Ten Yoga Poses and Their Benefits Part I

It has been proved now in the West the many advantages yoga can bring into people’s lives: Perfecting posture, building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, protecting the spine, regulating the adrenal glands, relaxing the entire body, improving concentration and balance, maintaining the nervous system, boosting the immune system, amongst many more. In the East, on the other hand, it has long been believed that “diseases that cannot be cured by medicine can be cured by yoga; and diseases that cannot be cured by yoga cannot be cured at all;” just as Indian Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois affirms in his book Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga. With this in mind, we can all have an idea of the power held by this ancient discipline and of the wellbeing one can get from it when practiced holistically and appropriately. In this article, we review ten different asanas or postures and outline the benefits of them according to yogi teacher Pattabhi Jois.


Also known as “Big Toe Pose” in the West, this posture is considered a basic level asana that lengthens and strengthens the hamstrings. Benefits associated with it include dissolving the fat of the lower abdomen and purifying the egg-shaped plexus in the anal region and rectum.


Called “Hand Under Foot Pose” in the West, this posture is considered an intermediate level asana that lengthens the back, abdominals, and legs while requiring a reasonable amount of flexibility in those body parts. Benefits associated with this asana are the purification of the anal canal, kidneys, and lower abdomen.

Utthita Trikonasana

Also known as “Extended Triangle Pose” in the West, this posture is considered a basic level asana that makes your legs, spine, chest, arms, shoulders, and neck work in tandem. Benefits related to this asana include dissolving the fat around the waist, expanding the narrow portion of the breathing channel and strengthening the backbone.

Utthita Parshvakonasana

Called “Extended Side Angle Pose” in the West, this posture is considered a basic level asana that lengthens and strengthens the entire side of your body from heel to fingertips. Benefits derived from this asana are the purification of the ribs and abdomen, the dissilience of bad fat at the waist and the softening of limbs that aids with easily practicing subsequent poses.

Prasarita Padottanasana I, II, III and III

Also known as “Wide-Legged Forward Bend” in the West, this posture stretches your limbs and works you back; whereas in its penultimate part of Prasarita Padottanasana III it also asks for substantial flexibility in the arms. With all its variations this posture is considered to be an intermediate level asana. When carried out correctly, benefits linked to this asana include the purification of the anal canal, top part of the spinal column and waist; the dissilience of the bad fat in the lower abdomen and the strengthening of the waist. This pose will also improve the overall lightness and wellbeing of your body.

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If you have a medical condition, do visit a doctor or physical therapist, a trustworthy guru or a reliable certified yoga teacher before practicing any of these asanas. It is also important to have in mind that the correct practice of yoga does not only encompass the physical regular exercises, but the correct use of breathing and mental concentration while you do them and leading a peaceful conscious life outside of your yoga practice. Ancient yoga practices also required the guidance of a Guru or Master who used to prescribe suitable asanas for specific people depending on their physical constitution, so the more reliable guidance you have in this aspect the better. Check out our Ten Yoga Poses and their Benefits Part II for further information on the topic.

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