Basic ashtanga yoga pose categories include:
Further categories could include:
These move between standing poses and belly down poses.
Then from there the focus is on standing poses, some of them balancing on one foot poses like Big Toe Pose, then seated poses, most of them seated forward bends or hamstring stretches, and supine (belly up) poses, followed by some inverted yoga poses, namely headstand and shoulderstand.
A closer look at sun salutations shows that they include backward and forward bending spine actions. So for example, the first movement of each sun salutation, lifting the arms, can be accompanied by a backward bend of the spine. Also, upward dog involves a backward bend of the spine. Meanwhile, The second movement, bending forwards, can involve a forwards bending of the spine.
They also include backward and forward bending hip actions. The main backward bending hip action happens in upward dog. Forward bending hip actions occur in the standing forward bends, chair pose (at the beginning of sun salutation b) and in downward dog pose.
As for the standing poses, they include a mix of bent and straight knee poses, as well as asymmetrical poses with the legs spread front to back (longitudinal standing poses) and then side to side (lateral standing poses).
The lateral asymmetrical poses are noteworthy because in these poses, triangle and side angle, the hip is bent to the side with the thigh turned out (or if you prefer, externally rotated.)
The seated poses are mainly forward bends for the hips. A lot of these are asymmetrical with one leg straight and the other knee bent. But, the bent knee leg is taken through a wide variety of bent knee positions.
These include positions with the shin folded to the inside of the thigh and to the outside of the thigh.
As an example, the first two asymmetrical seated poses are a lotus pose variation which folds the foot to the inside of the thigh and a hero pose variation which folds the foot to the outside of the thigh.
If you look closely at the ashtanga primary series with a discerning eye you'll see that a lot of similarities between the standing poses and the seated or supine poses. It's almost as if the seated part of the series is just the standing poses done sitting down.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
PDF or Video
Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.
Here's a break down of the steps of Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A to make this sun salutation easier to learn and remember.
A reclining psoas stretch I learned from a Richard Freeman Workshop. The better you understand your anatomy the easier it is to work on your body effectively.
The hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch and improve flexibility of the hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.