If you’ve started practicing yoga, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the different poses you need to learn, you might wonder how many yoga poses actually exist.
Although there are many yoga poses, this is a good thing because it means that you’ll have many yoga poses to enjoy and that will challenge you as you progress on your yoga journey.
So, how many yoga poses are there? There are 84 classic yoga poses or asanas. Back in the 17th century, the religious text Gheranda Samhita mentioned 8,400,000 postures with 84 being important. This number is a sacred one.
The 84 basic asanas allow one to elevate their consciousness. These are basically 84 different ways of attaining a deeper, richer state of being.
Why 84 Is A Sacred Number In Yoga
The fact that there are 84 asanas is no coincidence. 84 is a sacred number in various spiritual traditions. This is a number that represents harmony between the universe and the individual.
It’s essentially this relationship that’s so essential to yoga, which is why 84 is used in the practice.
Seven Of The Most Popular Yoga Poses
Out of the 84 asanas, there are some that are very popular. Let’s take a look at them and their significance.
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana): This asana is a cross-legged sitting meditation that originates from ancient India. It’s regularly used in meditation in Buddhist, Tantra, and Hindi traditions. This is a grounding and energizing yoga pose that’s powerful because of what a lotus flower represents. A lotus has its roots in the mud and as it grows it blooms into a gorgeous flower.
- Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This is a fundamental asana that helps you to connect to your center while simultaneously stretching your body into a long line. This position is significant because it enables you to position your spirit while remaining connected to the outside world.
- Archer Bow Pose (Akarna Dhanurasana): This yoga pose is popular in Kundalini yoga. It requires flexibility and strength. Spiritually, the om mantra represents the bow while the yogi is an arrow with their senses being the string. By pulling the metaphorical string, you’re withdrawing the senses from your surroundings so that you can meditate.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana): This asana is powerful because it gives you some calmness and serenity on a busy, stressful day. Its focus is on the importance of just being and how this is as valuable as being active. This pose is connected to the experience of being in the mother’s womb.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): This asana is a powerful backbend that enhances your spine mobility, strengthens your spinal muscles, and opens your chest. It represents our ability to deal with fear. The cobra is a creature that evokes fear, but interestingly being able to look past that first impression and see fear in a new way is what this pose is all about.
- Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana): The Warrior pose gets its name from the warrior Virabhadra who represents our inner ability to overcome ignorance and the ego. This pose challenges you but boosts your focus, courage, and strength.
- Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): This yoga pose is about grounding yourself in the same way that a tree has to be rooted into the ground. It teaches you to feel rooted to the ground with your feet while you reach upwards like tree branches directed at the sky. It also helps you to develop your balance as you bring the sole of one foot to the shin of your other leg.
Are There New Yoga Poses Being Invented?
Although we tend to think of yoga poses as being old, there are always variations of yoga poses that are being developed as well as completely new yoga innovations. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
This pose used to be called the Horse Stance in Tai Chi, but it’s a recent adoption by yogis. It’s great for beginners.
How it works is that you stand with your feet 34 inches apart, bend your elbows so that they’re at shoulder height, and turn the palms of your hands so they face each other.
Turn your feet out so that they’re at 45 degrees facing the corners of the room. As you exhale, bend your knees over your toes and squat.
This asana is symbolic of the feminine force that created the universe.
Baby Grasshopper Pose
This modern yoga pose is actually a twist on the Grasshopper Pose. It’s beginner-friendly because it’s easier to achieve than the original pose. It requires you to balance on one leg and one arm, so it enhances your balance.
This pose doesn’t have a Sanskrit name as it hails from the tradition of fun, playful yoga.
This is a modern yoga pose that’s great for strengthening the core while energizing your body. Since it’s not a traditional yoga pose, it doesn’t have a Sanskrit name, although it’s sometimes referred to as the Drinking Bird pose.
This is because how it requires you to bend forward to the floor with your hands at your sides as though you’re pecking the ground like a bird.
How Are Yoga Poses Categorized?
Yoga poses can be divided into different categories. These include different poses and postures.
Different Yoga Poses
- Seated yoga poses. These poses are balancing and grounding for the mind and body. Examples include the Thunderbolt (Vajrasana) pose and the staff pose (Dandasana).
- Standing yoga poses. These are uplifting and opening poses. They include Warrior 1 pose (Virabhadrasana I) and the Mountain pose (Tadasana).
- Prone yoga poses. These yoga poses are performed with your torso or belly touching or facing the floor. Examples include the cobra (Bhujangasana), crocodile (Makarasana), and sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana) poses.
- Supine yoga poses. Focused on flexibility, nurture, and energy, supine yoga poses include the Fish pose (Matsyasana) and the Reclined Twist.
Different Postures in Yoga
These include back-bending, balancing, core-strength, forward-bending, hip-opening, twisting, and side-bending poses.
- Backbending Poses. These yoga poses, boost your strength. As their name suggests, they’re strengthening as well as invigorating the body. Examples include the Cow Pose (Bitilasana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana).
- Balancing Poses. As their name suggests, these yoga poses, improve your balance and flexibility. For example, you might only use your arms to balance or you might balance on one arm or leg. Examples of poses include Tree Pose (Vrksasana), and Half Camel pose (Ardha Ustrasana).
- Core-Strength Poses. These yoga poses, strengthen your core, giving you greater stability. Examples include the Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Dolphin Plank (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana).
- Forward-Bending Poses. These yoga poses, bring the front of your upper torso closer to your lower body, and you can do them in standing, sitting, or supine positions. Examples include the Seated Head To Knee (Janu Sirsasana) and the Tortoise pose (Kurmasana).
- Hip-Opening Poses. These yoga poses, open up your hips, relieving tightness in this area of the body and enabling you to reduce your risk of injury. Examples include the Yogi Squat (Malasana) and the Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana).
- Twisting Poses. These yoga poses require you to turn your torso and spine. They boost your core strength and help you increase your range of motion. These poses include the Prayer Twist (Namaskar Parsvakonasana) and Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana).
- Side-Bending Poses. These yoga poses require you to bend at the waist so you can make a C-shape in the spine and your upper body. They include poses such as the Revolved Side Angle (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana) and the Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana).
Is yoga spiritual?
Yoga poses have physical as well as spiritual significance. Yoga is not just an activity that benefits the mind, but breathwork and mindfulness help you to reap emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits.
Are many yoga poses ancient?
Although you might assume that all yoga poses are centuries old, the truth is that many yoga poses are younger than 150 years old. In addition, there are regularly modern yoga poses and pose variations that are developed.
Have you ever wondered how many yoga poses exist? There are 84 asanas. In this article, we’ve featured some of the most popular yoga poses to know about.
We’ve also looked at some yoga asanas that are innovative, which are ideal for putting a twist on your yoga practice when you crave something different during a session.