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Yoga dictionary

A

Action versus movement

There is a difference between action and movement. Movement is gross and less conscious, mainly using the big muscle groups. It is a visible change of the body’s position.

Actions are invisible forces we apply to create movements.

Here’s an example: If you raise your arms, that is movement. In contrast, if your arms are already raised and then you firm your upper arms, that is  action.
 

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog Pose

Benefits  

  •  Strengthens the upper body, arms, shoulders, chest and legs
  •  Stretches chest, shoulders
  •  Stretches the whole back of the body, ankles, calves, hamstrings and  spine
  •  Calms the mind
  •  Energizes the body overall

 

Please find an image and a step-by-step description of the Downward Facing Dog Pose.

Advaita

Advaita means nondual or "not two." It is the teaching found in the Upanishads that reality is one.

Agni

The word "agni" is Sanskrit for the word "fire."  Agni is part of the five elements, of which the physical universe is composed off. Fire is related to the transformational force and used in Yoga it usually refers to the the "digestive fire."  Fire burns; it changes one thing into another. Think of the metabolism of food, thoughts and breath. A healthy digestive system, a healthy "change engine," enhances your Yoga practice greatly. The sense organ of Agni is the eyes.

Ahamkara

Ahamkara is a Sanskrit word. Aham means "self" or "I" and Kara means "making" or "to do". So you coud say Ahamkara is the "I maker" . It is active when the mind has identified itself with an external object or thing. Like I am my car, or I am what I believe in. It creates an illusion. 

Ahimsa

Ahimsa means non violence. It applies to physical violence but also applies to causing violence through words and thoughts. It means to do no harm to yourself, others and the environment. The idea is to increase your awareness and to develop universal love. 
To find out more read our article on Ahimsa

Akasha

Akasha means ether or space and is part of the five elements, of which the physical universe is composed off. It is the subtlest in the material world. You can see it as the backround, the space in/against which everything else becomes perceptible. Akasha is related to the sense of hearing.

Alignment

Alignment is the way you hold your body. For example, in the basic standing pose Tadasana/Mountain Pose, it is important to align:

• the ankles over the heels
• the knees over the ankles
• the hips over the knees
• the shoulders over the hips
• the ears with the shoulders

Proper alignment means that you are holding a pose with the least amount of effort and in a healthy way for your body. When your posture is bad, it costs you unnecessary energy. Certain muscles will work too hard; bones or joints will be under pressure and imbalanced; and problems in the body will occur over time.

That is why there is a lot of focus on alignment in Yoga classes.

Please find an image and a step-by-step description of the Tadasana/Mountain Pose.
 

Anusara Yoga

Anusara Yoga is a modern-day Hatha Yoga system founded by John Friend.

Anusara means “flowing with grace,” “going with the flow,” “following your heart.”

Anusara Yoga, based on a Tantric philosophy with universal principles of alignment, is a popular and fast-growing style. It focuses on experiencing bliss and joy in your Yoga practice and your daily life. 
Find out more about Anusara on our Yoga Styles - Anusara  page

Read more about the universal principles of alignment in "The principles of alignment"
 

Aparigraha

Aparigraha is the Yama of  non-grasping, non-possesiveness, non-holding through the senses, non-greed, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness.

Read more

Ardha Bhekasana

Ardha Bhekasana / Half Frog Pose

Benefits 

  • Releases the thigh muscles, quadriceps
  • Increases the flexibility in the back
  • Opens the chest and shoulders
  • Stimulates  energy
  • Prepares the body for back bending


Click to see an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

 

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana / Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

Benefits :

  •  Helps to restore the spines natural range of motion
  •  Cleanses your organs
  •  Stretches your hips, shoulders and neck
  •  Improves digestion
  •  Relieves backache and sciatica

View an image and a step by step description of this Yoga Pose here.

Asanas / Yoga postures

The translation most widely used for asana is “posture.” The various postures used in yoga are called asanas. Besides stretching the body, asanas open the energy channels and purify and strengthen the body.

Asanas bring about balance in body and mind.

Ashram

An ashram is usually a secluded place or retreat. In an ashram people traditionally take part in spiritual practices like yoga and meditation. The spiritual teacher / leader is often called the "Guru."

