Did you ever wonder why so many yoga poses are named after animals? Just by looking at some poses, and observing animals, the answer is obvious. Take your dog, for example, watch him stretch first thing in the morning and you’ll see upward facing dog and downward facing dog. But there’s more to it than merely resembling the animal in a posture.
Animals bring us joy, and teach us about life. They teach us about love, strength, presence, and balance — they teach us yoga. Animals have been instinctively practicing asana (yoga poses) for centuries. In fact, many of the yoga poses we have come to know in class were named after animals both for the resemblance itself, and for the quality of the animal itself. Ancient yogis observed animals in nature; their abilities and beauty. To emulate these animal qualities through asana was considered a high sign of spiritual enlightenment.
Here are 10 animals practicing their namesake yoga poses in their natural states (hint: if you don’t like reptiles or insects, stop scrolling after crane pose):
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukkha Svanasana)
Photo: Yoga in my school
Upward facing dog (Urdva Mukkha Svanasana)
Photo: Disgruntled Exister
Cat Lift Pose
Photo: Google image
Cat Tuck Pose
Photo: Getty images
Lion Pose (Simha)
Frog pose (Bhekasana)
Seal Pose (Mudrasana)
Crane Pose (Bakasana)
Scorpion Pose (Vrschika)
Photo: A day in the life blog
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Whatever yoganimal you channel during your practice, bring that animal’s qualities with you on and off the mat.
– Your Charmed Dogi
More yoga pose posts on Charmed Yogi: