Glossary of PosesJul 14, 2020
This glossary of poses is an informal educational guide. It does not replace live or in-person instruction with a teacher you trust, who understands your practice and any injuries you may have. Never attempt or stay in a pose that causes you pain of any kind or makes it difficult to breathe. Yoga is for every body, but not everybody needs to do yoga the same way!
Some modifications for poses are pictured here, but certainly not all of them. There are many ways to adjust and modify each pose. Listen to the teacher’s cues and take into account what works best for your body when you’re practicing, and align yourself in accordance with that.
This glossary of poses deliberately does not include specific alignment points. This is for a few reasons. First, different yoga traditions practice different alignment (e.g., Iyengar’s alignment for Trikonasana is different from the alignment used in an Ashtanga practice), and this guide is not associated with any particular style at this time. Also, the alignment of a pose might vary in a class depending on the teacher’s plan for the sequence; something like feet together or apart in Tadasana is a good example of that. Finally, your body plays a crucial role in determining the best way to align a pose. There are many reasons people in different bodies would be best served by varying alignments. Talk to a teacher you trust about your specific alignment questions. Here, you will most often see the alignment that worked best for me, in my body, the day the photos were taken—that is, you are not seeing the only or ultimate alignment.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend)
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Dandasana (Staff Pose)
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee)
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
Padahastasana (Hand to Feet Pose)
Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1)
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3)
Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Supported Virasana (Supported Hero Pose)