Our Favourite Yoga Postures Named After Animals

If you’ve taken a yoga class, you will notice that many of the positions or “asanas” are named after creatures found in nature. Our resident yogini Jana Webb demonstrates some or her favourite animal-named postures and the benefits they bestow on your body.

Downward Facing Dog

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Come into a plank position, bend your knees, and push your bum up and back like a dog having a big stretch, while keeping your spine straight.

Benefits:

  • Builds strength in arms, shoulders and legs
  • Prevents bone degeneration
  • Inversion poses bring blood to brain, improving brain activity and awareness

Read More: Basic Yoga for a Stronger Spine

Cobra

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Lie down on your belly and push your upper body off the floor with your hands, like a serpent ready to strike.

Benefits:

  • Opens shoulders and chest
  • Improves posture and spine degeneration
  • Improves function of the liver, spleen and adrenals
  • Stretches the thyroid, helps to flush the kidneys and regulate blood pressure

Watch More: Tension-Busting Yoga

Locust Pose

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Lie on your belly and stretch and raise your legs behind you and arms in front, while raising your upper body off the floor and bringing a slight curve to your mid-lower back.

Benefits:

  • Compresses and stretches the thymus gland — helps with emotional release and depression
  • Improves and helps prevent arthritis of the spine
  • Helps core strength — stretches and strengthens mid-back
  • Massages all internal organs

Read More: The 7 Essential Chakras in Your Body

Camel Pose

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Stand on your knees, putting weight on your toes, like a camel about to recline. Reach your arms behind you and place your hands on your ankles or the soles of your feet and let your head fall back, stretching your throat.

Benefits:

  • Opens Chest and strengthens back and shoulders
  • Brings fresh blood to the kidneys — eliminates toxins from the body
  • Helps restore flexibility to stiff toes and feet
  • Improves mental clarity and memory
  • Stimulates central nervous system, relieves constipation
  • Trims waist line by stretching abdomen

Read More: Fat-Burning Yoga

Eagle

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The grace of the eagle depends on the balance from its third eye chakra, enhancing your inner vision that can spot details (like a mouse in a field) from miles above.

Benefits:

  • Great for joint maintenance and balance
  • Helps to flush kidneys
  • Releases and generates energy in male an female reproductive organs
  • improves sexual vitality — helps prostate problems

Watch More: Exercises for Better Sex

Crane

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You won’t find this balancing posture in restorative or beginner classes, but once you’ve built up to it, it’s a graceful, centering pose.

Benefits:

  • Improves strength of wrists and shoulders
  • Improves core strength
  • Helps with getting over fears by being upside down
  • Pressure to abdomen brings blood flow to the abdominal wall, revitalizing the liver, spleen, pancreas

Read More: Awesome Arms Workout

Cat Pose

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All fours on floor, inhale in your lower belly and arch your back like an angry cat while pushing into your hands. Exhale and release spine to neutral. Do this for 5-7 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Builds in flexibility into spine itself.
  • Stretches spine,  improves flexibility
  • Reduces tension and stress headaches

Read More: Yoga for Aches and Pains

 

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