Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, is one of the most commonly recognized yoga poses. The shape of the body resembles a stretching, arching cat. This pose is usually done as a partner to Cow Pose, as Cat Pose has the back high while Cow Pose has the back low.
Cow Pose, or Bitlasana, is a floor pose which is traditionally paired with Cat Pose. They are the mirrors of each other. Cow Pose shouldn’t be confused with Cow Face Pose. In Cow Face Pose, the legs and arms are all twisted together. In Cow Pose, you are simply on your hands and knees, your dangling abdomen representing the udder of a cow
Downward Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of the most recognizable yoga positions out there. It’s featured on countless magazine covers and yoga posters. This triangular form represents so much of what yoga has to offer. It’s accessible to most people. It brings calm and stress relief. It strengthens muscles. It builds flexibility. The pose name comes from the stretch that just about every dog lover has seen a thousand times.
The Extended Puppy Pose, or Uttana Shishosana, is a true restorative packet to the whole body as well as the mind. It provides a deep, deserved stretch to the muscles of the legs, the hips, the spine and genially opens the upper body at the same time. By doing so, it ultimately relaxes, destresses and calms the overworked mind, lowering blood pressure and facilitating healthy breathing.
Thread the Needle is a simple kneeling pose that provides relief for neck and back tension. It’s considered a variation of Child’s Pose (Balasana) with an added twist and a lift in the hips resembling Puppy Pose (Uttana Svanasana). It can be performed both as a static posture and as a dynamic flow sequence (see modifications).
Standing Forward Bend, or Uttanasana, is a well known yoga posture and a goal for many people who want to be able to touch their toes. It is normally used in a Sun Salutation sequence following Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the start of the sequence and repeated again after a Vinyasa. It doesn’t have to be a transitional pose, it can be practiced as a posture in its own right, too. It’s great for relaxing the spine and neck and opening through the back of the legs at the end of your day.
The Plank Pose is perhaps one of the most common poses outside of the yoga field. It is practiced by many people regardless of the type of sports they do. Phalakasana focuses on balancing your body using your arms. It is a great pose to tone your abdominal muscles, stretch the spine, and strengthen the arms. Plank is an essential component of Sun Salutations and is often used as a transitional pose.
Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is considered the foundation of all standing poses that offers multiple health benefits, including pain relief from sciatica. It is a great pose for beginners and can be used to transition into other poses. Tadasana can also be done by itself to improve posture and increase strength.
Upward Facing Dog is a name directly translated from Sanskrit (urdhva meaning up or upwards, mukha meaning face, svana or shvana meaning dog) and is referring to a stretch often observed in dog’s behaviour. In yoga, it’s often used as a deeper progression from Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) and sequenced as part of Sun Salutations.
While yoga is founded in peace, the name of this pose commemorates a spiritual warrior - someone strong, brave and not stepping down in the face of adversity. Warrior I is recognised as one of the foundational poses, practiced regularly in most yoga disciplines.
Boat Pose, or Paripurna Navasana, is a great pose for building balance while drawing in your full concentration. As you hold the position, you will strengthen every part of your core. A fairly strenuous pose, beginners will need to work on their balance before moving on to deeper variations.
Paschima is a Sanskrit term for the back of the whole body from head to heels, Paschimottanasana is therefore an intense stretch of the back of the body. It is achieved with a forward fold at the hip joint lengthening the legs and the crown of your head in the same direction. This gravity assisted fold is a wonderful opportunity to relax and unwind after a long day.
Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is a wonderfully relaxing pose which is part of most yoga routines as a moment to pause. Child’s Pose is about releasing yourself to the world and trusting that everything will be alright. It is a moment to simply breathe. The name comes from the relaxed sleep of a contented child.
Sphinx Pose is a variation of a Cobra backbend. In fact, its Sanskrit name translates to Supported Cobra Pose (“Salamba-” meaning with support, “-bhujanga” meaning snake or serpent). It’s a lovely alternative to deeper Cobra variations or Upward Facing Dog Pose for those who don’t want to load their lower spine too much.
Locust Pose, or Salabhasana, is a backbend of extra strengthening, stretching and mental benefits. First off, it lengthens the spine and the back, alleviating pain and tension in the area and promoting a healthier, more natural posture. At the same time, it strengthens the core as its muscles are needed to hold the balance. Improving the blood circulation in the whole body, the pose improves tissue oxygenation and hence calmness, better mood and mitigation of anxiety.
Bow Pose, or Dhanurasana, is a floor pose which builds flexibility throughout the entire body. It is one of the few poses that creates a full backward stretch in a supported way. In a world where we hunch over computers and phones, this back stretch is a critical counter-balance. The name of the pose comes from the shape of your body.
Rabbit Pose, or Sasangasana - also known as Hare Pose, is a truly gratifying forward fold yoga pose which puts an emphasis on flexing the spine, preventing pain and tension in the area. At the same time, it also stabilizes the core and the neck as well as stretches other muscles including the biceps and the triceps. Increasing the blood flow to the head, Rabbit Pose is a potent activator of the Crown Chakra and Vata, igniting new ideas and concepts. It is considered a significant intellectual stimulator.