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga has become popular in the West through Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This form of Yoga is very physical and athletic and originally developed for prepubescent boys in India. It is a prescribed series of asanas linked with the breath. There are different series, for beginners up through very advanced students. Practiced diligently, this form of Yoga will strengthen, stretch, and cleanse the body, mind, and spirit.

Read more about Ashtanga here

Asteya

Asteya is the yama non-stealing. Read more aobut this here

 

B

Backbends

Backbends are a classification of Yoga poses that work on opening the heart/chest. They are strengthening and invigorating, stretching the hip flexors.

To find out more about Backbends read "All About Backbends"

Baddha Konansana

Baddha Konasana / Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly Pose.

Benefits 

  • Helps in opening your hips
  •  Stretches groins, inner thighs and ankles
  •  Uplifts mood
  •  Stimulates abdominal organs
  •  Beneficial for menstrual pains
  •  Stimulates the circulation in the pelvic area
  •  You can stay in this pose anywhere between 1-5 minutes
  •  To come out you lift your knees and straighten you legs again

 View an image and a step-by-step description of this this Yoga Pose.

Bakasana

Bakasana / Crow Pose

Benefits

  • Increases the strength in the wrists, arms, shouders
  • Strengthens the inner thighs, abdominals and core
  • Stretches the upper back
  • Opens the groin
  • Over time, this pose will make you feel strong and confident

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga Pose

Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga is devotional yoga. Bhakti is love for love s sake. When you practice Bhakti Yoga you want god and god alone, without any expectation for the "self."

Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose.

Benefits 

* Strengthens legs, upper back, arms, and shoulders
* Stretches the front of the body
* Energizes 
* Relieves mild depression
 

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga Pose.

C

Chakra

Chakras are referred to as centers or wheels of energies in the body. They are located between the base of the spine and the crown of the head. It is said that we have seven chakras. How we feel and where we are in life (mind, body, and spirit) is reflected in these energy centers, and the other way around. So keeping these energy centers balanced has a positive effect on our well-being.

Chaturanga Dandasana

 Chaturanga Dandasana / Four Limbed Staff Pose

Benefits 

* Strengthens wrists, arms, legs, and core

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga Pose.

 

Core stability / Core strength

The body’s core muscles are the deeper muscles that stabilize the spine and provide good postural alignment. You need proper core strength and stability to exercise your body safely.

 

Core Strength Vinyasa

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic practice which focuses on accessing and activating the core during yoga poses. It goes beyond the core in a purely physical sense by also working on the energetic core of the pose.

Read More

Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose, also called Savasana is the final relaxation pose in Yoga. You lie on your back, in a fully relaxed position. This pose is usually used at the end of a Yoga practice, but sometimes also in between poses or even at the beginning.

D

Dandasana

Dandasana / Staff Pose

Benefits 

* Strengthens the quads
* Improves core stability
* Strengthens the muscles of the back

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga Pose.

Dharana

 

Dharana can be translated as “holding,” “concentration,” or “one pointed focus.” Dharana is the first step in meditation. You concentrate deeply, with single, pointed focus on an object, keeping the mind steady without wavering. You are yourself consious of the act of meditation.


 

Dhyana

You can compare Dhyana with meditation or contemplation. It means consciousness of being. You are not conscious of the act of meditation anymore; you are just aware that you are, and you have become one with the object of meditation. The duality in experiencing is gone.

Drishti

Drishti is the point of focus of the eyes during your Yoga asana practice. It is meant to focus the mind and to prevent distractions &emdash; to keep your eyes from wandering around the room. During your yoga practice it helps to bring your awareness inward rather then outward. There are different drishti points: for example in downward facing dog we gaze at the navel centre, in Upward Facing Dog Pose we gaze at the third eye centre.

E

Expansion

Expansion on a spiritual level means that you have let go of enough unconscious contraction to be present to the here and now.

To find out more about the concept of Expansion read Esther's article "What is Expansion"

F

Femur bone

The femur is the thigh bone.

Teachers may say, “Femurs move back” in the mountain pose or “Press the top of the femur back” in the extended side angle pose. They are talking about your thigh bone.

