Ashtanga Yoga – The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Ashtanga yoga comprises of eight steps towards perfection mentioned in the Yoga Sutras. There are many classical texts on yoga. The process of yoga is dealt with even in the Vedic texts – Yoga Tatva Upanishad, Yoga Shika upanishad, Yoga Chudamani Upanishad, etc. to mention a few.

But one has to understand that yoga is what is called a “prayoga sastra” or a practical science. It is more about techniques to evolve the human consciousness, rather than a mere philosophy. In that sense, it was Maharishi Patanjali who expounded the science of yoga in systematic way, in his Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

Shavasana – Corpse Pose – Yoga Asana for Relaxation

SHAVASANA - Corpse Pose

Shavasana, the corpse pose is a yogic relaxation pose. The name comes from the sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse” and Asana meaning “posture”. Shavasana is the simplest and the main relaxation pose used in yoga. It is usually performed at the beginning and at the end of yoga practices.

Mayurasana – The Peacock Pose

MAYURASANA - Peacock Pose

Mayurasana or the Peacock yoga pose is one of the main asanas mentioned in the yogic text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika. In sanskrit, ‘Mayura’ means peacock and ‘asana’ means pose. Mayurasana or the peacock pose is a difficult asana for beginners. Yet with a little practice over few weeks, one can master this asana. All one needs is patience and perseverance.

Chakrasana – The Wheel Pose

CHAKRASANA - Wheel Pose

Chakrasana or the wheel pose is a backward bending yoga asana. Chakra in sanskrit means Wheel and Asana means a pose. In Chakrasana, the final position looks like a wheel, hence the name. This posture gives great flexibility to the spine.

Ushtrasana – The Camel Pose

USHTRASANA - Camel Pose

Ushtrasana or the Camel Yoga Pose is one of the backward bending Yoga asana for strengthening the back and spine. In sanskrit, Ushtra means a camel and Asana means a pose. It is a good posture for developing flexibility of the spine and neck.

Dhanurasana – The Bow Pose

Dhanurasana - bow Pose

Dhanurasana or the Yogic Bow Pose, is so called as it resembles a bow when it is performed (“Dhanur” means Bow in sanskrit). In Dhanurasana, body and the legs take the shape of the bow, while the hands look like the string.

Shalabhasana – The Locust Pose

Shalabhasana - Locust Pose

Shalabhasana or the Locust Yoga Pose is so called because the body and the legs resemble a Locust when it is performed. Shalabhasana is one the best yoga asanas for strengthening the back muscles.

Bhujangasana – The Cobra Pose

bhujangasana - Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose, is one of the main backward bending asanas used in yoga. In Bhujangasana, the head and trunk resembles a cobra with raised hood, hence the name (Bhujanga means Cobra in sanskrit).

Vajrasana – The Thunderbolt Pose

VAJRASANA - Thunderbolt Pose

Vajrasana or the kneeling yoga pose is also called the diamond pose or the thunderbolt pose. In Sanskrit, Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond and Asana means a pose. Vajrasana is a sitting posture and can be used for meditation and prayer.

Marjariasana – The Cat Pose

Marjariasana - Cat Pose

Marjariasana or the Cat Pose in Yoga is excellent for improving flexibility of the spine. Most of the asanas or poses have been adopted by observing animals. The cat family has one of the most flexible spines in the animal kingdom.