The Sanskrit word karna means ear and the prefix "a" means near to or towards. Dhanur means bow-shaped, curved or bent. The "bow" here referred to is a bow as in "bow and arrow." Literally we could translate this as the near-the-ear bow posture but because of the obvious appearance of the posture we'll call it the shooting bow posture.
Pronunciation: ah-car-nah da-noor ah-sa-na
1.   Sit on the floor with the legs together and extended straight out in front.
2.   Keep the back straight, shoulders level and head straight. Place the hands, palms down, flat on top of the         thighs then inhale deeply.
3.  Exhale and reach down and loop the fore finger of the right hand around the big toe of the right foot and             grasp the left foot with the left hand. 4.  Inhale and pull the right foot back placing the big toe next to the right ear. 5.  Straighten the back as much s possible and hold the posture for the duration of the inhale breath. 6.  Exhale and return to the seated position of step #1 then repeat the posture on the opposite side.
Ardha means half. Matsyendra is one of many Siddhas or masters who where accomplished Yogis mentioned in the medieval Yoga text the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika. This posture posture is traditionally called the Spinal Twist because the spinal column is twisted gently.
Sit in any comfortable cross-legged position. 1.   Straighten the legs out in front. Bend the right knee and bring the heel of the right foot close to the left hip. 2.   Inhale and bend the left knee upward and place the left foot flat on the floor to the right of the right leg with       the ankle touching the right thigh. 3.   While turning the spine to the left straighten the right arm bringing it around to the outside of the left knee         and grasp the left foot with the right hand. 4.   Turn your head as far as possible to the left and bend the left arm behind your back.       Keep your spine, neck and head aligned and continue to exert effort at turning to the left. 5.   Repeat the posture the other side by reversing directions 2-6.
The Sanskrit word baddha means a bond, chain, caught or restrained. The word pada means foot, and kona means corner or angle therefore this is the restrained-foot-angle posture.
1.   Sit on the floor with the legs together and extended straight out in front.       Keep the back straight, shoulders level and head straight. Place the hands, palms down, flat on top of the         thighs then inhale deeply. 2.   Exhale and bend the knees drawing the feet toward the torso. 3.   Place the soles of the feet together, clasp the hands over the feet interlocking the fingers pulling the feet           closer and placing the heels against the perineum. The outer edge and small toe of each foot should                 touch the floor. 4.  Lower the knees to the floor and keep the back straight. Use the elbows to press down on the thighs if             necessary to bring the calves and knees to the floor. Hold the posture breathing gently through the nostrils. 5.   Release the posture and sit with the legs extended out and hands on the thighs.
The Sanskrit word bala means child. "As inumerable cups full of water, many reflections of the sun are seen, but the sun is the same; similarly individuals, like cups, are inumerable, but spirit, like the sun, is one." The Shiva-samhita I.35 II.42-43.
1.   Sit on your knees with your feet together and buttocks resting on your heels. Separate your knees about           the width of your hips. 2.   Place your hands on your thighs, palms down. (This is the vajra-asana or Thunderbolt Pose). 3.   Inhale deeply, then exhale as you bring your chest between your knees while swinging your arms forward. 4.   Rest your forehead on the floor, if possible, and then bring your arms around to your sides until the hands         on resting on either side of your feet, palms up. 5.   Breath gently through your nostrils as you hold the posture. Hold for about one to two minutes. Then return       to upright kneeling position with your back straight and your hands on your thighs. 6.   Repeat the posture at least one more time.
The Sanskrit word garuda means eagle. In Hindu mythology Garuda is known as the king of birds. He transports the God Vishnu (shown with a bow and arrow in the illustration to the left) and is said to be eager to help humanity fight againt deamons. "Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the right side, makes Gomukha-asana, having the appearance of a cow." Hatha-yoga-pradipika I.22
1.   Sit in a crossed-leg position, right leg over left. 2.   Spread the legs as far apart as possible without bending the knees. 3.   Bend the left knee and place the bottom of the left foot against the inner left thigh. 4.   Bring the left heel as close to the perineum as possible. Keep the left knee on the floor. 5.   Grasp the right foot with the left hand and keeping the foot on the floor. 6.   Place the heel of the right foot against the front-left portion of the left buttock. 7.   The right knee should be directly on top of the left knee. 8.   Inhale slowly through the nostrils and raise the right hand over the head and bend the right elbow. Reach         behind the back with the left hand and clasp the fingers of both hands (forming an "s" shaped lock). 9.   Hold the posture as long as you can comfortably hold the inhale breath. Exhale slowly and then repeat the         posture reversing the arms and legs.
