Inside Yoga 20

Category : Asanas (Postures), General advice 6th March 2011

(First posted 9/4/2009)

Do you know your tadasana from your gomukhasana? All yoga postures have a name which is written in Sanskrit, the ancient language from India, so to help you know your paschimottanasana from your marichyasana, this chapter of Inside Yoga translates a host of yoga asanas for you.

Sanskrit words are often written as one word, so that asana, which means posture or pose,  is added to the end of each word, for example gomukh means cow-faced, and gomukhasana means cow-faced posture.

In following list you will notice that some names when translated are wordy or simply a mouthful to say, which is one reason why I alternate from Sanskrit and English when teaching, using the name that is easiest or shortest to use.

Some names describe parts of the body used in the pose, while others are the names of people, objects or animals.

Warm up poses:

Ardhomukha Svanasana = Downward-facing dog

Urdhvamukha Svanasana = Upward-facing dog

Standing poses:

Tadasana = Mountain pose

Utthita Trikonasana (often called Trikonasana) = Extended triangle

Parivritta Trikonasana = Revolved triangle

Utthita Parsvakonasana (aka Parsvakonasana) = Extended side stretch

Parivritta Parsvakonasana = Revolved side stretch

Virabhadrasana (I, II and III) = Warrior pose

Prasarita Padottanasana (aka Padottanasana) = Intense leg stretch

Uttanasana = Intense forward stretch

Parsvottanasana = Intense side (torso) stretch

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana = Extended hand-foot (big toe) stretch

Ardha Chandrasana = Half moon

Vriksasana = Tree pose

Seated/floor poses:

Dandasana = Staff pose

Paschimottanasana = (Literally West-side stretch) Forward bend

Purvottanasana = (Literally East-side stretch) Front intense stretch

Janu Sirsasana  =  Head-knee pose

Marichyasana = (Literally Pose of Marichy) Torso leg stretch

Krounchasana =  Heron pose

Baddhakonasana = (Fixed) Bound angle pose

Upavistha Konasana = Seated wide-angle pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana = Half  Matsyendra pose

Paripurna Navasana (aka Navasana) = (Complete) Boat pose

Virasana = Hero pose

Supta Vajrasana = Reclining thunderbolt (Modified)

Gomukhasana = Cow-faced pose

Triangamukhaikapada Paschimottanasana = Three-part one-foot(leg) forward bend

Supta Padangusthasana = Reclining hand-foot (big toe) stretch

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana = (one footed) king of pigeons pose

Hanumanasana = Hanuman pose

Back bends:

Salabhasana  = Locust

Bhujangasana = Cobra (Serpent)

Dhanurasana = Bow

Dhanurasana =  (literally Upward bow) Back bend

Setu Bandhasana  =  Bridge (modified back bend)

Ustrasana = Camel

Jathara Parivartanasana = (literally stomach rolling) Spinal twist


Sarvangasana = Shoulder stand

Halasana = Plough

Sirsasana = Head stand

Ardho Mukha Vriksasana = (literally Downward facing tree) Full-arm balance or handstand

At the end:

Savasana = Corpse pose (relaxation pose at the end of session).

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