Flexibility and Yoga

Flexibility and Yoga is about finding balance between our stability/strength (Sthira) and flexibility/ease (Sukha) is one of the most important aspects of our yoga practice.  This applies not just to our physical practice but to our mental state and attitude as well..... Read More

Foundation

The foundation in a Yoga pose is what is in contact with the floor. If a house is built on a poor foundation, it will be out of alignment, with crooked floors, cracked walls and a sagging roof. It is the same with Yoga.

In a Yoga pose, when the foundation is strong and solid, the rest of your body will be safe and properly aligned. It will also feel lighter, since you need less muscle energy to maintain the pose.

When the foundation isn’t right - for example, if your ankles and arches collapse in the Mountain Pose -everything above them will be at risk. In this case, the knees, the hips and the spine will all be affected.

So, the first thing to check in a pose is your foundation.

H

Halasana

Halasana / Plow Pose

Benefits

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and back of the legs
  • Opens the upper back and chest
  • Balances the thyroid gland
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Calms the mind and reduces stress and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for sinusitis, infertility and insomnia
  • Relievs backpain and headaches 

View an image and for a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is known as the Yoga for the physical body. In Sanskrit, “Ha” represents sun and “tha” represents moon, alluding to the opposites in our lives, such as yin and yang, light and dark, hard and soft, vigorous and gentle.

Hatha Yoga is about finding balance. Through working with the physical body, releasing tensions and traumas stored in the body, you create space in yourself and, through that space and balance, the opportunity for spiritual growth.

Learn more about it's History, philosophy and modern Hatha classes on our Yoga Styles Hatha page 

Heart centre

The term heart centre refers to the centre of the chest.

High Chaturanga

High Chaturanga / Plank Pose

Benefits 

* Strengthens upper body, arms, wrist, spine
* When done correctly; strengthens abdomen, core, legs
* Prepares the body for more challenging arm balances

View an image and a step by step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Hipbones

 

When we talk about hipbones, we’re talking about them in relation to core stability. If you place your hands on your hips, the hipbones are the ones you can feel pointing to the front of you.
If an instructor says, “Move your hipbones toward each other,” try using your stomach muscles as if drawing them into your core.

 

I

Inversions

Inversions are a classification of a group of asanas. Inversions include shoulderstands, headstands, handstands etc. To find out more about Inversions read Esther Ekhart's article "All about Yoga Inversions"

J

Jala

Jala means water and is part of the five elements, of which the physical universe is composed off. Water relates to all the fluids/ liquids in our body, such as urine, plasma and lymph. It sense organ is the tongue.  

Janu Sirsasana

Janu Sirsasana / Head to Knee Pose

Benefits 

* Calms the mind and is therapeutic for mild depression
* Stimulates digestion
* Stretches the hips, back of the body and groins
* Relieves menstrual discomfort, headache, anxiety and fatigue
* Relieves insomnia and high blood pressure
* Stimulates the kidneys and liver

View an image and a step by step instruction of this Yoga pose.

K

Krounchasana

Krounchasana / Heron Pose

Benefits:

  • Stretches the top of the bent leg's thigh, ankle and shin
  • Stretches the back of the straight leg, including the Achilles tendon
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs and the heart
  • Relieves flatulence

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

 

M

Malas

Malas comes from Tantric yoga scriptures. We all have moments in our lives when we feel connected and we have moments in our lives when we feel sepereate, different, disconnected. This experience of defferentiation comes from a power called Maya which operates via The Three Malas 

Meditation

 Through focusing the mind on something specific  -your breathing, for example- depending on the technique you want to use, you quiet the busy, worrying part of your mind (the chatter), called the subconscious.

The result could be that your subconscious mind calms down enough for you to relax into a state of heightened awareness of the present.

To find out more about Meditation go to our Yoga Styles - Meditation page. 

Midline

Midline is a term frequently used in yoga to refer to the centre line of the body. It is used to bring awareness to an imagined line running down one’s centre -a vertical axis that runs down the spine, the pelvis, and down between the legs into the ground- that can increase stability and support.

Modification

 You can modify a pose in yoga to make it more suitable for your body. Every body is different, and what works for one person might not work for another.

You can use Yoga blocks or straps to do this, or just do a simpler version of the pose.

Take, for example, sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. It is not possible for everybody to sit like this with a straight back. If you cannot, the pose will have to be modified. You are better off sitting on a block to raise your hips so that you can straighten your back, rather than compromising your posture.

Monkey mind

 Monkey mind describes a mind that jumps from one thought to another, like a monkey jumps from one branch to another.

