Visit the Alphabetical listing of poses to find detailed instructions on how to perform a number of asanas which are safe and fun for kids.
The physical practise of yoga is founded upon numerous asanas referred to as poses or postures in English. Originally asanas served as stable postures for prolonged meditation. They have developed into an extensive repertoire of physical poses which help balance and tone the entire body. Each asana incorporates various parts and functions of the body including the muscles, metabolism, circulation, hormones, and internal organs. They purify and strengthen the body and focus the mind.
Contrary to popular perception, asana practise is not about how flexible or strong you are. It is about paying attention to how your body feels, how it moves, and about respecting who you are today while working to improve yourself for tomorrow.
Any asana has one of these common positions as a starting point.
Standing – supported on the soles of the feet
Sitting – supported on the base of the pelvis
Kneeling – supported on the knees, shins, and tops of feet
Supine – supported on the back surface of the body
Prone – supported on the front surface of the body
Related to the starting point is the base of support. This refers to the parts of the body which come in contact with the earth and on which the weight will rest. Standing poses, which use the anatomically efficient feet, legs and pelvis to support the body’s weight, are generally considered the foundation of asana practice (Mountain, Warrior). Arm Support poses, which employ the hands and arms to support weight, are structurally disadvantaged and are considered intermediate or advanced (Crocodile, Crow).
Asanas are further divided into sections depending on the movement created.
Forward bend – bending in a forward motion, from the hips, lengthening the back body
Back bend – bending backward, opening the front body
Twist – a twisting movement of the spine
Lateral bend – bending to one side, feeling the stretch in the side body
Yoga asanas are also useful when considering a specific body part, ailment or special need.