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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana II, is a natural continuation in the Warrior series, and can be used in a sequence as well as practised in isolation. It involves the majority of muscle groups and requires a lot of focus to get all the pose elements right.
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.
Eka pada rajakapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose or one-legged Pigeon Pose, offers an enjoyable backbend that stretches and strengthens key muscle groups in the body including the back, core, hips and legs. A seated pose, Pigeon Pose has many benefits including breath work and relieving Sciatica.
The term “Purva” in Sanskrit means eastern, and is used to refer to the front of the body, head to toes. “Purvottanasana” literally translates to “intense stretch of the front side of the body.” Its western name, Upward Plank Pose, refers to the similarities it shares with Plank Pose. It relies on the arms to keep the torso steady and lifted. It calls for a straight line from shoulders all the way down to the ankles, which in turn requires a lot of core strength.
Cow Face Pose, or Gomukhasana, has a similar name to Cow Pose, but the two are entirely different. Cow Face Pose is a twisting sitting pose where the hands are clasped behind the back. Cow Pose is done on all fours with the abdomen hanging low. Cow Face Pose got its name because the twisting legs look like a cow chewing its cud. This pose invites thoughtful contemplation, amidst all that twisting. Note that this pose does require a fair amount of flexibility, so be prepared to warm up or build up to this pose.
Fire Log Pose, or Agnistambhasana, is a pose which stretches and opens all of the lower body. It engages the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the glutes and the psoas, demanding the agility of all the joints. Moreover, it is a powerful stimulant of the Root Chakra, exerting self confidence and self awareness.
The Happy Baby Pose, or Ananda Balasana is a wonderful opportunity to give your back a proper, deep massage it has always needed. It relaxes the whole body and has a positive calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety. At the same time, muscles of the main body parts are being actively stretched and engaged.
Corpse Pose, or Savasana, is one of the simplest poses in the entire yoga repertoire. You simply lie on your back. But within that is a wealth of power. Interestingly, while many yoga teachers love to use Western names for most poses as they are easier to remember, many also use the Sanskrit name Savasana for this particular pose because they find the name “Corpse Pose” to be off-putting for Western audiences. The pose’s alternate name, Mrtasana, means “Death Pose” which is not much better. So Savasana it is.