Basic and Advanced Seated Yoga Poses

Looking for seated yoga postures to add to your practice? This list includes all the seated poses we have featured, arranged in order from basic to advanced. In all of these poses, feel free to use props to assist you. Sitting on a block or blanket can be very helpful.

Easy Pose - Sukhasana

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This is one way to do easy pose, but as the name suggests, this pose is intended to be a comfortable seat. If this configuration doesn't work for you, take any cross-legged position. Sitting on a blanket to elevate the hips is also encouraged here.

If you are looking for seated versions of standing poses, chair poses provide great alternatives.

Thunderbolt Pose - Vajrasana

Thunderbolt Pose

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Vajrasana is a basic kneeling position, with the seat resting on the feet. It's a good alternative to easy pose (above).

Staff Pose - Dandasana

Staff pose

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Staff pose is often called the seated equivalent of mountain pose. Just as mountain sets up the alignment for many standing poses, staff pose is the starting point for many seated poses.

Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana

Seated Forward Bend

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There are several approaches to coming into paschimottanasana, but try to keep the back flat as you tip the pelvis forward.

Seated Wide Legged Straddle - Upavistha Konasana

Seated Wide Leg Straddle

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When setting up for upavistha konasana, you don't have to go for a super wide angle with the legs. Feeling some stretch in the inner thigh is common, but you don't need to go for a full split.

Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana

Cobbler's Pose

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Cobbler's pose can be taken into a forward bend if your groin allows it. Light pressure with your forearms on your legs can intensify the stretch.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose - Ardha Matsyendrasana

Lord of the Fishes Pose

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Half lord of the fishes is also known as a seated spinal twist. It's important to keep your front foot and sit bones grounded to the floor here so that you have something to anchor the twist.

Cow Face Pose - Gomukhasana

Cow Face Pose

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Cow face pose gets into parts of the shoulders and upper arms that are rarely used by many of us. Don't be surprised to discover that it's much easier to bind the hands on one side than the other. This kind of asymmetry is very common, since most people favor one hand over the other.

Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana

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Half lotus is a nice stopping off point on the way to full lotus (see below). Since full lotus can be very hard on the knees, many yoga students prefer this version, which can be used for seated meditation.

Hero Pose - Virasana

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Hero pose is also a good meditation posture. Some people find it easier to keep the spine erect in this pose than in cross-legged positions when seated for a long time. But for many people who sit at a desk all day, rooting your sits bones on the floor can be difficult.

Sit on a block or a blanket if it helps you access this pose. Hero pose is also a great quad stretch and can be done reclining.

Boat Pose - Navasana

Boat Pose

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If you find it difficult to maintain that nice V-shape with your legs straight in boat pose, bend the knees, keeping the shins parallel to the floor. This should help your keep your spine straight and your thighs lifted.

Head-to-Knee Pose - Janu Sirsasana

Head to Knee Pose

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When forward folding in janu sirsasana, try to align your torso so you are folding over your extended leg rather than the space between your legs.

Revolved Head to Knee Pose - Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana

Revolved Head to Knee Pose

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Students often grab for their big toe in revolved janu sirsasana at the expense of opening the chest to the ceiling. If holding your toe is causing your chest to turn downward, bend your elbow and hold the back of your head instead.

Pigeon Pose (Prep) - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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If your butt is way off the floor in pigeon prep, use blankets under your hips to bring the floor up to meet it before forward folding. Those who are bendy in the spine and shoulders can also work on full pigeon.

Knee to Ankle - Agnistambhasana

Knee to Ankle Pose

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Knee to ankle is also called double pigeon and you can see why. Keep the feet flexed and bring the shins as close to parallel as possible to the front of your mat.

Heron Pose - Krounchasana

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Like boat pose (see above), it's better to bend your extended knee in heron than to keep it straight and end up with the spine rounded forward.

Marichi's Pose - Marichyasana I

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In marichyasana I, make sure that you can take the bind before you start to forward bend. If the bind isn't there, stay in an upright position.

Lotus Pose - Padmasana

Lotus Pose

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Lotus is often thought of as the quintessential yoga pose, but it should be approached with caution by beginners. For an alternative, see half lotus (above).

Compass Pose - Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana

Compass Pose

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If you're the kind of person who can easily throw your leg behind your head, compass pose is going to be right up your alley. Otherwise, there are plenty of other hamstring stretches to work on.

Monkey Pose - Hanumanasana

Monkey Pose

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Unless you have very open hamstrings, work on hanumanasana with two or three blocks handy. Use one block under each hand and can slide one under your front thigh for support when you get close enough to the floor. Proceed slowly here to avoid a strain.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ann Pizer
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.