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.
Energetic Effect: Grounding & Balancing • Physical Effect: Flexibility
Energetic Effect: Uplifting & Opening • Physical Effect: Strength
Energetic Effect: Nurturing & Integrating • Physical Effect: Flexibility
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.
Energetic Effect: Energizing
Physical Effect: Strengthens Back & Core, Opens Chest
Energetic Effect: Invigorating
Physical Effect: Strengthens Arms & Legs
Energetic Effect: Stabilizing
Physical Effect: Strengthens Core Muscles
Energetic Effect: Calming
Physical Effect: Stretches hamstrings & back muscles
Energetic Effect: Surrendering
Physical Effect: Opens hips
Energetic Effect: Letting Go
Physical Effect: Stretches back muscles
Energetic Effect: Harmonizing • Physical Effect: Sides of Torso & Sides of Legs