Yoga Poses for Every Part of Your Body

Find Poses by Area of Anatomical Focus

One of the beauties of yoga is that it works on your whole body. Unlike having a "legs day" or "arms day" at the gym, doing a regular yoga practice is going to incorporate your entire anatomy. Even if you pick an area you want to work on and tailor a practice that way, you'll still feel the benefits elsewhere. This guide is intended to help you find poses that strengthen and/or open major muscle groups. For each of the anatomical area listed below, you'll see a pose library, which is a list of poses divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced level of practice. Use the libraries to plan your own practices or find out more about the poses you do in class. Then you'll see a few preplanned sequences for home practice that target each area of the body.


Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II for Leg Strength
Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II for Leg Strength. Ann Pizer

Standing poses do the most to strengthen your legs. Luckily they're not working in isolation, but also incorporate the rest of your body.

Library: Yoga Poses for Leg Strength



Boat Pose - Navasana for Abdominal Strength
Boat Pose - Navasanafor Abdominal Strength. Ann Pizer

Practicing these poses will improve your abdominal strength, one of the areas of core strength that also helps keep back pain at bay.

LibraryYoga Poses for Abs



One Leg Plank for Arm Strength
One Leg Plank for Arm Strength. Adrianna Williams/Photodisc/Getty Images

Poses that in which your arms bear most of your weight will to the most to improve strength. Plus a few chaturanga push-ups, of course.

Library: Yoga Poses for Arms



Locust Pose - Shalabasana for the Back
Locust Pose - Shalabasana for the Back. Ann Pizer

These poses will increase back strength and spinal mobility. There are some backbends here, but that doesn't mean that you have to be able to do a full wheel. There are plenty of gentler options.

Library: Yoga Poses for Your Back



Janu Sirsasana - Hamstring Stretch
Janu Sirsasana - Hamstring Stretch. Ann Pizer

Practicing these poses will improve hamstring flexibility -- tight hamstrings is a common problem for many people.

Library: Yoga Poses for Hamstrings



Eagle Pose - Garudasana for Hip Stretch
Eagle Pose - Garudasana for Hip Stretch. © Ann Pizer

A new way of thinking about hip stretches encompassing not only hip openers but poses to strengthen and stretch the entire pelvic region.

Library: Yoga Poses for Hips



Sphinx Pose for Shoulder Opening
Sphinx Pose for Shoulder Opening. Ann Pizer

Shoulder stretches release tension, which helps prevent pain in the back and neck. Since the shoulders can be vulnerable to injury, especially as you age, don't overdo it.

Library: Yoga Poses for Shoulders



Bow Pose - Dhanurasana for Heart Opening
Bow Pose - Dhanurasana for Heart Opening. © Barry Stone

Poses to open your chest and heart center, which is especially important if you sit at a desk for long hours. Since yoga's approach is holistic, there is some overlap here with the backbends and shoulder stretches.

LibraryYoga Heart Openers