1.   Sit on the floor with the legs stretched out straight in front. 2.   Bend the right knee and grasp the right foot with both hands . 3.   Place it on top of the left thigh bringing the heel as close to the navel as possible. 4.   Bend the left knee and grasp the left foot with both hands. 5.   place it on top of the right thigh bringing the heel as close to the navel as possible. 6.   Both knees should be on the ground and the soles of the feet are pointed upward. 7.   The spine is held straight but not rigid. 8.   The position of the legs may be switched after a period of time if the posture becomes uncomfortable.
The Sanskrit word siddha means accomplished or adept, one who has attained the highest. The name implies the attainment of a perfectly stilled mind and the experience of peace that results from meditation. The siddha-asana is a recommended pose for meditation.
1.   Begin in a seated posture. Bend the left knee and grasp the left foot with both hands. 2.   place the heel against the perineum and the sole of the foot against the inside of the right thigh. 3.   Exhale and reach down and loop the forefinger of the right hand around the big toe of the right foot. 4.   Grasp the left foot with the left hand. 5.   Bend the right knee, grasp the right foot with both hands and place the outside edge of the right foot. 6.   Where the calf and thigh of the left leg meet, right ankle over left ankle. 7.   The heel of the right foot should line up approximately with the navel and be as close to the pubic area as       possible. 8.   With palms up, place the hands on the knees, form a circle with the thumb and forefinger and extend the       remaining fingers straight ahead.
The Sanskrit word ushtra means camel.
1.   Sit up on the knees with the heels of the feet pressed against the buttocks and the calves of the legs flat       on the floor. 2.   Reaching backward, grasp the left ankle with the left hand and right ankle with the right hand. 3.   Inhale through the nostrils and lift the buttocks off the legs arching the back and thrusting the abdomen       forward and tilt the head as far back as possible. 4.   Either hold the posture for the duration of the inhale breath or breath gently through the nostrils while       holding the posture. 5.   Exhale and return to the kneeling position.
The Sanskrit word vajra means thunderbolt or diamond
1.   The vajra-asana is a seated posture. Begin by sitting back on your heels and placing your knees, legs and       feet together. 2.   Keeping the back straight place the palms of your hands down on top of your thights. 3.   Breath gently thorugh your nostrils and sit in this position for at least three minutes.
The Sanskrit word vira means hero, brave or eminent man, or warrior
1.   Kneel on the floor with the calves and tops of the feet flat on the floor and the thighs touching. 2.   Slowly spread the feet, about shoulder distance apart, while keeping the knees together. 3.   Place the buttocks flat on the floor. The outer sides of the thighs are touching the inner sides of the calves       and the soles of the feet are exposed facing up. 4.   Place the hands palms downs, on the knees and form a circle with the thumb and forefinger (in the       chin-mudra) while pointing the other fingers straight ahead. 5.   Breath slowly and deeply through the nostrils and remain motionless for six complete breaths (an inhale       and exhale is one complete breath). 6.   Inhale slowly and stretch the arms straight up over the head and interlock the fingers with the palms       pushed upward. Remain in this position for six complete breaths. 7.   Exhale slowly, release the fingers and slowly bend forward at the waist while placing the palms of the       hands flat on the soles of the feet. Place the chin between the knees. 8.   Hold this position for the duration of six complete breaths.Inhale, raise the chest up, stretch the legs       straight ahead and place the hands, palms down, on top of the thighs.
The Sanskrit word simha which literally means "the powerful one" is the word for "lion." This, therefore is known as the lion posture, and one performing it can be said to resemble a roaring lion about to attack.
1.   Sit up on the knees with the heels of the feet pressed against the buttocks and the calves of the legs flat      on the floor. 2.   Place the balls of the hands on the knees, straighten the arms and keep the back erect and the head       straight (not tilted forward, back, to the left or the right). 3.   Inhale while leaning forward slightly, stretching the mouth the jaws as wide as possible, extend the tongue       out and downward as much as possible. 4.   Fix your gaze either at the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows and stretch the fingers straight out      from the knees. 5.   Hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath then exhale, relaxing the forward stretch, dropping       the fingers to the knees and closing the mouth and eyes.
The Sanskrit word sirsha means head. This posture is the well- known headstand posture, and perhaps second only to the padma-asana or lotus posture, is widely identified with the practice of Yoga.
1.   Sit in a kneeling position with the buttocks resting on the heels of the feet. 2.   Lean forward and place the forearms on the floor in front. 3.   While keeping the elbows about shoulder distance apart. Interlock the fingers of both hands. 4.   Place the top of the head flat on the floor with the back of the head pressed against the inside of the       interlocked fingers. 5.   Placing the tips of the toes firmly on the floor while lifting the heels, raise the knees off the floor. 6.   Hold for the duration of the held inhaled breath. When you can't hold the breath comfortable any longer, 7.   Slowly exhale and return the back to the floor, slide the legs out straight returning to the shava-asana.
