Yoga positions: the most important asanas for beginners,intermediate and advanced
Asana is the Sanskrit term used to call yoga postures , especially in Hatha yoga: they are one of the pillars of yoga, they bring elasticity, physical strength and help to discipline the mind. Each yoga position was created to respond to the precise needs of the body and spirit.
The yoga positions are inspired by basic positions:
Extensions are made forwards, backwards, twists and inversions.
From the lotus to the cobra passing through the sun salutation , there is a multitude of positions to perform: all have the same purpose, to harmonize the body and the mind . It is also essential to maintain posture and focus on breathing .
The yoga positions are always done without forcing , respecting the body and paying particular attention to the positioning of the body and the alignment of the spine.
If you want to practice yoga , the advice is to start with a teacher who shows you how to perform the positions correctly and explain your breathing, and then go home alone.
Yoga positions: what they are
The yoga positions serve mainly to stretch the muscles and tendons and help to loosen the joints thus generating a sense of lightness and fluidity in the whole body.
The practice of yoga begins with the outward appearance of the personality: the human body.
Asanas help you stay healthy : by relaxing the body, massaging the internal organs and providing greater elasticity in the spine, muscles and joints. Tissues, joints and nerves are stressed.
With constant practice, you can increase body flexibility and muscle tone but also promote mental wellbeing:
better emotion management
help to download anxiety
sense of well-being.
The names of the asanas all have meaning . They often refer to:
animals like dogs, cats but also reptiles and insects
Each asana requires rigor and wisdom.
The discipline lies in the desire to perform potions well from the point of view of alignment, breathing, etc. while wisdom lies in the ability to understand your limits so as not to hurt yourself .
Unlike gymnastics, yoga positions need to be maintained long enough : the better and more you can do it, focusing on breathing.
Yoga and Hatha yoga positions
In Hatha yoga, there are 3 essential points:
Pranayama or breathing
Prana means energy and also breath and Ayama means control .
Furthermore, breathing is associated with every yoga position and is essential to help the body to oxygenate itself and get rid of some tension.
During a yoga class, you work on breathing at the beginning and end of the session. There are different ways to breathe: putting the emphasis on the phase of inhalation or exhalation. A slow or fast rhythm is adopted (like fire breathing).
Every yoga posture has its benefits and its rules. Here are some groups of postures:
Yoga in feet
Positions such as the warrior (Virabhadrasana), the half moon (Ardha chandrasana), the tree (Vrkasana) and many other standing yoga positions are accessible to all and help to strengthen the legs and buttocks. To achieve correct standing positions, it is important to focus on the feet and feel relaxation in the upper part of the body: chest, shoulders, arms and head.
Seated yoga position
Seated yoga postures, such as the lotus position, the position of the mountain (Tadasana) or the position of the Hero (Virasana). They are positions that can be done even by beginners and help the relaxation of body and mind.
In addition, some positions help strengthen the deep muscles of the back and abdominals.
Positions in balance on hands and feet
Many of these positions are complex and should be implemented only when you have achieved a good command of the body. If you are a beginner, it is fine to start with the position of the dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) while the position of the crow (Kakasana) requires strength and balance.
Inverted yoga positions
By inverted position we mean positions where the head and torso are lower than the lower part of the body (legs). There are positions like the position of the plow (Halasana) but also the dog with the head down (Adho Muka Svanasana) or for the more experienced the position of the bridge (Chakrasana).
These postures are healthy as long as you meet certain requirements if you suffer from:
epistaxis (nose bleed)
The advice is to consult a doctor before carrying out these inverted positions. In any case, graduality must be respected and it is important to start with the simplest inverted positions.
Meditation or relaxation
Meditation concludes the session and is performed in the lotus position (Padmasana) or even lying on the back.
For example, you can perform complete yogic breathing or alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana), which can be accompanied by sweet sounds.
The sun salutation: the most famous sequence of yoga positions
Simple and effective, the sun salutation is a base to know when you start yoga. It is a sequence of positions that alternates the head up and down, the back curved and arched and these alternations help improve blood circulation.
There are several variations of sun salutation and the advice is to initially follow the advice of a yoga teacher.
The sun salutation is a complete sequence of ideal positions to awaken and tone your body .
Learn all about the sun salutation .
Yoga positions for beginners, intermediate and advanced
The yoga positions we have chosen for you are very simple and available to everyone, from beginners to advanced.
You can do them at home to experience the benefits of yoga from the very first sessions.
