Yoga Postures With Names (20+ Best Poses)


Tree (Vrikshasana)

Benefits: Balance, groundedness

Entry…

  • Stand, feet parallel, weight centered over arches
  • Focus eyes on a point three or more feet in front of you
  • Balancing on left leg, draw right foot to the groin, inner thigh, knee, calf or ankle
  • Hands to prayer position against chest
  • Hands overhead in prayer or temple position

Hold…

  • Press right knee towards wall behind you
  • Breathe 
  • Elongate spine pressing down into foot, lifting torso and arms up

Exit…

  • Return hands to prayer
  • Release hands
  • Release foot
  • Repeat balancing on right leg 

Child (Garbhasana)

Benefits: Integration. Pause between postures
Entry…

  • Sit on your heels, hands relaxed on your thighs (ok to place a pillow between heels and buttocks)
  • Exhale and fold forward placing abdomen and chest on your thighs
  • Rest your forehead on the floor
  • Arms at your sides, in front or under forehead

Hold…

  • Relax
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Lift trunk back to vertical
  • Return hands to thighs

Cobra [Modified] (Bhujangasana)

Benefits: Strengthen back and upper body

Entry…

  • On hands and knees with hands shoulder width apart, knees hip width apart (tabletop position)
  • Press firmly into hands, let the belly sink towards floor and lift torso
  • Hands are directly under shoulders
  • Look upward

Hold…

  • Press hands firmly into floor, elongate neck 
  • Press  shoulders back, down and relax
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Bring hips towards heels in Child (counter stretch)
  • Breathe 
  • Return to tabletop

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)

Benefits: Stretch and lengthen spine, back of legs, upper body

Entry…

  • On hands and knees with hands shoulder width apart, knees hip width apart (table top position)
  • Curl toes under
  • Press firmly into hands and feet, lift buttocks toward the ceiling
  • Press heels toward floor

Hold…

  • Straight arms and legs. Feel stretch behind knees, calves, upper body
  • Widen or narrow distance between arms and legs for comfort
  • Fingers spread wide
  • Continue actively lifting buttocks
  • Draw belly toward spine 
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Return to table top

Upward Dog (Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana)

Benefits: Strengthen back, upper body, abdominals

Entry…

  • From Downward Dog very slowly let belly sink toward floor
  • Lift head and shoulders toward ceiling
  • Straighten arms 
  • Support body with toes and hands

Hold…

  • Press hands firmly into floor, elongate neck, gaze at ceiling
  • Relax shoulders
  • OK to lower knees to ground-Modified Cobra 
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Return to Downward Dog 

    -OR-
  • Child (release knees to floor, place abdomen on thighs, forehead on floor, arms at your side) 

Wind Relieving Pose (Pavana Muktasana)

Benefits: Stimulates digestion, abdominal organs 

Entry…

  • Lie on your back, legs straight, feet together
  • Exhale, draw right knee toward chest (grasp kneecap or back of thigh)
  • Flex toes of extended leg toward chest

Hold…

  • Breathe long, even deep breaths
  • Repeat drawing left knee to chest

Exit…

  • Draw both knees to the chest
  • Release legs to the floor

Knee Down Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Benefits: Elongates spine, increases oxygen, blood flow
Entry…

  • Lie on your back, legs straight, arms in “T” position
  • Place right foot on left knee
  • Press right knee toward left
  • Assist with left hand on right knee
  • Look toward right fingertips

Hold…

  • Keep shoulders on floor
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Release hand and knee, straighten legs
  • Repeat on opposite side

Six Movements of the Spine

  1. Dog and Cat: forward, backward
  2. Thread the Needle: twist right and left

Benefits: Warms up spine through full range of motion
Entry…

  • Tabletop position (hands under shoulders, knees under hips)

         Dog: 

  • Lift tailbone, lift head, allow belly to sink toward floor

         Cat: 

  • Tuck tailbone under, bring head toward chest
  • Press firmly into hands and knees arching back
  • Return to Tabletop 

         Puppy: 

  • Press right ear toward right shoulder
  • Press right hip toward right shoulder
  • Repeat on left side
  • Return to Tabletop 

         Thread the Needle: 

  • Slide right hand through the space between left shoulder
  • and knee creating gentle twist
  • Balance on right shoulder and back of head
  • Raise left arm to ceiling 
  • Rotate arm three or more times in each direction
  • Return to Tabletop
  • Repeat threading the needle on left side 

