Our favorite animal-inspired yoga moves.
Ever wonder why popular yoga poses have animal names? Early yogis were inspired by what surrounded them, like the behaviors and movements of many furry (and not so furry) friends. Ranging from the cat to the cobra, the illustrative names help modern yoga practitioners capture the essence of the move and delve deeply into a pose. Here’s our top 10.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Perhaps the most well known, it’s a staple pose that increases flexibility and helps release tension and stiffness. Place your heels and palms flat on the mat, bending at the waist.
Cat Pose (Bidalasana)
This pose increases spine flexibility and relaxation when paired with deep breathing exercises. It involves tucking your tailbone under, rounding your spin upwards and curling your head inwards—much like a cat.
Fish Pose (Matsvasana)
A back-bending posture that opens up the chest, throat, abdomen and helps relieve nasal congestion.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Performed with your stomach on the ground, this is an excellent pose to open your chest and strengthen your spine.
Camel Pose (Ushtrasana)
A kneeling backbend where the hands reach the feet—a great pose for stretching abdominals.
Turtle Pose (Kurmasana)
A favorite pose with many variations ideal for female yogis. It’s recommended for whittling stomach fat and more.
Pigeon Pose (Rajakapotasana)
A sitting pose that stretches your upper legs and increases flexibility.
Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
This advanced pose is ideal for balance, strength and aiding your inner organs. Balance on your hands with your legs extended off the ground.
Frog Pose (Bhekasana)
Your legs are bent and placed on the sides of the body, much like a frog looks when it's ready to jump. Ideal for stretching and opening up your hips.
Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)
Want to relieve stress and tension? This restorative pose involves lying on your stomach with your head down on your folded arms.