Through the practice of these positions you can in fact increase body flexibility and muscle tone, help the nervous system and, consequently, help control your emotions.
Try them and you will discover a world of wellness and benefits .
Tips for performing well the yoga positions in your home
Here are some important tips to get them right.
Before performing the yoga exercises, consult your doctor and evaluate your health with him, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, abdominal hernia, back problems, epilepsy. Also read carefully the contraindications that we reported in the captions of the different positions.
Take the time to dedicate yourself to your training with peace of mind: the best moments are in the morning when you wake up or in the evening before dinner.
The yoga positions are not recommended after meals but you can do them during the day, every day.
Do yoga in silence, with your eyes closed, the television off and away from the phone to concentrate on breathing or choose relaxing music. Try to free your mind from thoughts.
Breath, concentration and positions must become over time a whole to find well-being and balance.
Learn to achieve results gradually and respect your limits. Yoga is a discipline suitable for everyone but forcing too much is harmful: only constant practice will make you feel the benefits.
Yoga exercises can be performed individually or in sequence. Between one sequence and another, perform deep breathing cycles for 10 seconds. You can repeat the cycle 5-6 times.
6 yoga positions for beginners
Practicing yoga means taking care of your body and your mind: some positions are difficult to achieve and can give you a feeling of imbalance, at the beginning it is normal .. You must seek relaxation in maintaining positions . And it’s a job that takes a long time.
Aim for beginners to achieve : work on body alignment and focus on the breath. The goal is to develop flexibility, strength and balance through movement,
Are you a beginner ? Here are 6 positions for beginners.
1 – The tree (Vrksasana)
Start standing with your arms along your body, legs slightly open and feet parallel. Close your eyes to find concentration and balance .
Open your eyes and shift your body weight to your right foot. Flex the left knee and bring the sole of the foot into contact with the right knee. Put your hands in front of your chest in the position of prayer.
Raise your arms above your head keeping your hands together. Stay in position until you can, breathing regularly.
Repeat with the other leg.
This position stimulates balance and improves concentration .
Precautions : be careful if you suffer from migraine or high blood pressure. If you have balance problems, you can position against the wall.
2 – Half moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Starting standing with the arms extended along the body, the legs slightly apart with the feet parallel. Close your eyes for the time needed to seek concentration and balance.
Bring your left arm up. Inhale, then exhale, bend the torso sideways to the right, sliding the right arm along the leg. Keep the hips parallel.
With deep , rhythmic breaths , try to stretch your left side and arm. At the beginning, hold for a few seconds, then gradually increase the times according to your abilities. Inhale, then exhale slowly return to the initial position.
Perform the same movement on the other side, always maintaining rhythmic and deep breathing.
Precautions : this position should be performed with caution if you suffer from migraine or low blood pressure.
3 – Seated pliers (Pascimottanâsana)
Sit on the mat with your legs together and stretched forward. Keep your back straight so you can feel the support on your buttocks. Inspira.
Bring your arms up and exhale. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and inhale.
Exhaling, bring your torso forward and grab your ankles or toes with both hands. Hold the position for a few breaths.
Bring your back as far as you can to your legs , keeping your spine straight and looking forward.
Lower your head to rest your forehead on your legs. Hold for 5 or 6 breaths, then loosen the position.
Precautions : if you suffer from back pain and / or have a herniated disc , you can do this position only in the presence of a teacher.
4 – Twisting (Ardha-matsyendrasana)
Sitting on the mat, back straight, shoulders outstretched and legs extended with a hammer toe.
Inhale, resting on the 2 iliac bones so as to always keep the back in lengthening.
Exhale and, breathing in, bend the right leg crossing it over the left and place the foot on the ground at the level of the left knee. Exhale.
Inhaling, rotate the torso to the right placing the right hand on the ground behind the pelvis and resting the left elbow on the outside of the right knee.
Always keep your back stretched , but relax your shoulders.
Push your hand lightly on the ground to exert a slight pressure to maintain alignment, while the left elbow pushes the right knee inwards and exhales. Inhaling, stretch the column and with the exhalation intensify the twist.
Hold the position for 5/6 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Precautions : to be avoided after the third month of pregnancy , seek advice from an expert in case of hernia or sciatica problems.
5 – Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Lie flat on your stomach and place your palms on the ground, not over the shoulder line.
Bend your forearms and bring your elbows up. Keep your forehead on the ground, legs stretched out and relaxed, slightly apart.