Hold…

  • Take at least three deep breaths during each segment

Exit…

  • Return to Tabletop or Child

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Benefits: Elongates spine, stretches, tones entire torso
Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Inhale arms sideways overhead
  • Hands in temple position

         Right Side: 

  • Lift, elongate and arch torso to the right
  • Press feet firmly to floor
  • Press left shoulder back, keep chest lifted
  • Inhale to center

         Left Side: 

  • Lift, elongate and arch torso to left 
  • Press feet firmly to floor
  • Press right shoulder back, keep chest lifted
  • Inhale to center

Hold…

  • Breathe at least three breaths on each side
  • Keep arms straight, chin lifted

Exit…

  • Exhale arms to sides

Standing Angle (Dandayama Konasana)

Benefits: Stretches inner thighs, helps relieve sciatica
Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Inhale arms to the side and overhead 
  • Exhale, step wide to right, arms in “T”
  • Widen stance as far as comfortable
  • Angle feet inward about 10-20 degrees
  • Bend forward at hips, back straight
  • Let gravity bring head towards floor
  • Grasp calves, ankles or sides of feet

Hold…

  • Legs straight
  • Breathe long, even deep breaths

Exit…

  • Release hands to thighs
  • Raise torso parallel to floor 
  • Lower tailbone 
  • Press into feet, bring torso to standing
  • Inhale hands and feet together
  • Exhale hands to your side

Mountain (Tadasasana)

Benefits: Standing alignment

Entry…

  • Stand with feet parallel (imagine your feet create a rectangle)
  • Rock back and forth to balance weight on the arches
  • Press firmly into feet
  • Tighten quadriceps
  • Press tailbone slightly down and forward
  • Lift out of the waist
  • Press shoulders up, back then down and relax
  • Hands at your sides, fingers together pointing down
  • Lift out of the neck 
  • Chin parallel to floor
  • Press head toward ceiling

Hold…

  • Breathe fully and deeply 

Exit…

  • Release and relax

Palm Trees (Pranayama Exercise)

Benefits: Induces active deep breathing

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Inhale straight arms out to the side and overhead to the count of six
  • Exhale arms to your side to the count of six
  • Continue at least six times

Hold…

  • Deepen breathing by slowing arm movement
  • Press firmly into the feet 
  • Press out through the fingertips, keeping arms straight

Exit…

  • Return to Mountain
  • Release and relax

Triangle (Trikonasana)

Benefits: Open hips, strengthen lower body

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Inhale arms overhead, exhale and step wide about three or four feet
  • Arms to “T” 
  • Turn right foot forward to the right
  • Turn left foot inward about 45 degrees (align the heel of the forward foot with the instep of the rear foot)
  • Turn head forward 
  • Hinge forward at waist, pressing out through right hand
  • Press left hip (rear hip) back 
  • Feel right upper thigh engage
  • Windmill back of (forward) right hand to the calf or ankle, lift (rear) left hand toward ceiling, lift chest

Hold…

  • Gaze toward upward hand
  • Breathe fully and deeply
  • Press inner thighs towards each other for stability
  • Keep pressing rear hip back
  • OK to bend knees slightly
  • Return torso erect, arms to “T”
  • Return feet to forward
  • Repeat on other side

Exit…

  • Inhale arms and feet together
  • Exhale arms down into Mountain

Eagle (Garudasana)

Benefits: Balance, coordination, shoulder flexibility 

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Focus eyes on point about three feet ahead
  • Inhale arms overhead

          Right side: 

  • Exhale left hand under right bringing palms together, interlacing fingers
  • Rotate arms to left and right to warm up shoulders
  • Balance on right foot
  • Bend right knee and cross left knee over right 
  • Tuck left toes behind right calf
  • Straighten legs, stand

          Left side:  

  • Inhale arms over head
  • Exhale right hand under left 
  • Rotate arms to left and right to warm up shoulders
  • Balance on left foot
  • Bend left knee and cross right knee over left
  • Tuck right toes behind left calf

Hold…

  • Bend balancing knee deeper
  • Straighten back
  • Draw arms toward waist

Exit…

  • Inhale arms overhead, stand
  • Exhale arms down

Half Locust (Ardha Shalabhasana)

Benefits: Strengthen lower back
Entry…

  • Lie on belly, chin on floor
  • Feet together, legs extended
  • Place arms under the torso, palms down, hips resting on forearms
  • Right side: exhale, raise right leg
  • Lower right leg
  • Left side: exhale, raise left leg

