Yoga has been practiced for centuries. The purpose of practicing yoga is to increase physical strength, flexibility and overall well-being. Yoga helps to reduce stress and tension and can also benefit the mind and spirit. There are many different types of yoga, each with its own set of poses. Sanskrit is an ancient language associated with yoga and is used to name many postures.
Tadasana is also known as the Mountain Pose in English. This yoga pose is a good starting point for other poses. Tadasana asks the practitioner to stand tall and draw their feet together. Arms are at the side, and the crown of the head reaches for the sky. This pose can be repeated several times during a yoga session.
Vrksasana in English is known as the Tree pose. This pose asks the practitioner to stand tall and draw the right foot to the upper inner calf or the inner thigh. Arms are placed above the head in the shape of praying hands or touching the earth. The body is balanced, with the torso and the forehead facing forward. Tree pose is a very challenging posture and can take some practice for the beginner.
Uttanasana is the Forward Bend in English. This pose brings a feeling of release to the body. Practitioners come to standing, then hinge at the hip joint, drawing their hands to the floor. The focus is placed on drawing the navel toward the spine. This pose brings relief to the back and releases tightness in the body.
Natarajasana is the King Dancer Pose in English. This pose brings a great deal of challenge, even for the advanced practitioner. It requires a tremendous amount of balance and strength. To practice this pose, one stands tall then balances on the right foot, lifting the left foot off the floor and extending back. Arms are reaching for the sky focusing on the center of the chest. The back foot is curled into the calf.
Practicing these traditional poses of yoga can bring about a lot of benefits physically, mentally and spiritually. The Sanskrit names give each pose a depth and connection to yogic tradition, and appreciating that can deepen the postures and an individual’s practice.