Yoga is a very broad life practice that encompasses a range of different techniques that span across the domains of lifestyle, exercise, meditation, and nutrition. Each of these categories are further broken down into a number of different techniques and skill sets that help the yogi develop a healthy mind and body.
One of the most varied sets of yogic techniques are the asanas, or yoga poses. These are certainly the most popular aspect of yoga in the west – in fact, many western practitioners are unaware that yoga entails more than the asanas themselves.
Regardless, there are a huge number of yoga asanas, each which provides a number of benefits for the human body. In this article we’ll cover some of the various types of yoga asanas so you can learn which ones will benefit you.
Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
This pose, which involves bending backwards and planting your palms on the floor, results in your body appearing like a bridge. The pose is great for opening the hips, building strength in the spine, and opening the chest.
Bridge pose can also enhance spinal flexibility and can encourage the function of your thyroid.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog)
One of the most popular poses, downward dog has you bending forward at the hips, lending you the appearance of a stretching dog.
This pose is great for decompressing the spine, stretching and strengthening the hamstrings, and boosting arm strength. It also helps to bring blood and oxygen to the brain, which can be invigorating.
Balasana (Child Pose)
One of the most relaxing of asanas, child poses is a restful pose that is often used to serve as a gap between a series of asanas. It can also help to relieve tension in the neck, back, and hips.
Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Sitting with a straight back and your palms held together at your chest, easy pose is nothing complicated. It can still benefit, however, by helping to open the hips, reduce menstrual pain in women, and relax the body.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Warrior I is a fantastic pose for helping to open your chest, stretch out your legs, and bring relaxation to the body. Warrior I is a powerful strengthening pose that can help to work out and activate many areas in our body that we might not otherwise stretch during the day.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior II)
Warrior II is another fantastic pose that can help to improve strength in your legs and arms. It’s important to watch your breath during this pose, as the organs in your abdomen will become contracted.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Triangle pose is great for helping to enhance spinal flexibility and range of motion, and can help to reduce back pain. It can also help to encourage the alignment of your shoulders – given that you don’t forget to practice this pose on both sides, lest you only bring these benefits to half your body and become lopsided!
Chaturanga (Plank Pose)
The plank pose is great for building core strength, and can enhance balance to help you engage in other poses more easily.
Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
Tree pose is a relatively easy pose to maintain, but it’s not without its benefits. It’s particularly effective at improving balance, and can help to encourage good posture.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
This is a pretty tough posture for those who don’t have strong abdominals. With your legs and your back kept straight, you must maintain stability. This will do great things for improving your core strength and your balance.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Corpse pose, which is often performed at the end of a series of asanas, is a fundamental yoga pose. It helps to bring balance into a yogi’s mind and body, and allows for a mental and physical integration of the improvements gained from the day’s practice.
There are a lot of different asanas out there – far too many to list in a single article. However, we’ve listed some of the fundamental yoga asanas in this article. Hopefully this can encourage you to take the next step in your yoga practice!