During Yoga, you calm the mind, or tame the monkey mind. When the mind is calm, you can achieve a state of meditation.

Moon Salutations

Chandra Namaskar / Moon Salutations is the balancing component to Sun Salutations. Sun Salutations are assoiciated with Yang whiles as Moon salutations are associated with Yin.... Read More

N

Namaste

Namaste is an Indian greeting. It means the higher consciousness in me greets the higher consciousness in you. “Nama” in Sanskrit means “bow” in English, “as” means “I” and “te” means “you.”

The greeting is performed by bringing your palms together in front of your heart, bowing your head a little and closing your eyes if you like. It is also performed by bringing your palms together in front of your forehead. You can say Namaste with the hand gesture.

It is common to start and end a Yoga class with Namaste, performed with your hands in front of your heart. It is a nice way to set the tone at the beginning of the class; for a moment, you acknowledge the existence of something much bigger than you, which you can call the divine if you like.

At the end of a Yoga class, Namaste is a nice way to express gratitude; to say “I am grateful that I’m able to practice Yoga, grateful to the teachers who have taught me, grateful for the people whom I teach or practice. Namaste.”
 

Natarajasana

Natarajasana / Lord of the Dance Pose

Benefits

  • Strengthens the ankles, legs, core, and arms.
  • Stretches the chest, shoulders, groin, and abdomen.
  • Improves balance and concentration.

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

Nauli Kriya

Nauli Kryia is a yogic cleansing exercise. Nauli cleanses the internal organs and tones the abdominal region via a side-to-side rolling motion of the abdominal muscles. For Andrew's take on this Read his article "Nauli Kryia, my explanation and practice" 

Navasana

Navasana / Boat Pose

Benefits 

* Improves core strength
* Strengthens the hip flexors and spine
* Helps to relieve stress
* Improves digestion

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

P

Padanghustasana

Padanghustasana / Foot to Fingers Forward Bend

Benefits 

* Stretches the back of the legs, the hips and spine
* Balances the nervous system and calms the mind
* Improves digestion
* Relieves tension in the lower back
* Restores your energy

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Parighasana

Parighanasa / Gate Pose

Benefits

  • Stretches the calves, hamstrings, spine
  • Opens the side body, chest and shoulders
  • Stimulates the lungs and the abdominal organs 

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

Parivrtta Trikonasana

Parivrtta Trikonasana / Revolved Triangle Pose

Benefits 

  • Improves balance
  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, hips, spine, chest and upper back
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, and detoxes them
  • Relieves back pain

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

Parsvottanasana

Parsvottanasana / Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid Pose

Benefits

* Stretches the legs, hips, spine, shoulders and wrists
* Strengthens the legs and knees
* Improves balance and digestion
* Stimulates the abdominal organs and digestion
* Calms the mind

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana / Seated Forward Bend

Benefits :

* Stretches the spine, hamstrings, and shoulders
* Calms the mind, prepares it for meditation
* Relieves mild depression
* Stimulates internal organs like ovaries and uterus, liver, and kidneys
* Good for digestion
* Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia, and sinusitis

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Seated Forward Bend.

Pelvis

Pelvis means “basin.”

The pelvic bones are:

• ilium
• ischium
• pubis

Yoga teachers may refer to the pelvis as a basin to help explain how they want you to move or align the pelvis. In a forward bend, for example, you tilt the pelvis so that, if the pelvis were a basin, water would flow out of the front.
 

Power Yoga

Power Yoga refers to the physical intensity of a yoga class. It is a vigorous practice that can be used as a “work-out.” .... Read More

Pranayama

“Prana” means life force, breath. Pranayama is freeing the flow of breath through various breathing exercises.

To find out more read our blog "What is Pranayama?"

Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana / Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Benefits 

* Stretches the back and inside of the legs
* Opens the hips
* Stretches the spine
* Grounds and calms the mind
* Can relieve mild backache

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Prasarita Padottanasana C

Prasarita Padottanasana C / Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

Benefits 

  • Stretches the back and inside of the legsOpens the hips
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and chest
  • Grounds and calms the mind
  • Can relieve mild backache

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

Prasarita Padottanasana D

Prasarita Padottanasana D / Wide-Legged Forward Bend D

Benefits 

* Stretches the back and inside of the legs
* Opens the hips
* Stretches the spine
* Grounds you and calms the mind
* Can relieve mild backache

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Prithvi

Prithvi is a Sanskrit term and menas earth. Earth is part of the five elements, of which the physical universe is composed off. Earth in our body represents everything that is dense and solid. Think of bones, teeth, muscles and fat. Earth is related to the sense of smell.