The Sanskrit word ardha means "half," and the word Chandra means "moon," thus, this is the "half moon" posture.
1.   Stand in the tada-asana Stand with both feet touching from the heel to the big toe, 2.   Keeping the back straight and the arms pressed slightly against the sides with palms facing inward. 3.   Bring the hands together at the chest with palms lightly pressed against each other (the Anjali-mudra). 4.   Inhale and raise the arms straight up keeping the palms pressed lightly together. 5.   Arch your body backwards keeping your arms alongside your neck and head, 6.   Tilt the head backward and hold. Keep your knees straight while holding posture. 7.   Slowly return to the tada-asana
The Sanskrit word tri means three and kona means corner or angle. Thus "three corner or three angle posture" is often called the triangle posture. This posture is also known as the utthita trikona-asana. Utthita means stretched or extended thus this is the Extended Triangle Pose.
1.   Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tada-asana). 2.   Separate the feet slightly further than shoulder distance apart. 3.   Inhale and raise both arms straight out from the shoulders parallel to the floor with the palms facing down. 4.   Exhale slowly while turning the torso to the left, 5.   Bend at the waist and bring the right hand down to the left ankle. 6.   The palm of the right hand is placed along the outside of the left ankle. 7.   The left arm should be extended upward. Both legs and arms are kept straight without bending the knees       and elbows. 8.   Turn the head upward to the left and gaze up at the fingertips of the left hand. 9.   Inhale and return to a standing position with the arms outstretched. 10.   Hold this position for the duration of the exhaled breath. 11.   Exhale and repeat steps 4 - 6 on the opposite side.
The Sanskrit word garuda means eagle. In Hindu mythology Garuda is known as the king of birds. He transports the God Vishnu (shown with a bow and arrow in the illustration to the left) and is said to be eager to help humanity fight againt deamons.
1.   Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana (corpse pose). 2.   Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tad-asana). 3.   Draw the left foot upward bending the knee and wrap the left foot around your right leg. 4.   As you rest the back of your left thigh on the right thigh. 5.   Cross your arms at the elbows, left over right. 6.   Join the palms of your hands together keeping the fingers pointed upward. 7.   Inhale and hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath. 8.   Exhale and return to the tada-asana. Repeat the posture on the opposite side, 9.   Wrapping the right leg over the left and the right arm over left.
The Sanskrit word vriksha means tree, thus this is the Tree Posture. "Standing straight on the left leg, bend the right leg and place the right foot on the root of the left thigh. Stand thus like a tree on the ground. This is called vriksha-asana."Gheranda-samhita II.36.
1.   Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tad-asana). 2.   Bend the right leg at the knee, raise the right thigh and bring the sole of the right foot as high up the inside       of the left thigh as possible. 3.   Balancing on the left foot, raise both arms over the head keeping the elbows unbent and joining the palms       together. 4.   Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils for about 10 complete breaths. 5.   Lower the arms and right leg and return to the tad-asana, standing position with feet together and arms at       the sides. 6.   Pause for a few moments and repeat on the opposite leg.
The Sanskrit word nata means dancer and raja means king. Nataraja is another name for Shiva, the Lord of the Dance, whose cosmic dance is the creation and destruction of the world.
1.   Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tad-asana). 2.   Inhale and bend the right leg backward grasping the left foot with your left hand. 3.   While simultaneously extending the right arm straight out in front. 4.   Continue raising the right arm upward until it is about 45 degrees from the floor. 5.   While lifting the left leg as high as possible with the left arm. 6.   Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils. 7.   Keep your gaze fixed slightly above the horizon. 8.   Remain in the nataraja-asana for about one minute then return slowly to a standing position. 9.   Repeat by reversing directions 2-4.
Chakra, from the root cak ("to move") means wheel and therefore this is the Wheel Posture. The cakra-asana is also known as the urdhva-dhanurasana. Urdhva means raised, elevated or upright and dhanur means bow. Both "wheel posture" and "raised bow posture" describe the appearance of this asana.
1.   Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana (corpse pose). 2.   While exhaling bend the knees and bring the feet as close to the buttocks as possible with the soles of the 3.   Bend the arms at the elbows and place the palms of the hands flat on the floor directly       under each shoulder with the fingers pointing toward the back. 4.   While inhaling slowly, begin to raise the head, back and buttocks off the floor while arching the spine. 5.   Continue to press downward on the hands and feet while raising the hips and stomach as high as       possible. 6.   Hold for the duration of the held inhaled breath. 7.   When you can't hold the breath comfortable any longer, slowly exhale and return the back to the floor, slide       the legs out straight returning to the shava-asana.
The Sanskrit word dhanur means bow-shaped, curved or bent. The bow referred is a bow as in "bow and arrow." This asana is so named because the body mimics the shape of a bow with its string stretched back ready to shoot an arrow.
