p1 Tada

Tada means mountain. This posture is also known by the name samasthiti-asana. Sama means unmoved, equilibrium, and sthiti means standing upright or firmly, abiding, remaining, thus samasthiti means standing firmly without moving.

p2 Baddha

Baddha means a bond, chain, caught or restrained. The word pada means foot, and kona means corner or angle therefore this is the restrained-foot-angle posture.

p3 Siddha

Siddha means accomplished or adept, one who has attained the highest. The name implies the attainment of a perfectly stilled mind and the experience of peace that results from meditation. Thesiddha-asana is a recommended pose for meditation.

p4 Bala

Bala means child.

p5 Matsya

Matsya means fish, therefore this is the fish posture.

p6 Shalabha

Shalabha means locust or grasshopper. There is a variation of this posture called the viparita-shalabha-asana. The Sanskrit word viparita means "reverse." This is an advanced variation not covered here.

p7 Naga

Naga means snake or serpent. The naga-asana is also known as the bhujanga-asana. The Sanskrit word bhujanga, which also means snake, is derived from the root bhuj which means to bend or curve.

p8 Dhanur

Dhanur means bow-shaped, curved or bent. The bow referred is a bow as in "bow and arrow." This asana is so named because the body mimics the shape of a bow with its string stretched back ready to shoot an arrow.

p9 Ushtra

Ushtra means camel.

p10 Karna

Karna means ear and the prefix "a" means near to or towards. Dhanur means bow-shaped, curved or bent. The "bow" here referred to is a bow as in "bow and arrow." Literally we could translate this as the near-the-ear bow posture but because of the obvious appearance of the posture we'll call it the shooting bow posture.

p11 Eka

Eka means one and pada means foot making this the one-foot, or more commonly, one-legged pose.

p12 Garuda

Garuda means eagle. In Hindu mythology Garuda is known as the king of birds. He transports the God Vishnu and is said to be eager to help humanity fight againt deamons.

p13 Hala

Hala means plow, as in a traditional plow that is drawn by a horse or oxen. When performing this posture your body resembles a plow.

p14 Pavana

Pavana means air or wind and mukta means freedom or release, therefore this is the "wind relieving posture" so named because it assists in releasing trapped digestive gas from the stomach and intestines.

p15 Nata

Nata means dancer and raja means king. Nataraja is another name for Shiva, the Lord of the Dance, whose cosmic dance is the creation and destruction of the world.

p16 Sirsha

Sirsha means head. This posture is the well-known headstand posture, and perhaps second only to the padma-asana or lotus posture, is widely identified with the practice of Yoga.The headstand or sirsha-asana is perhaps the most well-known Yoga posture. Its benefits are many and is fully deserving of all its notoriety. Its physical and mental benefits derive both from emphasis on balance and the body's inverted position.
Before attempting the sirsha-asana beginners to Yoga should wait until they have mastered some of the more basic postures (such as the sarvanga-asana, dhanura-asana, ugra-asana, etc.). If you are attempting the headstand for the first time and you are alone we recommend you position yourself facing a wall with your knees about three feet from the wall. If you should lose your balance after lifting your legs you can use the wall for support to return gently from the posture.

p17 Anjaneya

Anjaneya means salutation or praise from the root anj which means to honor, to celebrate, to anoint.The anjaneya-asana combines several postures and mudras (gestures) in a fluid, evolving flow that combines motion, stretching and holds. It delivers great benefits for the back, arms, chest, legs and hips. Regular practice will strengthen concentration and improve balance.

Perform this posture with a sense of reverence and praise. Take a moment to reside in silence and peace as your hands are held at the heart in the gesture (mudra) of salutation (anjali-mudra). Keep the intention of praise in mind as you extend your arms skyward. Feel your entire body-mind-heart extending outward in recognition of the sacredness of life.

This brief sampling of Yoga postures has been an attempt to help you understand the basics. The names for the postures are in Sanskrit. English names are easily available. In addition to the links on this page you will find scores of web pages devoted to the topic. Try a Google search. The above mentioned YogaCards site has in depth explanations and a number of videos. You may find the site's videos useful only if you are accessing it with a broad-band connection.

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