listen to your body.
9. Always end with relaxation in Shavasana pose.
If you have not practiced yoga postures before, please read our yoga beginner’s guide.
Exploring the Asanas
Our comprehensive asana library will help you refine, support, and build your yoga practice. You will learn the pose level, category, and Sanskrit name and pronunciation. You will also receive clear step-by-step instructions, benefits, contraindications, modifications, and vinyasa suggestions for each yoga pose. A premium membership to YogaBasics will provide you access to additional yoga pose instructions.
How to use our yoga pose index
We have categorized our yoga poses into the main physical orientations (seated, standing, supine, and prone) to help you quickly find poses or discover new ones. Exploring these main categories will also be helpful with creating a yoga sequence as you will want to practice similar poses in your sequence. Our yoga pose index is further categorized into posture types based on the type and location of their primary movement.