Inhale and lift the forehead, chin, shoulders and chest from the ground.
Keep the buckle for 5 or 6 breaths .
Breathing in, extend your back completely, always within the limits of your abilities, bringing your arms fully extended.
Look forward or up : if you are flexible enough, you can arch your head backwards involving the cervical vertebrae.
To protect the back muscles , contract the buttocks. Maintain the position for 5 or 6 respiratory cycles, initially, gradually increasing the time.
Inhale deeply and, exhaling, slowly dissolve the buckle, returning the forehead to the mat.
Precautions : to be avoided during pregnancy and if you have problems with your back or shoulders and elbows .
6 – Arch (Dhanurasana)
Prone position with forehead resting on the mat. Open the legs about 20 centimeters. bend your knees towards your buttocks and grab your ankles with your hands.
Breathing in, raise your forehead, shoulders and chest. Arch your back and also raise your knees. Hold for 2-3 full breaths.
Exhaling deeply, loosen the position.
Precautions : Do not perform this position after meals. Furthermore, it is not recommended for pregnant women, those with back problems and abdominal hernia.
6 yoga positions: intermediate level
Intermediate objective : to achieve a degree of familiarity with postures and to develop resistance and strength.
1 – Warrior (Virabhadrasana)
Starting standing with arms extended along the body, legs spread and feet parallel.
Rotate the tip of the right foot outwards.
Bend your right knee slightly by opening and stretching your arms. Keep your hands aligned at shoulder height.
Turn your head to the right and keep your eyes straight forward.
Hold the position for a few seconds while breathing deeply. Then, exhaling, loosen the position.
Precautions : better to avoid this position or perform it with a teacher if you suffer from:
joint problems in the shoulder
2 – Triangle (Trikonasana)
Open your legs and bring the tip of your right foot outwards. Extend your open arms by keeping your hands at shoulder height. Inspira.
Exhale, bend the trunk to the right until the right hand is on the ankle. Keep both arms outstretched. Rotate your head to the left looking upwards in the direction of your left hand with the palm facing inward.
Try to keep your shoulders, arms and hips aligned and not flex your legs.
Hold the position for 2 or 3 breath cycles, maintaining a regular rhythmic breathing.
Return to the starting position. Repeat folding from the left side.
Precautions : to be avoided if you have balance problems or problems with your back or knee.
3 – Dog upside down (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Inhale, get on all fours with the knees to the width of the pelvis, the head in the extension of the spine, the look on the ground to avoid contracting the cervical. Exhale.
Hold the position and inhale deeply, exhaling, bring the buttocks towards the heels keeping the hands on the ground and extending the arms. Exhale.
Breathing in, push on the palms of the hands and bring the pelvis upwards keeping the legs bent and resting on the tip of the toes.
Hold for 5 or 6 respiratory cycles .
Inhale, stretch your legs, place your heels on the ground and push your pelvis upwards, stretching your back.
Distribute your body weight evenly on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Hold the position and take deep breaths, working in this way on the lengthening of the back, arms and back of the legs.
If you can’t touch the ground with your heels, you can bend your knees and help you by using your heels to support your hands.
Keep the individual positions for a few minutes.
Precautions : this position is not recommended for pregnant women, those suffering from high blood pressure and those with shoulder and back pain.
4 – Inverted seeds (Viparita Karani)
Breathing in, lie on your back with your legs together and your arms along your body.
Exhaling, bring your legs up to the ceiling supporting your back with your hands.
Keep your legs straight and relaxed: your ankles must be at eye level.
Rest your back on your hands. Hold the position with slow, deep breaths.
The position should be maintained from 3 to 6 complete breath cycles, gradually increasing the duration up to 5 minutes.
To loosen the position, bring your feet over your head, legs extended, arms on the mat, and slowly rest your back, vertebra after vertebra, and finally your legs.
Warning : this position is not recommended for those suffering from hypertension, aneurysm and in cases of arteriosclerosis.
5 – Fish (Matsya)
Lie on your back, with your legs together and your arms along your body.
Bring your arms behind your back. Keep them stretched out, with your hands under your thighs, close together. Inhale and pivot on the forearms look forward.
Raise your back, keeping your legs and buttocks on the ground, then arch up and leave your head between your shoulders backwards, so that the top touches the mat.
Precautions : if you suffer from vertigo, shoulder or neck problems, it is recommended to avoid this yoga position.
