Yoga Postures – 6 Most Common Poses

There are a variety of yoga postures, also referred to as asanas. In yoga, asana refers to the place a practitioner sits and the manner in which they sit. As of 2010, 900 yoga postures have been entered into a database known as the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.

In general, to perform asanas:

  • The stomach should be empty
  • Force should not be used
  • Breathing should be controlled

Here are few common yoga postures, varying in levels of difficulty.

1.    Akarna-dhanura-asana, or Shooting Bow Posture

This yoga pose requires flexibility of legs and hips, strength and balance. It is an intermediate level yoga pose.

  • Sit on the floor, legs together, straight out in front of you.  Back and head should be straight, with shoulders level.
  • Exhaling, reach down, keeping spine straight. Grip your toes with index and middle fingers, pulling toes toward the body.
  • Inhale, bend the right knee, picking your leg up off the floor, and placing your big toe in line with your ear.  Straighten your back as much as possible.
  • Hold pose for a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • Exhale and return to the seated position; repeat on the opposite side.

2.    Siddha-asana, Adept (or Accomplished) Pose

Siddah means accomplished, adept, or one who has attained the highest. This pose is recommended for concentration and meditation. It is a fairly simple yoga pose that is suitable for beginners.

  • Begin in a seated position.  Bend the left knee and grasp the left foot with both hands. Place the heel against the perineum and the sole of the foot next to the inside of the right thigh.
  • Exhaling, reach down, looping your forefinger of your right hand around the big toe of your right foot. Grasp your left foot with your left hand.
  • Next, bend the right knee, grasping the right foot with both hands. Place the outside edge of the right foot where the calf and thigh of the left leg meet.  The heel of your right foot should line up with your naval.
  • Place hands on knees, palms up and form a circle with thumb and forefinger. Extend the remaining fingers straight.

3.    Padma-asana, or Lotus Pose

The word padma is a Sanskrit word meaning lotus.  The legs are folded similarly to lotus petals. The difficulty of this pose depends on the flexibility of the legs and may cause knee pain in some individuals. It is not recommended for beginners.

  • Sit with legs stretched out in front.
  • Bending the right knee, grasp the right foot with both hands and place it on top of the left thigh. Bring the heel in as close as possible.
  • Bend the left knee and grasp the left foot in the same manner.
  • Knees should remain on the floor and the soles of the feet should point upward.
  • Hands can be placed with both palms up, resting on the heels of the feet, or palms down, resting on the knees.

4.    Sukh Asana, or the Easy Pose

With all the different types of yoga this, as the name implies, is an easy pose, making it a good choice for beginners. The Easy Pose improves concentration, calms the mind, and is ideal for meditation.

  • Sit comfortably on the floor.
  • Bend both knees, keeping waist, back and neck straight.
  • Place hands on knees.
  • Touch your index finger to your thumb and keep the other 3 fingers straight.
  • Hold the position as long as you are comfortable.

5.    Tada-asana, or The Mountain Pose

The Sanskrit word tada means mountain. This is an easy pose that’s great for beginners and promotes good posture.

  • Stand with feet touching from heel to toe. The back should be straight, arms pressed against the sides and palms facing inward toward the side of your thighs.
  • Slightly tighten the knees, thighs, stomach and buttock muscles while maintaining good posture.
  • Inhale through your nostrils and lift the buttocks.
  • Arch your back, thrust the abdomen forward and tilt your head as far back as possible.

6.    Vajra Asana, or Diamond Pose

Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond, and asana means posture. This Yoga pose is designed to make the body stronger.  This pose is also aids in digestion and, therefore, is one pose that can be done 5 to 15 minutes after eating. Most poses should be practiced on an empty stomach. Rhw Diamond Pose is not difficult and is good for beginners. Those with knee trouble may want to avoid this pose, however, as some orthopedic surgeons have claimed it to be harmful to the knees.

  • Bend the legs backward and sit on your knees.
  • Keep your heels apart and allow your buttocks to rest on your heels.
  • Keep the waist, neck and spine in a straight line.
  • Rest your hands on your knees, keeping elbows straight.
  • Look straight ahead, breathing normally.
  • Begin by holding the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and gradually increase the duration to up to 5 minutes.

This is just a handful of the many yoga postures, or poses.  The poses may have different names, depending on the instructor, or the class you take.

References

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Paul Sorrell

There are/were 8,600,000 yoga postures – one from every creature on the earth.

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