Purvottanasana

Purvottanasana / Upward Plank Pose

Benefits

  • Stretches the front of the shoulders, the chest and the front of the ankles
  • Strengthens the arms, core, legs and back
  • Excellent counterpose for chaturanga dandasana

View an image and a step-by-step description of this Yoga pose.

 

 

Q

Quadriceps

The quadriceps is the large muscle at the front of your thigh.

The function of the quadriceps is to extend the knee.
In yoga, you’ll hear these phrases a lot: “lift the quadriceps up” or “engage your quadriceps.” This helps to:

• Keep the kneecap in alignment.
• Bring the pelvis into the right position.
• Strengthen the legs, because strong legs mean a healthy back.

Try this: When you stand in the mountain pose firm and then pull the quadriceps up with your hands, toward your hips. When yoga teachers say, “Engage your quadriceps,” “lift your quadriceps up” or “engage your thighs,” this is the feeling to aim for, only without using your hands.
 

R

Restorative Yoga

 In restorative Yoga, the idea is to promote deep relaxation while holding the poses for longer periods of time, commonly with the help of props (blankets, blocks, bolsters, pillows).

The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, promoting relaxation, which helps balance and heal the body.

This practice is great to balance an active yoga schedule or to give yourself a break when you feel under the weather.

Find out more about this in our Yoga Styles - Restorative Yoga page
Watch a video of Restorative Yoga

S

Sacrum

Your sacrum is situated at the base of your spine. It is triangular, and attached to the bottom of it is your tailbone, or coccyx.

Salabhasana

Salabhasana / Locust Pose

Benefits 

* Strengthens the back muscles
* Stretches the front of the body
* Improves stamina
* Opens the chest
* Stimulates abdominal organs

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba Sarvangasana / Supported Shoulderstand Pose

Benefits 

  • Queen of the Yoga-asanas
  • Stretches the shoulders and neck
  • Cooling, calming, quiets the nervous system
  • Reduces fluid retention in the legs and feet
  • Regulates and normalizes elimination
  • Nourishes the thyroid and parathyroid with blood
  • Reduces fatigue and can help improve sleep
  • Improves digestion

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Salamba Sirsasana

Salamba Sirsasana / Supported Headstand

Benefits 

*  Draws fresh blood into the upper body while stimulating drainage and  circulation to the legs
*  When properly practiced, effectively counters upper back and neck problems
*  Quiets the mind and so prepares you for meditation
*  Strengthens the arms, legs and back
* Strengthens the core
*  Heats up the upper back;  you can do headstand as a preparation for back  bends
*  Relieves mild depression

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

 

Samavritti Ratio

Samavritti Ratio is a pranayama technique used to equalize the four components of the breath. 

To find out more about it and for a guided practice read "The Square Breath - Samavritti Ratio"

Samavritti Ratio

Samavritti Ratio is a pranayama technique used to equalize the four components of the breath. 

To find out more about it and for a guided practice read "The Square Breath - Samavritti Ratio"

Sanskrit

Sanskrit is an ancient Indic language of India, in which the Hindu scriptures and classical Indian epic poems are written, it is also the language of yoga and ayurveda.

Savasana

Savasana is one of the most important parts of a Yoga practice. Savasana/Relaxation is particularly helpful after a yoga class to help assimilate any changes brought on in your practice.... Read More

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana / Bridge Pose

Benefits 

* Stretches neck, chest, and spine
* Strengthens legs, upper back
* Improves digestion
* Reduces backache and headache
* Calms the mind, relieves mild depression
* Can help to open the sinuses

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Bridge Pose.

Shala

Shala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘house’ or ‘home’. The term is used in Ashtanga yoga to mean a house of yoga, that is, a yoga studio.

Sitali

Sitali is a Pranayama technique that can help to cool the body. It also adds moisture to the system and soothes a Pitta imbalance. Read More

Sitting bones

These are the two bones that extend out of the pelvis in your buttocks. If you sit straight on a firm surface and rock forward and backward or from side to side, your sitting bones are the two knobby bones you feel sticking out.