1.   Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana (corpse pose). 2.   Lie on the stomach with the head turned to one side and the arms alongside the body with palms facing       upward. 3.   Turn the head and place the chin on the floor. Exhale, bend the knees, reach back with the arms. 4.   Grasp the right ankle with the right hand and the left ankle with the left hand. 5.   While inhaling, slowly raise the legs by pulling the ankles up and raising the knees off the floor. 6.   While simultaneously lifting the chest off the floor. Hold the inhale breath. 7.   The weight of the body should be resting on the abdomen. 8.   Tilt the head as far back as possible. Hold the posture as long as you can comfortably hold the inhale       breath. 9.   Slowly exhale bringing the knees to the floor, release the ankles, 10.   Slowly bring the legs and arms straight down on the floor and turn the head to one side, assuming the       prone posture you began with.
: The The Sanskrit word Hala means plow, as in a traditional plow that is drawn by a horse or oxen. When performing this posture your body resembles a plow.
1.   Flat on the back in the shava-asana (the corpse pose). 2.   Inhale through the nostrils. Place the palms face-down on the floor. 3.   Keeping the hips on the floor, bend the knees and bring them up toward the stomach while exhaling. 4.   Inhale, then while exhaling, raise the legs straight up perpendicular to the floor. 5.   You may support your hips with your hands or leave the arms flat on the floor, whichever is most       comfortable. 6.   Exhale and continue to raise the legs over the head, bending at the waist, lifting the back and buttocks . 7.   Until the toes touch the floor directly in back of the head. Keep the feet together. 8.   If the lower back is supported by the hands try returning the arms flat to the floor with the palms facing       down. 9.   If you are unable to comfortably place the arms on the floor continue to support the lower back with the       hands. 10.   Keep the knees straight. Breath slowly through the nostrils and hold the posture for several minutes. 11.   If you cannot touch the floor with your toes hold them as close to the floor as possible and continue to       exert effort to lower them. 12.   Reverse the steps to return to the shava-asana.
The Sanskrit word matsya means fish, therefore this is the fish posture. Matsya (depicted to the left) is a divine being, found in Hindu mythology, that saved mankind from a universal flood.
1.   Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana. 2.   Keeping the buttocks on the floor, inhale and raise the head, shoulders, back and upper arms off the floor       arching the back and raising the chest up. 3.   Tilt the head back and place the top of the head flat on the floor. 4.   Raise the elbows off the floor bring your hands up just below the chest and join them at the palms with the       fingers pointing straight up (form the anjali-mudra or salutation hand gesture). 5.   Hold for the duration of the inhale breath or breath gently through the nostrils to remain in the posture       longer. 6.   Return to the shava-asana..
The Sanskrit word sarvaanga means limb or body. sarvanga therefore translates as either "all-limb" or "whole-body posture". It is so named because of the benefit it provides to the entire body. It is commonly referred to as the "shoulder- stand" because one is essentially standing on one's shoulders.
1.   Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana. 2.   Inhale through the nostrils. Place the palms face-down on the floor. 3.   Keeping the hips on the floor, bend the knees and bring them up toward the stomach while exhaling. 4.   Inhale slowly through the nostrils, press down on the hands and lift the torso from the waist up off the floor, 5.   arching the spine backwards and straightening the arms. Keep the hips on the floor. 6.   Inhale, then while exhaling, raise the legs straight up perpendicular to the floor. 7.   You may support your hips with your hands or leave the arms flat on the floor, whichever is most       comfortable. 8.   The legs should be together with the knees straight and toes pointed straight up. 9.   Keep the head straight without turning it to either side. The chin should be pressed against the chest. 10.   Breath gently through the nostrils while the posture is held. 11.   Reverse the steps to return to the shava-asana.
The Sanskrit word Shalabha means locust or grasshopper. There is a variation of this posture called the viparita-shalabha- asana. The Sanskrit word viparita means "reverse." This is an advanced variation not covered here.
1.   Lie on the stomach with the head turned to one side and the arms alongside the body with palms       facing upward. 2.   Turn the head and place your chin on the floor. 3.   Slide your hands under your thighs, with the palms pressed gently against the top of your thighs 4.   Inhale slowly and then raise the head, chest, and legs off the floor as high as possible. 5.   Tilt your head as far back as possible. Keep your feet, knees, and thighs pressed together. 6.   Starting at the top of the head and working your way down to the feet, 7.   Bring your attention to each part of your body, consciously relaxing it before proceeding on to the next. 8.   Remain in the posture while holding the breath. 9.   You can support your legs by pressing the hands upward against your thighs. 10.   Hold the posture for as long as you can hold the inhaled breath . 11.   Slowly return the legs, chest, and head to the floor while exhaling. 12.   Remove your hands from under your thighs and place the arms alongside your body. 13.   Turn your head to the side and rest.