How Many Yoga Poses Are There?

You wouldn’t be the first person to wonder how many yoga poses there are. Yoga poses—also called yoga postures—come in all shapes, difficulties, and variations, so it might come as no surprise that there are, well… a lot.

Yoga dates back a long time – since 2700 B.C., in fact. And early texts from the 11th century describe 84 yoga poses in total.

How Many Yoga Poses are There

Those account for traditional yoga poses, however. The number for how many yoga poses there are is widely considered by yogis to be more than 84 million.

84 is a symbolic number in many spiritual traditions, representing connection and harmony between the spirit and the universe. And, as it turns out, this is the reason that 84 is often used to describe the total number of yoga poses.

But the answer goes further than that. To find out about the different types of yoga poses and how many yoga styles there are, make sure to keep reading!

Yoga Poses And Asanas Explained

If you’re new to yoga, you may or may not have heard the term “asana”. You might have also heard it used in conversations about yoga and the various yoga poses.

This is because asana is actually the Sanskrit (ancient Indo-European) word for yoga pose or yoga posture. So these terms all refer to the same thing: a pose, posture, or position held in yoga.

This also means that the total number of yoga poses is the same for how many yoga asanas there are: 84 traditional yoga poses and over 84-million yoga poses in general, considering all the modern-day yoga poses and variations.

It’s common in yoga for the Sanskrit terms of yoga poses to be used instead of the English terms. And you might have noticed that many yoga poses involve the names of animals and objects. These all come from the Sanskrit language – for example, kakasana, meaning crow (pose).

The Different Types Of Yoga Poses

One thing’s for sure: there are tens of millions of yoga poses, especially when you take into account the countless variations – whether that’s performing the pose one-legged, one-handed, or with a twist or bend!

Despite that, there are different types of yoga poses, which can help break down and categorize the large number of yoga poses that exist.

The different types of yoga poses include:

  • Standing yoga poses
  • Seated yoga poses
  • Supine yoga poses
  • Prone yoga poses
  • Balancing yoga poses
  • Twisting yoga poses
  • Side bending yoga poses
  • Forward bending yoga poses
  • Back bending yoga poses
  • Inversion yoga poses

Those aren’t all the different types of poses, but it is a good summary!

What Are The 12 Basic Yoga Poses?

Something you might have heard about is the 12 basic yoga poses

Many of these yoga poses—a sequence created by Swami Vishnudevananda—are far from basic, however, actually requiring a good amount of strength, flexibility, and balance to pull off!

The 12 basic yoga poses are:

  • Headstand pose (sirsasana)
  • Shoulderstand pose (sarvangasana)
  • Plow pose (halasana)
  • Fish pose (matsyasana)
  • Sitting forward bend pose (paschimottanasana)
  • Cobra pose (bhujangasana)
  • Locust pose (salabhasana)
  • Bow pose (dhanurasana)
  • Half spinal twist pose (ardha matsyendrasana)
  • Crow pose (kakasana)
  • Standing forward bend pose (padahastasana)
  • Triangle pose (trikonasana)

What Are The Easiest Yoga Poses?

With more than 84 million yoga poses in existence, there’s bound to be a few easiest ones.

Well, you’re in luck if you’re a total newbie to yoga, as there are many yoga poses that require little to no effort to perform. And we mean that, as some yoga poses simply involve sitting or lying down!

So, most people of all ages and fitness levels can quickly get started doing yoga.

And some of the easiest (beginner and intermediate) yoga poses include:

  • Corpse pose (savasana)
  • Cobbler’s pose (baddha konasana)
  • Child’s pose (balasana)
  • Chair pose (utkatasana)
  • Tree pose (vrksasana)
  • Downward facing dog pose (adho mukha svanasana)
  • Upward facing dog pose (urdhva mukha svanasana)
  • High plank pose (phalakasana)
  • Bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)
How Many Yoga Poses are There (1)

What Are The Hardest Yoga Poses?

While there are many easy yoga poses that anyone can do with little to no effort, there are other yoga poses that seem to defy gravity.

These are the advanced yoga poses, which often require months or even years of practice to achieve. 

Needless to say, you shouldn’t try these unless you have good strength, balance, flexibility, and mobility!

Some of the hardest yoga poses include:

  • Peacock pose (mayurasana)
  • Scorpion pose (vrschikasana)
  • Headstand (sirsasana)
  • Floating stick/staff pose (utpluti dandasana)
  • Crow pose (kakasana)
  • Crane pose (bakasana)
  • One-legged crow pose (eka pada kakasana)
  • Eight-angle pose (astavakrasana)
  • Scorpion handstand (vrschikasana B)

How Many Yoga Styles Are There?

Last but not least, how many yoga styles are there?

In general, there are 13 different styles of yoga, 8 of which are considered the major styles of yoga – or the most popular yoga styles.

The 13 yoga styles include:

As for the 8 major yoga styles, these are:

  • Hatha yoga
  • Vinyasa yoga
  • Ashtanga yoga
  • Iyengar yoga
  • Kundalini yoga
  • Power yoga
  • Restorative yoga
  • Hot yoga

Each yoga style has its physical and mental benefits, as well as levels of difficulty. So, you might find that one yoga isn’t for you while another yoga style might become your favorite new form of exercise.

Conclusion

In short, early 11th century texts about hatha yoga describe there being 84 traditional yoga poses (asanas) – a symbolic number in yoga and other spiritual practices.

Following this symbolism, modern-day yogis widely consider there to be over 84 million yoga poses.

It might seem like a high number (and it is) but there are many different yoga styles, different types of yoga poses, and unique variations of each pose.

So, if you are considering doing yoga, the exciting amount of yoga poses that exist might be the incentive you were looking for to try yoga! 

Angela Frederik
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