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Yoga Poses

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Yoga Poses

If you have never practiced yoga, you may have a little trouble imagining exactly how a yoga session proceeds, and what it can bring you in concrete terms. This article will shed some light on the subject.

What are Poses?

Poses are exercises that combine both physical and mental effort. The entire practice of yoga – and more precisely “Hatha yoga” which is the most widespread branch – is based on what follows.

Poses aim to improve the suppleness of your body by making you gently stretch your joints and enhance your muscle tone, all the while using what is called “self-consciousness” to observe what is happening inside yourself, both physically and mentally. Without the added dimension of self-awareness, the poses lose their effectiveness and simply become “gymnastic” exercises.  

But thanks to the introspective dimension of full awareness, the poses harmonize the body and mind. They reduce stress, favor relaxation, and improve mental abilities like memory and concentration.

How To Practice the Poses

The most important thing when performing a yoga pose is concentration and self-awareness. You must keep your mind focused on the movements you execute, while respecting the physical limitations imposed by your body.

A second essential aspect of yoga is breathing. All the poses are designed to be performed in concert with your respiration, your inhalations and exhalations, the “Breath of Life” that enables vital energy to circulate through your body. This aspect of yoga must never be overlooked.

There are many poses (or “asanas”): some are dedicated mainly to relaxation and deep breathing, while others serve to strengthen your muscles. Poses may be referred to by their Sanskrit names, or by a more practical translation. For example, “Bakasana” is translated as “the Heron Pose,” “Tadasana” is the “Mountain Pose” and so on.

A Sample Pose

Warrior Pose


Here, for example, is the “Warrior Pose” which can be done by beginners. This Asana improves respiratory capacity, develops your thoracic (rib) cage, and strengthens the muscles in the legs.

To execute it you need to bend one leg at the knee, keeping your foot in line with your body) and stretch the other leg back (with your foot perpendicular to the one in front). Your chest faces forward, with your hands joined and arms stretched up towards the sky.

Hold the pose for a few seconds as you concentrate on your breathing, which should be calm and soothing.

As for all the poses, you should not force yourself to hold a pose for too long. The main thing is not to set a new record, but to be in the “present” and do the poses being fully aware of the efforts your body is making.