Hold…

  • Keep both hipbones in contact with forearms
  • Point toe
  • Breathe long, full deep breaths

Exit…

  • Release leg and arms 
  • Place cheek on floor and relax 

Symbol of Yoga (Yoga Mudra)

Entry…

  • Sit on heels, knees together, hands on thighs
  • Elongate spine
  • Inhale straight arms forward to shoulder height
  • Exhale arms around behind you
  • Clasp hands firmly
  • Straighten arms, press hands away from buttocks
  • Hinge forward at hips, straight back, bringing forehead to floor
  • Pause
  • Come up onto knees and crown of the head

Hold…

  • Keep arms straight
  • Breathe long full deep breaths

Exit…

  • Return hips towards heels and forehead to the floor
  • Maintain straight arms
  • Return straight back to seated
  • Release arms, let them float back to the thighs

Boat (Navasana)

Entry…

  • Lie on your belly, chin on floor, feet together
  • Extend arms forward, shoulder-width apart
  • Place sides of hands (little fingers) on the floorFirst Lift:
  • Exhale, lift arms, head and shoulders
  • Elongate spine, press out through hands 
  • Release to floorSecond Lift:
  • Exhale, lift arms, head, shoulders and legs
  • Point toes, press out through hands
  • Release to floor
  • Third Lift:
  • Place hands, palms down, at 45 degree angle from sides
  • Exhale, lift arms, head, shoulders, legs

Hold…

  • Allow pelvis to press firmly into floor
  • Engage the muscles in the pelvic floor as you lift 
  • Breathe

Exit…

  • Release body to floor
  • Rest cheek on floor and relax

Half Shoulderstand (Ardha Sarvangasana)

Entry…

  • Lie on your back, knees bent
  • Arms at your sides, palms down
  • Press firmly into palms, swing legs toward forehead
  • Support hips with the hands

-OR-

  • Rock hips forward and backward using the momentum to lift hips
  • Support hips with the hands

Hold…

  • Feet together
  • Point toes

Exit…

  • Return hips to floor, arms to sides
  • Extend legs and relax

Lunge

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Bend forward, bending knees as needed
  • Place hands on floor next to feet

         Right side: 

  • Exhale, extend right leg behind, balancing on toe, or foot 
  • Return right leg between hands

         Left side: 

  • Exhale, extend left leg behind
  • Return left leg between hands

Hold…

  • Adjust stance so that the forward knee is directly over the ankle 
  • Allow groin to drop toward floor
  • Eyes gaze upward

Exit…

  • Slowly return to standing
  • Stand in Mountain

Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)

Benefits: Tones shoulders, abdominals, thighs

Entry…

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, hip width apart
  • Palms down at your sides

First Lift: 

  • Exhale, lift hips a few inches off the floor, pressing into feet
  • hands, shoulders
  • Release hips to floor slowly

Second lift: 

  • Exhale, lift hips, press belly toward the ceiling
  • Walk shoulder blades together, interlace hands into fists
  • Press firmly into feet, fists and shoulders

Hold…

  • Maintain knees hip width apart
  • Open chest by pressing belly and chest toward ceiling
  • Breathe long, full deep breaths

Exit…

  • Very slowly, release hands, lower hips to floor
  • Lie on your back, relax

Balancing Knee to Chest

Benefits: Balance, groundedness

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Focus eyes on a point about three feet ahead
  • Balance on left foot
  • Draw right knee up toward chest
  • Grasp kneecap

Hold…

  • Pull knee toward chest
  • Elongate spine, press into balancing foot 

Exit…

  • Release knee
  • Return to Mountain
  • Repeat balancing on right foot

Rag Doll

Benefits: Relaxes lower back

Entry…

  • Stand with feet parallel about two feet apart
  • Exhale, bend knees, fold forward at hips
  • Let gravity draw torso toward the floor

Hold…

  • Totally relax
  • Bent or straight knees
  • Let torso and arms dangle, or grasp elbows

Exit…

  • Keep knees bent, very slowly bring torso to standing

5 Pointed Star

Benefits: Whole body warm up stretch 

Entry…

  • Stand in Mountain
  • Inhale straight arms overhead, exhale and step wide about three feet 
  • Extend arms up and out to the side

Hold…

  • Extend out through fingertips
  • Press firmly into feet
  • Bend backwards slightly

Exit…

  • Inhale arms overhead, step feet together
  • Exhale arms to your sides
  • Stand in Mountain

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