Yoga Postures and Their Meanings

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi, you can benefit from learning about yoga poses and their meanings. This will help you understand the deeper significance of the yoga postures and help you practice them with greater ease.

Bridge pose is a gentle backbend that improves spine mobility, and also strengthens shoulders and neck. It also helps stretch hips, ankles and knees.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose, also known as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Sanskrit, strengthens and stretches the back muscles while opening the chest. It can also improve lung function and help relieve back pain, anxiety and fatigue. It can also stimulate abdominal organs and aid digestion.

People with back or neck injuries should avoid this pose unless under the supervision of a trained trainer. Doing this pose while in a state of injury can cause worsen the conditions and delay healing.


Bhujangasana, also known as cobra pose, strengthens the back muscles and improves posture. It opens the chest and helps to reduce lower back pain with regular practice. It also strengthens the abdominal and spine muscles, improving digestion and relieves gynecological problems like PMS.

Be careful when doing this pose to avoid placing too much pressure on the lower back. Beginners should try “baby cobra” to help ease into this backbend.

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose is a strengthening and lengthening pose that strengthens the thighs, groin and hips and opens the chest. It can also improve posture, stimulate abdominal organs and increase circulation.

To do this pose, stand with your feet together, then extend one side of the body over the other leg. Rest the bottom arm either on the leg or a block and rotate the ribcage towards the ceiling. Do not compress the neck and look down at your chin — it can cause strain.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is one of the most recognizable yoga poses. It creates length in the back and shoulders and develops strength in the wrists and arms.

It can be a challenge for beginners because of the way the feet are positioned. Beginners often mistakenly think the feet should be as wide as the mat, but they should be hip distance apart.

The pose should be avoided by those with injuries to the back, neck or arms and by those with high blood pressure.

Upward Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or upward dog, is a back-bending posture that strengthens the upper body. It also provides relief from fatigue, depression and anxiety. It is also a great warm-up for more advanced backbends.

To do this pose, lie in prone position with your feet hip-width apart and untuck the toes. Press the tops of the feet into the mat to activate the legs. Raise the chest, lengthening through the spine and moving the shoulders away from the ears.

Warrior II

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) is a strengthening and stabilizing standing pose that helps open the hips. It also helps prepare the body for other externally rotated poses, such as Triangle Pose and Half Moon Pose.

To begin, stand with your feet at a distance of about 31/2 to 41/2 feet apart. For stability, push down on the outer edge of your back foot and balance your weight evenly between both feet.

Keep your front knee soft and bend the back leg to about 90 degrees. This will help protect the knee from strain.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) is a deep hip stretch that also strengthens the knee and groin area. It’s also a great preparation pose for backbends and seated yoga postures.

Beginners often struggle with the positioning of the hips in this pose, which limits their flexibility. If the front leg twists too far, it puts asymmetrical stress on the knee joint and can lead to pain or injury.

To avoid this, try lowering your torso over the bent front leg instead of bending forward. This will decrease the intensity of the stretch and prevent your hips from twisting too much.


Plank Pose is a great way to strengthen the core, improve posture and build balance. It can also be used to help relieve back pain as it builds strength in the muscles that support the spine.

Position your hands on the floor, with the wrists aligned directly under the shoulders. Hold the pose for 30 seconds or as long as you can. Individuals with sensitive wrists or carpal tunnel may want to consider modifying the pose with knees on the floor to protect the wrists.