Somatics and Yoga

You’ll see that some of our videos include somatic exercises and techniques. Somatics is not a different style of yoga but rather a movement therapy, a way of re-educating the way our brain senses and moves the muscles. It is an incredibly subtle but effective way of working with the body. We have yoga classes which are influenced by somatics as well as somatic exercises you can use alongside your yoga practice.

Read more

Stress

Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from our reality. Whether it's from an outside source or caused by or own behaviours or attitudes.
To read more about this neurological response read "Fight or Flight Versus Rest and Digest" 

Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations / Surya Namaskara is a sequence of asanas. This invigorating yang sequence is a very popular sequence used by teachers all over the world. To learn more about Surya Namaskara and it's origions read "The Origin of the Sun Salutation" 

Supta Padangustasana

Supta Padangustasana / Reclining Big Toe Pose

Benefits 

* Stretches the back of the legs, the hips, and lower spine
* Balances the nervous system and calms the mind
* Improves digestion
* Relieves lower back ache, menstrual pains, and sciatica
* Restores energy
* Strengthens the muscles around the knees

Viewan image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

T

Tadasana

Tadasana / Mountain Pose

Benefits 

*  Helps to strengthen the legs
*  You can easily identify imbalances in the body
*  Helps easily identify imbalances in the body: An imbalance in the body disrupts the flow of energy (prana), causing muscular and postural compensation
*  Improves posture
*  Prepares the body for all other standing poses

View an image and a step by step instruction of the Mountain Pose.

Tailbone

The little bone at the end of your spine. Pointing your tailbone down helps to align the pelvis.

 

Tapas

Tapas is a Sanskrit term that translates as 'discipline' or 'heat' 
To understand the concept of Tapas a little better read Irina's article on "Stability Leads to Freedom"

Thai Massage

Thai Massage was created long ago to help relieve the feelings of stuck energy from hours of seated meditation and has since evolved into many lineages, techniques and forms that support mobility of joints, flexibility of muscles and the movement of energy through the various energy lines in the body.

Read more about it in David's article "The sacred Dance of Healing Touch"

Try it out with his program "Thai Massage"

U

Upavishta Konasana

Upavishta Konasana / Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Benefits 

* Stretches the back and the insides of the legs
* Opens the hips and back of the body
* Stimulates the abdominal organs
* Makes you happy and relaxed!
* Strengthens the spine

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana / Upward Bow Pose or Wheel Pose

Benefits 

*  Strengthens arms, wrists, upper back, spine, and thighs
*  Opens the shoulders, chest/lungs, groins, front of the thighs
*  Increases energy and counteracts depression
*  Therapeutic for backpain, depression, low energy, asthma, osteoporosis,     infertility

View an image and a step-by-step description of the Wheel Pose.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog Pose

Benefits 

* Opens the heart, chest and lungs
* Stretches your upper back and the whole front of the body
* Strengthens  wrists, arms, shoulders, spine
* Can relieve sciatica, mild depression, and fatigue
* Can be very therapeutic for asthma because it stretches the lungs and chest
* Counteracts bad posture

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Ustrasana

Ustrasana / Camel pose

Benefits:

  • Opens the belly, chest, heart, shoulders and upper back.
  • Stretches the whole front of the body including ankles, thighs and groin.
  • Strengthens the legs and back.
  • Improves your posture.
  • Stimulates the organs in the belly 

 

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Camel pose
 

 

Utkatasana

Utkatasana / Powerful Pose / Chair Pose

Benefits 

* Strengthens the muscles of the legs
* Strengthens the pelvis
* Strengthens the lower back
* Stabilizes the knee joints
* Opens and stretches the abdomen, diaphragm, and heart
* Stretches the shoulders

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Chair Pose.

