Yoga gives us strength, energy, and consciousness, paving the way to connect with our inner nature.
While Yoga has numerous Asanas (Poses), incidentally many of these practices and yoga poses are inspired by Nature, specifically its wonderful beings – Animals.
Many of these Asanas are prefixed with the Sanskrit names of the beings from which it is inspired.
Animal and Yoga Poses
Here is a compilation of yoga poses that are inspired by Animals with a brief description and benefits.
Camel Pose – Ustrasana
In this pose, the practitioner has to kneel down and bend his torso backward to touch the two feet. Ustrasana comes from the Sanskrit word ustra means camel.
Camel pose is a great stretching exercise that improves posture and strengthens back muscles.
Cat Pose – Marjaryasana and Cow Pose – Bitilasana
Cat pose and Cow pose are similar in that practitioners have to come in a cat-like position (on all fours) and the knees should be directly under your hips and your palms facing down under your shoulders.
Cat pose and Cow pose are easy Yoga exercises and bring flexibility to the spine.
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Cobra pose or Bhujangasana is an easy pose that is also part of Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar), where the practitioner needs to lie down on their abdomen and slowly lift their torso using the support of the hands.
Bhujangasana comes from the word bhujanga meaning cobra. Cobra pose is a good exercise to tone your abdomen and improve blood circulation.
Crane Pose – Bakasana and Crow Pose – Kakasana
Bakasana (Crane Pose) and Kakasana (Crow Pose) look similar, in that the practitioner needs to lift his entire body using his hands, but the way the body is lifted is different in both poses.
Bakasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Baka meaning Crane, this practice while Kakasana comes from the Sanskrit word kaka meaning Crow. The yoga postures improve balance and core strength.
Dolphin Pose – Ardha Pincha Mayurasana and Downward-Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) are similar. The practitioner needs to make an inverted V shape with their body, by lifting their torso from the middle.
In Dolphin Pose, you can use the forearms to rest on the ground, while in Downward-Facing Dog Pose, the palm of your hands will be supporting your body.
These Yoga Poses strengthens the shoulders, arms, upper body, and legs.
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
Eagle Pose is done in the standing position, by bending your knee and making a peculiar shape with both your hands.
Garudasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Garuda, loosely meaning Eagle. This Yoga Pose improves balance and strengthens your calf muscles.
Firefly Pose – Tittibhasana
Firefly Pose is similar to Crane Pose, where the practitioner needs to lift his entire body using his hands and extend his legs forward.
The name Tittibhasana comes from the Sanskrit word Tittibha which means small insect, fly, or firefly. This Yoga posture strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
Fish Pose – Matsyasana
In the FIsh Pose, the practitioner needs to lie on his back and lift the torso a little upward by rising up on the elbows and drawing the shoulders back.
Matsyasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Matsya which means Fish. The Fish pose helps to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.
Half Frog Pose – Ardha Bhekasana
For the Half frog pose the practitioner needs to make the Cobra Pose and then slowly bend one of their legs from their knees so that it touches the same side of the buttock. You can use your hands to hold the position.
The Half Frog pose strengthens the back while gently opening up the shoulders, chest, and thighs
Monkey Pose – Hanumanasana
Monkey Pose is similar to a leg split where the practitioner needs to stretch both their legs to make it closer to 180 degrees.
Hanumansana is derived from the Sanskrit word Hanuman which is the name of the Hindu God. Monkey Pose stretches help to strengthen your abdominal organs.
Peacock Pose – Mayurasana
In the Peacock Pose, the practitioner needs to lift their body using the strength of their hands resting on the palms such that the body becomes parallel to the ground.
Mayurasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Mayur which means Peacock. Peacock Pose strengthens the core muscles, arms, and thighs.
Pigeon Pose – Kapotasana
In the Pigeon Pose, the practitioner needs to move one of their legs behind and the other leg in front, such that it makes an L shape.
Kapotasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Kapota which means Piegon. Pigeon Pose increases flexibility and opens the hips area.
Yoga and Nature beings
Apart from animals, yoga poses are inspired by Nature’s creations as well. Here is a list of yoga poses that are inspired by other natural things in the environment.
Lotus Pose – Padmasana
Lotus Pose is a meditative pose where the practitioner needs to sit comfortably with spine erect, crossing their legs, and hand resting on their knees.
Padmasana is derived from the Sanskrit word the Padma which means Lotus. Regular practice of Lotus Pose relaxes the mind and brings blood pressure under control.
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
In the Mountain Pose, the practitioner needs to stand upright with feet facing forward parallel to each other. Then as you inhale, you need to raise your arms above your head and interlock your fingers with palms facing upwards.
Tadasana is derived from the Sanskrit word tada meaning mountain. Mountain Pose enhances stability and fosters inner strength.
Tree Pose – Vrikshasana
Tree Pose is a common asana, the practitioner needs to stand upright and bring the sole of one of the feet to touch the side of the thigh of the other leg.
Virkshasana is derived from the Sanskrit word the Vriksha which means Tree. Tree Pose can improve your balance and posture.
If you are a beginner Yoga Poses should be done taking full precaution and under the guidance of a Yoga teacher. In the Yoga pose, a lot of focus is on breathing and the right posture, hence it is important that the practitioner follows the instructions of a coach.
The purpose of this article is only to arouse the interest of all animal and nature lovers in Yoga and its benefits.
We have created a short video that showcases Animal inspired Yoga poses, you can view it on Change Started YouTube channel and share it with your friends to inspire them to start their Yoga journey.