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Yoga Poses

Get Inspired with More Asana Choices!

Use this page when choosing poses to meet a condition or prerequisite, such as warming up shoulders, offering a restorative or choosing an arm balance. Or use it to build a class around a focus. Poses are categorized by anatomical focus plus Restorative and Yin Yoga.

Don't miss, also, the additional information in the left hand-column below. It includes an asana index by both English and Sankrit names plus considerations for additional meaningful ways of categorizing asana other than general body area.

For dozens of variations of poses plus Partner Poses, Hands-On Adjustments, and much more, see Membership.

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Asana Index

To see an index of asanas by both English and Sanskrit names, go here.You'll find not only a fairly long list to help you identify what you're looking for, you'll also find clarification on potential naming confusion, such as these:

  • Pose names used multiple ways – For example, Garbhasana refers sometimes to Extended Child's Pose and other times to an advanced Lotus variation.
  • Poses called by multiple names For example, some sources refer to Cross-Legged Seat as Sukhasana and others call it Swastikasana.

 More Ways to Classify Asana

Yoga postures can be classified according to the features that they resemble or seek to evoke... For me, this is an intriguing method of categorization. For these names imply that a change in posture can create a change in attitude and even elicit specific states of consciousness. Yogis have found that when asana are done properly they stimulate the quality that they are named for. Hero Pose (Virasana) done in the prescribed manner will promote feelings of courage, self-confidence and stamina. Lotus Pose (Padmasana) will generate an opening of the lotus petals of the subtle body's chakras, producing a feeling of emotional and spiritual expansion. – Mukunda Stiles, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy © 2007 pgs 91 & 92

Examples:

Animals
  • Bhujangasana - Cobra
  • Makarasana - Crocoile
  • Matsyasana - Fish
Sages
  • Siddhasana
  • Vasisthasana
  • Bharadvajasana
Qualities
  • Virabhadrasana - Warrior
  • Virasana - Hero
States of Life
  • Garbhasana - Fetal
  • Savasana - Corpse
Body Parts
  • Sarvangasana - All Limbs/Shoulderstand
  • Sirsasana - Headstand
Nature
  • Vrksasana - Tree
  • Padmasana - Lotus
Geometrical Figures
  • Trikonasana - Triangle
  • Chakrasana - Circle/Wheel

Mukunda Stiles goes on to classify asanas according to their primary effect. Examples:

Affects Spinal Column
  • Bhujangasana - Cobra
  • Dhanurasana - Bow
  • Salabhasana - Locust
  • Matsyasan - Fish
Addresses Muscles of Extremities
  • Gomukhasana - Cow Face
  • Garudasana - Eagle
  • Virabhadrasana - Warrior
Hollow Organs
  • Apanasana - Knees to Chest/Wind Freeing
  • Garbhasana - Fetal
  • Marichyasana twist
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord of Fishes
Endocrine Glands & Sense Organs
  • Sirsasana - Headstand
  • Viparita Karani - Inverted Action
  • Sarvangasana - Shoulderstand
Induces Relaxation
  • Garbhasana - Fetal
  • Savasana - Corpose
  • Makarasana - Crocodile
Promotes Meditation/Pranayama
  • Sukhasana - Easy
  • Siddhasana - Adept
  • Padmasana - Lotus
  • Vajrasana - Thunderbolt
  • Virasana - Hero

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Restorative postures are often considered the group of supported postures listed here. However, sometimes a pose or sequence may be called Restorative and include such poses as Apanasana or Supta Padangusthasana with strap. Members, see Restoratives Asana Digest for more information.

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