When someone says “yoga”, what do you picture? Maybe a flowing sequence with a series of postures or perhaps a more complex flowing sequence that involves many postures. Ideally, you would like to have both in one sequence. In this article, we will discuss some of the most popular yoga postures and how they relate to yoga.
Why do we do certain yoga poses, and when are they helpful? These are questions that many runners, cyclists, and yoga enthusiasts are struggling to answer. The poses are classified into the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga, which means the poses are not just static but also represent a dynamic state of dynamic equilibrium, which is achieved through ‘asana.’
Yoga is a form of exercise that can help you relieve stress, control your weight, improve your breathing, and more. There are hundreds of yoga positions that you can do, depending on how you want to feel and look at the end of your day. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on the following yoga poses:
You’ve been practicing yoga for some time, maybe even teaching it, and you know almost all the names of the postures precisely….. even in Sanskrit. You know the difference between Warrior I and Warrior II, and your vinyasa is perfect.
But what do you know about the origins of these attitudes and the meaning of their names? Why do we do it? Here’s a look at four popular yoga poses and what they mean.
Mountain pose or Tadasana
There’s a lot more to this pose than meets the eye. In Sanskrit, this posture is commonly known as Tadasana – tada meaning mountain and asana meaning posture. But this pose has a different name: Samasthiti. Sama means standing, upright and unmoving, and sthiti means standing still in silence.
This attitude is supposed to evoke the peace, strength and power of the mountain. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, many of us don’t pay attention to the way we stand, resulting in us injuring or unbalancing our spine and hips.
By consciously standing in the mountain pose, with the knees, hips and torso balanced and weight evenly distributed on the feet, we create a lightness in the body that creates mobility in the mind. This posture allows you to root yourself, to anchor yourself in the earth, and to invite lasting energy into your body.
Child’s pose or Balasana
Child’s posture (bala), a posture that provides deep satisfaction after a long day or intensive yoga practice, is said to evoke a sense of security – similar to what we experienced as children, even before birth.
The child’s pose or Balasana consists of cultivating the childlike curiosity that we lose as adults. In a sense, we surrender to the earth and return to the depths of ourselves.
As Alanna Caivaglia says: This is one of the paradoxes of yoga philosophy: We must first remember our divine nature, and once we are anchored in it, we must forget it again to remain in the world.
Virabhadrasana II, named after the fearless warrior Virabhadra, who is said to have defeated his enemies with a thousand hands, is designed to channel strength and determination.
There are many different versions of the story behind the creation of this pose, but at its core, the philosophy behind it originated on the battlefield or after an epic battle. In this sense, we can look at the difficulties in our lives with the metaphor of the battlefield and use the strength of the warrior to persevere.
You’ve probably heard your yoga teacher say that this is the most important pose in class, and you may have greeted this with some skepticism. This pose is also known as mrtasana or corpse pose, and as lugubrious as it sounds, yes, the goal is to stay still.
By remaining perfectly still, without falling asleep, we can exist in complete awareness, (ideally) in total peace of mind and body, without the pressure of worldly problems. It allows us to reconnect with ourselves to understand ourselves deeply and become one with ourselves. This is the main purpose of yoga: to teach us about ourselves.
As Lao Tzu said, no thought, no action, no movement, total silence: this is the only way to manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and to ultimately become one with heaven and earth.
The next time you’re doing yoga, doing a pose and your mind wanders, try to focus on the intention of the pose. Let the name of the pose guide you, and go through the spirit of that name.
Whether it is the steadiness of a mountain, the strength of a warrior or the stillness of a corpse, the names of yoga postures have meaning. And if you want to dive into the process yourself, check out these yoga blogs to see how yoga students, enthusiasts and teachers around the world are making yoga a mainstay of their lifestyle. See how this helps you along and get inspired by the practice.
Photo credits: Drini AguilarYoga is a great way to help you relax and unplug, but it can also help you maintain your health. In fact, there are four yoga poses that not only help you relax, but they can be good for your overall health as well. These four poses are: Reclining Angle Pose, Seated Meditation Pose, Standing Meditation Pose and Headstand.. Read more about the meaning behind yoga and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the meanings of the yoga poses?
The poses are meant to help you relax and focus on your breath.
What are 4 examples of important yoga poses for beginners?
The four examples of important yoga poses for beginners are the following: 1. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 2. Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I) 3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) 4. Child’s Pose (Balasana) Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I) Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) Child’s Pose (Balasana)
What are the most common yoga poses?
The most common yoga poses are the following: 1. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 2. Plank pose (Vasisthasana) 3. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) 4. Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasanas II) 5. Triangle pose (Trikonasana) 6. Extended side angle pose or extended side angle stretch with a block (Utthita Parsvakonasana) 7. Extended side angle pose or extended side angle stretch with a strap (Utthita Parsvakonasana) 8. Standing forward bend pose or standing forward bend stretch with a strap (Uttanasana) 9. Standing backbend pose or standing backbend stretch with a strap (Uttanasana) 10. Seated forward bend pose or seated forward bend stretch with a strap (Uttanasana) 11. Seated backbend pose or seated backbend stretch with a strap (Uttanasana) 12. Child’s pose (Balasana) 13. Corpse pose (Savasana)
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