10 Examples of Ashtanga Yoga Poses with Names and Pictures


robably one of the most popular forms of Yoga today and often the foundation for many studios and their creative expansion into new styles, Ashtanga is a series of traditional asanas that are put into sequence with specific lengths of time held in each one and rarely a deviation to the order. 

Article Topics

Where does Ashtanga Yoga come from?

The creation of Ashtanga was the Yogi Pattabhi Jois who influenced and brought yoga to the west.  Pattabhi Jois was a student of the late yoga master Krishnamacharya.

How many poses are there in Ashtanga Yoga?

There are 115 total poses (asanas) in the Primary Series of Ashtanga and of those 48 are considered the core asanas.  The remaining difference are transitional poses used within vinyasa to transition between each of the core asanas. 

10 Examples of Ashtanga Yoga Poses with Names and Picture

While these 10 yoga poses don’t account for the full core 48 poses and especially the full list of 115 used to get all the way through the Ashtanga Primary series these are 10 of the more prominent Ashtanga poses and great ones to start with as a beginner.  

The traditional beginning of an Ashtanga series and often many classes if not from a grounded position.

1. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

A shoulder and heart opener giving length and extension to your spine.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Extended Triangle Pose

2. Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana A)

A staple within Ashtanga using a solid base of each foot pulling in towards the hips and strong arms and gaze skyward. 

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Warrior 1 Pose

3. Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana B)

The second staple in many Vinyasa flow classes and certainly Ashtanga primary series, the Warrior 2 pose is both a transition pose from the front to the back of the mat as well as foundational pose.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Warrior 2 Pose

4. Boat Pose (Navasana)

Often a pose that teases and tests our core which is essential to the entire series. 

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Boat Pose

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

The final and resting pose in not only traditional but many Vinyasa flow series.  Everyone loves Savasana!

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Corpse Pose

6. Plow Pose (Halasana)

Beginning the seated poses in the Ashtanga series the Plow pose uses all three bandhas and opens the airways as well as giving extension through our legs and spine. 

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Plow Pose

7. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

A chest opener allows for a lengthening of the spine, balance and strength in our core. 

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Triangle Pose

8. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Often used to help warm up the legs in Sun Salutations, the chair pose is a home base for the strengthening of our legs and extension of our spine. 

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Chair Pose

9. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

The Pyramid Pose allows us to square off our hips and realign using the weight of our torsos to assist with natural extension through our hamstrings and back.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Pyramid Pose

10. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

One of the most odd and challenging poses for beginners into Ashtanga the Fish Pose challenges the strength of our core and flexion of our spine.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses - Fish Pose

Can beginners do ashtanga yoga?

Absolutely!  Beginners can definitely do Ashtanga yoga.  Ashtanga has become the foundation for many follow-on styles of yoga and is taught throughout the world.  Beginning with an Ashtanga class is a great way of introducing yourself to traditional yoga in a Vinyasa style class allowing you to expand and grow from there. 

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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