Are Yoga Poses Based On Hindu Gods?
Yoga is an ancient practice, with roots in Hinduism, that is focused on unifying the mind, body, and spirit. While its physical techniques are often seen as a way to stay fit and healthy, its spiritual techniques are traditionally meant to allow practitioners to achieve higher states of consciousness and enlightenment. Many Hindus believe that certain yoga poses were inspired by the gods that they worship.
Hinduism is an ancient religion, with countless gods and goddesses. Most Hindus recognize and revere the following deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Parvati, and Hanuman. In Hinduism, these gods are seen as facets or representations of Brahman, the single divine universal spirit.
Yoga and Hinduism
It is believed that yoga was originally created within Hinduism to allow people to become closer to the gods. Over time, it developed into the practice that it is today, with various physical and spiritual techniques and poses. While the spiritual aspects of yoga are still connected to the Hindu religion, there has been increasing secularization and the physical practice has become more personal and less linked to spiritual goals than it once was.
Yoga Poses and Hindu Deities
Some of the most popular yoga poses have correspondences to Hindu gods. Some of the most popular yoga poses and their correspondences to Hindu deities are listed here:
- Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I Pose
- Triangle Pose – Trikonasana
- Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
- Matsyasana – Fish Pose
- Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
- Navasana – Boat Pose
- Setu Bandhasana – Bridge Pose
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – One Leg King Pigeon Pose
- Padmasana – Lotus Pose
- Parivrtta Hasta Padangushthasana – Revolved Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
- Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana – Revolved Half Moon Pose
- Utthita Shishosana – Extended Puppy Pose
- Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose
- Uttana Shishosana – Puppy Pose
- Viparita Karani – Legs Up the Wall Pose
- Virasana – Hero Pose
- Supta Virasana – Reclined Hero Pose
- Vriksasana – Tree Pose
- Upavistha Konasana – Wide Angle Pose
- Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend
- Ustrasana – Camel Pose
- Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III Pose
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana – Downward Facing Tree Pose
- Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow Pose
Whether or not yoga poses are based on Hindu gods is a matter of perspective. For some, the connection between the gods and yoga poses is an important part of their spiritual practice and worldview. Others see it as an interesting coincidence or entertaining myth. However, even if one does not believe that yoga poses were inspired by Hindu gods, it is undeniable that the roots of yoga are intimately tied to Indian philosophy and Hinduism.
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.