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.
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
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.
This pose, otherwise known as a Half Lift, is often included in a sun salutation sequence between a Standing Forward Bend and stepping back into Plank or Chaturanga. It’s usually performed on a breath in, as a chance to lengthen through the spine while staying folded.
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.
Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana, is a floor pose which gently stretches and flexes the body. Its head-up position is reminiscent of a cobra rising up off the ground. It brings flexibility and strength.
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.
Tree Pose, or Vrikshasana, is a one-legged standing balance. It’s suitable for practitioners of all levels due to its many available variations, and is often the first balance to be taught to complete beginners.
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.
Extended Triangle Pose (“Utthita” meaning extended, “tri” meaning three, “kon” meaning angle and “asana” meaning pose), often shortened to Triangle, is a combination of a side bend and twist, that brings the focus on hamstrings, chest and shoulders. It is often practiced as part of a Warrior sequence..
The Extended Side Angle Pose, or Utthita Parsvakonasana, is a position which does not only ground you and makes you more aware of your body, but it also strengthens it to its core. Being a strong activator of the Heart Chakra, the pose promotes free thinking, mindfulness and imagination. Naturally, it also gives a great stretch to the hamstrings, quadriceps, psoas as well as the upper body muscles.
The Lunge Pose, or Banarasana, is a beginner pose which allows one to focus as well as stretch the hips and multiple muscles of the legs. It stretches for instance the psoas, the quadriceps and the hamstrings, making them beautifully long and lean. Furthermore, the Lunge Pose increases one’s focus and concentration as it demands the practitioner to maintain a specific kind of balance and stay in control of one’s attention.
Staff pose, or Dandasana (“Danda-” meaning staff, “-asana” meaning pose), is an upright seated position that allows for the opening of the hamstrings, while simultaneously strengthening the back muscles. With modifications, it is accessible to complete beginners and people with mobility issues.
Bound Angle Pose, or Baddha Konasana, is a seated asana which nurtures relaxation and serenity. It stretches the inner thighs, hips and legs. There is no twisting or turning, balancing or struggling in this pose, it is about quiet peace and contemplation. This pose is also known as Cobbler’s Pose as shoemakers in India would sit this way while working.
Legs Up The Wall Pose, or Viparita Krani, is an inversion pose which means it exerts an excellent soothing effect on the nervous system. At the same time, it relaxes the upper body while stretching the quadriceps muscles and preventing vascular problems in the shins, promoting healthy blood flow.
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.