Hatha Yoga Postures and their Benefits

A regular yoga practice can be very beneficial, physically and psychologically. Practicing Hatha Yoga provides multiple benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Increased muscle tone and stamina, Increased metabolism and fat burning
  • Improved lung capacity and circulation for better cardiovascular health
  • Better posture, decreased muscle tension
  • Increased flexibility and lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
  • Better balance (which along with flexibility can help prevent injury)
  • Better sleeping patterns, Increased sense of vitality
  • Increased focus and concentration, decreased anxiety and depression

Below you will find each posture and its individual associated benefit:

 Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing )

• Good for lungs and respiratory system
• Helps with mental relaxation
• Helps high blood pressure
• Relieves irritability
• Good for detoxification
• Exercises nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems

 Ardha Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana (Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose)

• Works the whole skeletal and circulatory system
• Reduces or eliminates pain in the lower back, help with sciatic nerve pain
• Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body Increase the flexibility of the spine
• Tones the spinal nerves and abdominal organs inproving the working of the bowels
• Increases flexibility and strength of rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus, oblique, deltoid and trapezius muscles
• Alleviates anxiety and reduces mental stress
• Stimulates pituitary gland
• Exercises colon, pancreas, kidneys, muscular, skeletal, respiratory and glandular systems
• Firms and trims waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks and thighs

 Utkatasana  (Awkward Pose)

• Improves overall body strength
• Opens pelvis
• Strengthens and tones leg muscles
• Relieves menstrual cramping
• Reduces fat pocket under buttocks
• Aligns skeletal system
• Good for arthritis conditions
• Good for digestion
• Relieves joint pain
• Relieves sciatica
• Improves flexibility in toes and ankles
• Exercises liver, intestines, and pancreas

Garurasana (Eagle pose)

• Works into twelve major joints of the body
• Good for central nervous system
• Facilitates lymphatic function, improving immune system
• Improves mobility of hip joint
• Improves balance
• Strengthens legs
• Good for varicose veins

 Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)

• Builds mental strength
• Improves concentration
• Unifies mind and body
• Uses all major muscle groups
• Exercises digestive and reproductive organs
• Good for diabetes
• Strengthens back muscles

 Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose)

• Stimulates cardiovascular system
• Increases circulation to heart and lungs
• Opens diaphragm
• Opens shoulder joint
• Helps frozen shoulder conditions
• Improves spine elasticity
• Improves strength and balance
• Reduces abdominal fat
• Helps regulate ovaries and prostate gland

 Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)

• Increases cardiovascular circulation, especially to heart blood vessels
• May help clear blocked arteries
• May help prevent future cardiac problems
• Creates a total spine stretch Relieves stress from spine
• Good for varicose veins
• Builds strength in legs
• Exercises pancreas, spleen, liver, nervous and circulatory system

 Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)

• Increases circulation to the brain and adrenal glands
• Centers nervous system
• May be good for depression
• Good for constipation
• Helps reduce abdominal obesity
• Helps with diabetes and hyper acidity
• Releases lower back
• Exercises muscular, adrenal and reproductive systems

 Trikanasana (Triangle pose)

• An excellent cardiovascular workout
• Intensely stretches each side of the body
• Opens and increases flexibility of hip joints
• Good for kidneys, thyroid and adrenal glands
• Opens shoulder joint, good for frozen shoulder
• Strengthen and tones legs and buttocks
• Helps regulate hormone levels
• Works all muscular groups simultaneously
• Helps conditions of constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, spondylitis, menstrual disorders

 Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)

• May be good for depression and memory loss
• Reduces abdominal obesity
• Good for diabetic conditions
• Balances blood sugar levels
• Assists in regulating pancreas and kidneys
• Works endocrine, digestive and reproductive systems

 Tadasana (Tree pose)

• Assists in correcting bad posture
• Increases hip and knee flexibility and mobility
• Stretches spine
• Releases abdominal tension
• Relieves lower back pain
• Tightens gluteal muscles
• Good for circulatory problems, arthritis and rheumatism

 Padangustasana (Toe Stand )

• Creates balance and focus in body and mind
• Strengthens stomach muscles
• Strengthens joints (hips, knees, ankles and toes)
• Helps relieve arthritis in all leg joints including hips

 Savasana (Corpse Pose)

• Returns cardiovascular circulation to normal
• Slows heart rate, reduces blood pressure
• Teaches complete relaxation
• Stills and focuses the mind

 Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)

• Massages ascending, descending and transverse colon
• Regulates and normalises hydrochloric acid levels in stomach
• Improves and may cure conditions of constipation, flatulence and hyperacidity
• Relieves lower back pain
• Improves flexibility of the hip joints
• Firms and tones muscles of the abdominal wall, thighs and hips
• Increases peristalsis in the gut

 Sit-up (Sit-up)

• Strengthens and tightens the abdomen
• Open mouth exhalation stimulates diaphragm and eliminates toxins from lungs

 Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

• The arching of the spine increases flexibility and strength
• Rejuvenates spinal nerves enriching them with oxygenated blood
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles, massages, works and tones back muscles
• Helps relieve and prevent lower backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems
• Stretches the thoracic region and expands the rib cage bringing relief from asthma
• Gentle pressure on the abdomen massages all organs and improves their function
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps
• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylosis
• Improves concentration
• Helps relieve many utero-ovarine and menstrual issues

Salabhasana (Locust pose)

• Improves sluggish digestion
• Helps regulate intestinal function
• Strengthens the abdominal wall
• Helps correct bad posture
• Improves function of liver and spleen
• Strengthens shoulder, arm and back muscles
• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylitis and back pain
• Encourages concentration and perseverance
• Same benefits as Cobra pose and even more effective in helping conditions of slipped disc and sciatica
• Firms buttocks and hips
• Increases spinal strength, flexibility and circulation
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Helps relieve and prevent backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems

Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)

• Firms muscles of the abdomen, upper arms, hips and thighs
• Increases spinal strength and flexibility
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Helps relieve and prevent lower backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems Helps cure loss of appetite
• Helps correct bad posture
• Improves function of liver and spleen
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps
• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylosis

 Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

• Increases circulation to heart & lungs, improves oxygen intake
• Opens diaphragm and expands the chest region – improves respiratory conditions
• Opens shoulder joint and helps frozen shoulder conditions
• Increases spinal strength and flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Revitalises spinal nerves by increasing circulation to spine
• Strengthens, compresses and opens lower, mid and upper spine
• Improves strength and balance Reduces abdominal fat and strengthens abdominal muscles
• Helps regulate ovaries and prostate gland
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems
• Improves digestion
• Helps correct bad posture
• Strengthens concentration and mental determination
• Develops internal balance and harmony
• Improves function of kidneys, liver and spleen
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi and triceps
• Relieves cervical spondylosis

Supta Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose)

• Helps conditions of sciatica, gout, varicose veins and rheumatism in the legs
• Slims and tones thighs, firms calf muscles and strengthens the abdomen
• Strengthens and improves flexibility of lower spine, knees and ankle joints
• Lubricates and increases circulation to joints
• Strengthens and lengthens abdominal muscles
• Creates a great stretch into hip joints and diaphragm
• Relieves lower back pain

 Ardha Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)

• A rejuvenation pose providing maximum relaxation
• Assists in relieving digestion problems and constipation
• Stretches lower part of the lungs, increases lung capacity
• Excellent for respiratory conditions
• Increases circulation to the brain
• Firms the abdomen and thighs
• Increases flexibility of hip joints
• Improves mobility of shoulder girdle and associated muscles (scapula, deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi)
• Relieves stress and migraines
• Helps with insomnia
• Increases flexibility in hips

 Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

• Compresses spine, relieving back problems
• Opens rib cage, lungs and digestive system
• Stimulates nervous system
• Great for lungs and many bronchial problems
• Strengthens back and shoulder muscles
• Improves flexion of neck
• Stretches throat
• Flushes fresh blood through kidneys
• Helps eliminate toxins

 Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

• Provides maximum longitudinal extension of the spine
• Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system
• Improves the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles
• Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands through compression, helps balance and regulate metabolism
• Balances hormones
• Improves flexibility of scapula and trapezius
• Improves digestion, glandular problems and helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis
• Helps insomnia, depression

 Janushirasana with Paschimottanasana (Head to Knee Pose with Stretching Posture)

• Helps balance blood sugar levels and the metabolism
• Improves flexibility of sciatic nerve and ankle, knee and hip joints
• Enhances kidney function
• The intense stretching pose increases circulation to liver, spleen and pancreas
• Stimulates thymus gland, digestion and immune system
• Increases flexibility of the trapezius, deltoid, erectus femoris and biceps muscles, sciatic nerve and last five vertebrae of the spine

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose)

• Compresses and stretches spine from the bottom to the top
• Increases hip and back flexibility
• Improves digestion
• Firms the buttocks, thighs and abdomen
• Improves elasticity, flexibility, circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, vessels and tissues
• Increases synovial fluid of the joints
• Removes adhesions in the joints caused by rheumatism
• Tones the roots of the spinal nerves and sympathetic nervous system
• Detoxifying • Opens bronchial muscles and rib cage
• Helps prevent slipped disc
• Relieves lower back pain
• Helps sciatica and arthritis of the knee
• Massages kidneys, liver, gall bladder, spleen and bowels

Kapalbhati in Vajrasana (Blowing in Firm Pose)

• Provides maximum longitudinal extension of the spine
• Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system
• Improves the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles
• Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands through compression, helps balance and regulate metabolism
• Balances hormones
• Improves flexibility of scapula and trapezius
• Improves digestion, glandular problems and helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis
• Helps insomnia, depression