Yoga Pose Glossary

A dictionary of the most practiced yoga poses

Boat (Ardha Navasana): A balance pose. Sit in Rod or Staff. Lean body back from base to a 30-degree angle and raise both legs straight out in front of the body. Hold hands behind your head.

Boat with Oars (Paripurna Navasana): A balance pose, similar to Boat posture. Extend arms straight to hold the knees while both legs are lifted.

Bow (Dhanurasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Bend knees and bring soles of feet up behind the body towards buttocks. Raise your head and chin off the floor and look straight ahead.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha): An inverted pose. Lie on your back. Bend knees close to the body, lift up the buttocks and curve the body. Place arms below the body to support the waist.

Butterfly: A warm-up pose. Sit on the floor with your spine straight. Bend your knees to the side and bring the soles of your feet together in front of your body.

Cat (Bidalasana): A warm-up pose. From a kneeling position, come up onto your hands and knees and flex/arch the spine and back upwards.

Child's Pose (Murha Januasana): A kneeling pose. Sit on your heels. Extend the body forward and place your forehead on the floor in front of your knees. Place your palms on the soles of your feet.

Cobbler (Baddha Konasana): A seated pose. It's similar to Butterfly posture, but the knees are pushed out to each side.

Cobra (Bhujangasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Bring your arms close to the sides of your body and bend the elbows. Raise the upper body off the floor with your palms.

Corpse (Savasana): A lying pose. Lie on your back, palms facing up and your eyes closed. Feet should be hip-width apart.

Crow (Kakasana): A balance pose. Squat down and place your arms between your knees. Use your palms to lift up on your toes.

Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana): A backbend. Kneel on the floor, similar to Cat pose, with your arms straight and palms facing down. Lift your head and buttocks. Bend your spine into a curve. The Downward-Facing Dog pose follows this pose.

Double Leg Raises: A lying pose. Lie down flat and straight. First lift both legs, and then lower both legs, keeping them straight.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): An inverted pose. Bend at the waist like a triangle by stretching the arms out in front of your body with palms touching the floor, while keeping the legs stretched out.

Easy Pose (Sukhasana): A seated pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Bring the knees in closer together and cross your legs in front of your body. Interlock your fingers and turn your palms out as you raise your arms above your head.

Eye Exercises: A warm-up pose. Roll your eyes in different directions. Rub your eyes with warm palms.

Final Corpse Pose: A finishing pose. Lie flat on the floor. Relax your head, shoulders, arms, chest, buttocks, legs and feet by raising them off the floor and slowly letting them drop.

Fish (Matsyasana): A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor in a straight line. Slide arms under the body and rest the palms below your buttocks. Push the front of your body forward and up.

Flank Stretch (Parsvakonasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart. Bend one knee at a 90-degree angle and stretch the opposite arm towards the same direction as the bent knee.

Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana): A seated pose. Sit with a straight spine. Extend your arms above your head and stretch your upper body towards your feet until your head touches your legs.

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 3 to 3.5-feet apart. Bring one arm straight down until it touches the floor. Extend the other arm and lift the other leg.

Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana): A twisted pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose with your feet under your buttocks. Bend one leg into the thigh and across the other leg tightly. Rotate your upper body opposite your bended leg. Extend both arms to shoulder level.

Hands to Feet Pose (Pada Hastasana): A standing pose. Stand straight with your feet together. Stretch your arms above your head. Bend forward until your face touches your legs and your hands can touch your toes.

Head Stand (Sirshasana): A balance pose. Stand upside down – with your head on the floor and legs extended towards the ceiling. Place your palms under your head.

Hero (Virasana): A seated pose. Kneel with a spine straight. Place the feet at either side of your buttocks. Sit between your feet.

Leg Pulls: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Bend one knee close to your thigh. Stretch the other leg straight out towards your head. Reach towards your toes with both hands.

Leg Reclining Lunge: A lying pose similar to Leg Pulls. Bend your knees close to your chest and reach towards your feet with both hands.

Leg to Side: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Hold one foot with the hand of the same side.

Leg up Wall (Viparita Karani): An inverted pose. Lie flat close to a wall. Place soles of your feet on the wall about hip-width apart.

Locust (Salabhasana): A backbend. Lie on your stomach. Raise both legs up behind the body.

Lotus (Padmasana): A seated pose. Sit with your spine straight. Cross both of your legs and place the soles of your feet face up on top of your thighs near your hips.

Lying Twist (Jathara Parivatanasana): A twist pose. Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms out at your sides, at shoulder level. Raise both legs straight up and rotate them towards one side.

Mountain (Tadasana): A standing pose. Stand straight with your feet together and flat on the floor. Fan out your toes so that your weight is even. Relax your shoulders and lift and rotate the thighs inward to open the front of your body.

Neck Exercises: A warm-up pose. Drop your head and slowly make a circle with your neck.

Pelvic Lift: A warm-up pose. Lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees and stand with the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Raise pelvis upwards off the floor.

Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana): A lying pose. Lie straight upside down. Bend elbows and place your palms on the floor at either side of your chest. Raise your body weight off the floor by pushing up with your palms and toes.

Plow (Halasana): An inverted pose. Lie flat on your back. Bend knees up onto your chest and raise your buttocks off the floor. Next bring your knees towards your forehead while keeping your legs straight.

Rod or Staff (Dandasana): A seated pose. Sit straight with your toes pointing upwards. Relax your arms at the sides of your body.

Sage Twist (Marichyasana): A twist yoga pose. Sitting straight on the floor, bend one leg across the other leg and twist your upper body close to the bended leg.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): A seated pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Extend your body forward. Flatten the back and bring your hands down to your feet.

Seated Spinal Twist (Maricyasana): A twist pose. Sit in Rod or Staff pose. Bend one leg into your thigh and rotate your upper body against the leg.

Seated-Wide Leg Forward Bend (Upavista Konasana): A seated pose. Sit and spread your legs wide apart. Keep your buttocks on the floor. Extend and stretch your body, bringing your abdomen, chest and chin down onto the floor between your legs.

Sideways Forward Bend (Parsvottanasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet 3 to 3.5-feet apart, turning your left foot in and your right foot out. Hands should rest on your hips. Rotate body to one side and bend the body forward at the groin until torso is parallel to the floor. Press your fingertips to the floor on either side of your foot.

Sideways Hand-Big Toe (Anantasana): A lying pose. Lie down and roll over on your right side. Bend your right arm at the elbow and support your head with your hand. Expend the opposite arm and leg up to the ceiling, holding your left toe.

Shoulder Lifts: A warm-up pose. Lift the shoulder and let it down gradually.

Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana): A balance pose. Lie down straight on the floor. Raise your legs and buttocks together towards the ceiling. Keep your spine straight. Place your palms behind your back.

Shoulder Stretches: A seated pose. Sit straight with your feet under your buttocks. Holding a strap in both hands, straighten your arms behind your back.

Simple Twist (Bharadvajasana): A twist pose. From kneeling position, rotate your upper body to one side. Keep one arm straight and hold it with the other.

Single Leg Raises: A lying pose. Lie flat on the floor. Raise one leg straight towards your head. Hold this leg with both hands and touch it to your chin.

Spread Leg Forward Fold (Upavista Konasana): A seated pose. Sitting, spread the legs as wide as possible. Lower your upper body down until it touches the floor between legs. Arms should be kept straight, close to your ears.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): A standing pose. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your body and arms forward until your hands touch your feet.

Standing Side Stretch (Ardha Chandrasana I): A standing pose. From Mountain pose, raise one arm against your ear and curve your body in the same direction.

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar): A warm-up pose. A series of 12 postures practiced in a flowing sequence:

  1. Mountain Pose: Stand straight with your feet together.
  2. Hands Up: Inhale and extend your arms up and arch the body back from the hips in a sweeping motion.
  3. Head to Knees: Bending at the waist touching the floor with your palms.
  4. Lunge: Inhale and extend the right leg (into a lunge).
  5. Plank: Then exhale and extend the left (into a plank).
  6. Stick: Next lower yourself into a push up position.
  7. Upward Dog: Arch your back, bend at the waist using your arms to lift your torso.
  8. Downward Facing Dog: Lift the hips, pushing back and up onto your feet with your hands still on the ground.
  9. Lunge: Resume a lunge.
  10. Head to Knees: Stand straight, bend at the waist and place palms on the floor.
  11. Hands Up: Inhale and stand straight, arching your back with arms extended.
  12. Mountain: Resume mountain pose to finish.

Swan (Hamsasana): A kneeling pose. Kneel and place the palms flat on the floor with the fingers pointed towards your toes. Bring the wrists and forearms together so that they touch. In the final position, all of your body weight will rest on the hands and toes.

Tree (Vrksasana): A standing pose. Stand in Mountain pose. Bend one knee up to your chest and raise your arms straight above your head, bringing the palms together.

Triangle (Trikonasana): A standing pose. Stand with feet 3 to 3.5 apart. Raise both arms to shoulder level, and then bring one hand down towards the floor.

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdha Mukha Svanasana): A backbend. Lie face-down on the floor. Use your palms to lift your upper body. Keep your arms straight and your face titled up and forward.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart and step back with one foot. Rotate your hips squarely forward and bend the front knee. Raise your arms above your head with palms touching.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart and step back with one foot. Rotate hips forward direction and bend the front knee. Extend both arms in front at shoulder level.

Wide-Leg Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana): A standing pose. Stand with feet 4 to 4.5-feet apart. Bend your body forward until your hands touch the floor. Keep elbows bent and bring your head down to the floor.

Wind Relieving (Vatayanasana): A balance pose. Lie flat on the floor. Bend one knee into your chest and hold the leg with both hands. Bring your chin down to your knee.

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