6 – Half bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
Starting position : lying on the back, with the feet on the ground open to the pelvis width, the arms along the body and the palms of the hands resting on the ground.
Inhaling, lift your pelvis by contracting your buttocks and hold your position. Your knees should be in line with your hips and you should try to raise your chest as much as you can.
Do not arch your back. The body must be straight as a board .
Maintain the position for 5 or 6 respiratory cycles, initially, gradually increasing the time.
Precautions : it is not recommended for those who are pregnant (from the second trimester onwards) and those suffering from chronic low back pain or cervical .
6 yoga positions : advanced level
Reaching an advanced level in yoga does not mean being able or not to realize the asanas but to be aware of your body and listen to it. One must also develop a meditative state in which the mind focuses only on posture and accepting that it is unable to perform a complete posture because it is not the time.
Advanced level objective : to reach the advanced level in yoga, you don’t necessarily have to do complicated positions! Instead, it is important to try to be stable and to experience the instant present, not to judge oneself and feel the fluid breathing.
1 – Aquila (Garudasana)
Departure in Tadasana, or the position of the mountain, standing with legs slightly open and arms along the body.
Inhale and exhale, bend your knees slightly and shift your body weight to the left.
Inhale and exhale raise your right leg looking for balance. Cross the right leg behind the left at the calf.
To maintain balance, focus on breathing and set a point in front of you.
The back must be straight.
Breathing in and out, bend your arms in front of your chest with your palms facing you and intertwine your hands until your palms are joined.
Keep your back straight , your shoulders outstretched and your eyes in front of you.
Hold the position for 15 breathing cycles or until you feel no difficulty in controlling the position.
Return to Tadasana’s position and repeat on the other side.
2 – Position of the dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)
It resembles the inverted V position .
Starting on all fours, place your elbows on the ground with your palms facing the mat. Inhale and exhale, raise your pelvis, legs stretched out, and place your toes on the ground to create a triangle.
Maintain the position of the dolphin for 5-10 respiratory cycles .
Precautions : avoid this position if you have high blood pressure or cervical problems.
3 – Locust
Lie flat on your stomach with your palms on the floor at chest level. Bend your forearms and bring your elbows up. Keep your forehead on the ground and your legs stretched out and relaxed.
Inspiring, it raises the forehead, the chin, the shoulders and the chest and, contracting the buttocks, at the same time detaches the legs from the ground with the taut points.
Hold the buckle for 5 full breath cycles .
Exhaling, bring your arms straight back, parallel to the floor. Hold for 5-10 complete respiratory cycles .
Precautions: this position is not recommended for pregnant women and those with heart problems or suffering from abdominal or inguinal hernia.
4 – Plow (Halasana)
Lie on the mat with your legs together and your arms along your body. Exhale, place yourself in a semi-upside down position, bringing your legs up towards the ceiling and supporting your back with your hands. Inhale and exhale, bring your legs out to the mat with your torso perpendicular to 90 degrees.
Place your toes on the ground. Inhale and exhale, bring your arms forward with the palms of your hands on the ground. Hold the position until you are looking for relaxation.
Return to the starting position slowly, forcing your hands.
Precautions : it is not recommended for those who have back problems and especially for those who suffer from cervical problems.
5 – Torsion lunges (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
Start in the dog’s position with the head down (anchor) . Inhale and exhale, bring your right leg between your hands, flexing your right knee to 90 degrees. The knee is above the ankle, the left leg is stretched behind.
Bring your torso forward and rotate outward. Inhale and exhale, bring the elbow to the outside of the knee. Put your hands together in the prayer position.
Very important : stretch your back, keep your shoulder open and your body well aligned.
Hold for 5-10 respiratory cycles.
Slowly return to the starting position and perform on the other side.
Precautions : not recommended for those with knee and back pain.
6 – Head towards the knee (Janu Sirsasana)
Sit on the mat with your legs extended forward and your back straight. Keep your arms extended along your body with your palms facing down.
Bend the left leg, bringing the foot to the right knee or if you can reach the groin. Inhale and extend your arms upwards. Exhale and breathe in again, trying to reach upwards.
Exhaling bent forward. Start the movement from the lower back and sides, keeping the column straight. Grab the tibia of the right leg with both hands or, if you can, the ankle or even better the foot.
Finish the asana by bringing the head forward towards the leg. Keep your posture from 5 to 10 full breaths.
With time and practice, you will be able to maintain your posture for longer .
Precautions : to be avoided if you have knee or back problems.