Uttanasana

Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend

Benefits 

*  Stretches the back of the legs, the hips and spine
*  Strengthens the legs, thighs, and knees
*  Balances the nervous system, calms the mind, relieves stress and mild depression
*  Improves digestion, stimulates the liver and kidneys
*  Relieves tension in the lower back

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana / Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose

Benefits 

* Opens and strengthens the hips
* Strengthens the legs and ankles
* Increases flexibility in the legs
* Improves concentration
* Improves balance

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana / Extended Side Angle Pose

Benefits 

* Opens the hip joints, stretches the groins
* Releases the shoulders and neck
* Trims the waist
* Strengthens and stretches the legs, ankles and knees
* Opens the chest and lungs and increases stamina

Viewr an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Utthita Trikonasana

Utthita Trikonasana / Extended Triangle Pose

Benefits 

*  Strengthens the legs and back
*  Stretches inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, chest, and opens  hips
*  Helps to relieve back pain
*  Energize, balances and focuses you

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

V

Vayu

Vayu means air and is part of the five elements, of which the physical universe is composed off. Air is about movement, all empty spaces are filled with air and air flows freely through the body. Air controls the breathing and fills the cells with oxygen. The skin is the related sense organ.

Vinyasa Krama

Vinyasa Krama means a step by step progression into something, or to a certain goal. A goal in most cases being a complex or advanced asana (posture).

Find out more about Vinyasa Krama in our article "What is Vinyasa Krama?"

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa means “movement linked with breath.” Postures are strung together in a short or longer flow.

This style of Yoga is often quite dynamic, which requires the mind to stay focused in the present to be able to keep up.

This keeps you from drifting off and helps you to be present in your body rather than stuck in your head.

Read more about Vinyasa yoga on our Yoga Styles - Vinyasa Yoga page. 

Viparita Virabhadrasana

Viparita Virabhadrasana / Reversed Warrior Pose

Benefits 

* Stretches the side body
* Opens the chest
* Strengthens the legs
* Opens the hips, groin, and inner thighs

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II / Warrior II Pose

Benefits

* Opens hips
* Stretches inner thighs, groin, chest, lungs, and shoulders
* Strengthens legs
* Correct painful conditions around sacrum
* Increases stamina

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Warrior ll Pose.

Virasana

Virasana / Hero Pose

Benefits 

* Stretches ankles, knees, and legs
* Stimulates digestion; great after a big meal!
* Calming
* Energizes the legs when they are tired

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of this Yoga pose.

Vrksasana

Vrksasana / Tree Pose

Benefits 

* Improves balance
* Opens the hips
* Strengthens the ankles, legs and spine
* Lengthens the spine
* Improves focus/ concentration

View an image and a step-by-step instruction of the Tree Pose.

Y

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga targets the deeper tissues of the body - ligaments, joints and bones- rather than the muscles.

Yin Yoga uses specific poses that can be held for longer periods of time, from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the pose. Because you’re holding the pose longer, it’s harder to stay present, to keep your mind alert.

This practice is challenging and almost like a meditation.

It’s very enjoyable, and it balances the yang yoga practices, which are focused more on muscle energy.

Read more about Yin Yoga here. 
 

Yoga belts or Yoga straps

Yoga belts or Yoga straps can help your body to be more comfortable in certain poses.

Yoga block

A Yoga block is mostly made from foam, which makes it comfortable and sturdy. It is useful in sitting postures to raise your hips, making it easier to sit with a straight back. Yoga blocks are also used for cushioning the body in inverted poses such as headstands or shoulder stands.

Yoga mat

A good Yoga mat is essential. When doing Yoga, your stability is important. Imagine doing exercises and having your hands or feet slip!

So, you need a mat with an anti-slip surface. For your Yoga mat to be comfortable, it needs to be big enough to allow you to move into a variety of poses (asanas) without needing to use the floor too much. The recommended width for a Yoga mat is 60 cm, or 2 feet. A standard length is 180 cm, or 6 feet.

The recommended thickness of a Yoga mat is between 3 mm and 6 mm. The thicker the mat, the more comfortable, but mats thicker than 6 mm will compromise stability for standing poses.

Yoga Sutras

One of the most important collections of writings about Yoga, written by Patanjali. These writings consist of 196 sutras (aphorisms). The Sutras describe the philosophical basis of Yoga. A path to Enlightenment.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy is the application of yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing specific health challenges.  Although yoga has been practised therapeutically for thousands of years, Yoga Therapy has now started to emerge as a discipline of its own. A Yoga Therapist will tailor practices for different health conditions, bringing in techniques from various different styles and branches of yoga. These conditions can range from physical ailments through to emotional distress.

Read More

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