8 common yoga moves and how to master them

There’s a fine line between just doing yoga moves and really mastering them.

Mastering them means you’re not just going through the motions, but truly understanding the purpose and benefits of each pose.

The beauty of yoga is, it’s not about being perfect.

It’s about improving your mind and body connection.

And believe me, knowing the right way to do common yoga moves can help you achieve that.

In this article, I’ll break down 8 common yoga moves and give you some insider tips on how to master them.

1) Downward facing dog

Downward facing dog is a staple in virtually every yoga practice.

It’s a foundational pose that has countless benefits, from stretching your hamstrings to relieving back pain.

But, achieving a perfect downward facing dog requires understanding its purpose.

The goal isn’t to have your heels touching the ground or to create a perfect upside-down ‘V’.

Rather, it’s about lengthening your spine and distributing your weight evenly between your hands and feet.

One tip to really master this pose is to focus on pushing your hips up and back, rather than worrying about getting your feet flat on the mat.

Remember, yoga is not about forcing yourself into a position. It’s about finding the alignment that works best for you.

So next time you’re in downward facing dog, don’t just go through the motions.

Think about what you’re trying to achieve and adjust accordingly.

2) Warrior II

Warrior II is another common yoga pose that can seem straightforward, but takes time to truly master.

I remember when I first started practicing yoga, I would often rush into Warrior II without really understanding the alignment.

My hips were not square, my back foot was not at the right angle, and I would lean forward, throwing off my balance.

But with practice and patience, I started to understand the essence of Warrior II.

It’s not just about stretching your legs and arms out; it’s about grounding yourself and finding balance.

The key is to keep your front knee directly above your ankle and your back foot at a 90-degree angle.

Your hips should be open to the side, not facing forward.

And remember to reach out with your arms in opposite directions, imagining you’re being pulled from both ends.

Now when I move into Warrior II, I feel a sense of strength and stability.

It’s a pose that reminds me of my own inner warrior, and that’s the beauty of truly mastering a yoga pose – it becomes about so much more than just the physical aspect.

3) Tree Pose

Tree Pose, or Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is a balancing pose that requires focus and calm.

It’s not just about standing on one foot, but about finding your inner tranquility so you can maintain your balance.

One thing you may not know about Tree Pose is that it’s not just beneficial for your physical balance, but for your mental balance too.

Practicing balance exercises like Tree Pose can actually improve cognitive function.

When performing Tree Pose, ensure you’re grounding your standing foot into the floor, engaging your core and aligning your hips.

It’s okay if your foot doesn’t reach your upper thigh.

You can place it on your calf or ankle instead.

The important thing is to maintain your balance and stay focused.

4) Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, also known as Balasana, is often seen as a resting pose but it’s so much more than that.

It’s a great stretch for your lower back and hips, and it provides a moment of calm and introspection in your practice.

To truly master Child’s Pose, you need to focus on letting go.

Allow your forehead to rest on the mat, feel your heart rate slow down, and take deep breaths into your back.

The secret to mastering this pose is in the release.

The more you can let go and surrender to the pose, the more benefits you’ll receive.

It’s not about pushing or forcing anything, but about accepting where you are in that moment.

5) Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana, is a common backbend that can open up your chest and stretch your abdominal muscles.

However, it’s also a pose that’s easy to do incorrectly if you’re not paying attention to your form.

The trick to mastering Cobra Pose is to make sure you’re not overextending your lower back.

This isn’t about how high you can lift, but about the length you create in your spine.

Start by lying flat on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.

As you inhale, lift your chest off the floor while keeping your navel and hips grounded.

Avoid straining your neck by keeping your gaze forward and slightly down.

By focusing on these minor adjustments, you’ll feel a deeper stretch and protect yourself from potential injury.

In Cobra Pose, it’s all about quality over quantity.

6) Savasana

Commonly known as Corpse Pose, Savasana is a pose of total relaxation that concludes most yoga practices.

Although it may seem simple, lying still and quieting the mind can be one of the most challenging aspects of yoga for many.

Mastering Savasana isn’t about perfecting a physical pose, but rather embracing a state of release and peace within yourself.

It’s a moment to absorb all the benefits of your practice and to connect deeply with your own sense of self.

It’s in these quiet moments that we often experience profound realizations and feelings of gratitude.

It’s not just a closing pose, but an opportunity to reflect on our journey, both on and off the mat.

So don’t rush through Savasana.

Instead, allow yourself to sink deeper into the mat, to let go of any remaining tension, and to fully embrace the peace it offers.

It’s in this surrender that you truly master Savasana.

7) Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is a backbend that can open up your chest and stretch your spine.

It’s also a pose that used to intimidate me.

At first, I struggled to lift my hips high enough, and I would often feel a strain in my neck.

But with time and practice, I found a way to approach this pose that worked for me.

Instead of focusing on how high I could lift, I started to concentrate on engaging my core and pressing my feet into the mat.

This shift not only helped me lift higher but also took the pressure off my neck.

Now, Bridge Pose has become one of my favourites.

It serves as a reminder that even the poses that challenge us the most can become our greatest teachers.

With patience and persistence, anything is achievable.

8) Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is often overlooked as a simple standing pose.

But in reality, it’s the foundation for all other yoga poses.

To master Mountain Pose, it’s crucial to focus on alignment and grounding.

Your feet should be hip-width apart with your weight distributed evenly.

Engage your thighs, tuck in your tailbone and stand tall with your shoulders relaxed.

The beauty of Mountain Pose is its simplicity.

It teaches us to stand firm, grounded and balanced, just like a mountain.

It’s a pose that encourages mindfulness and presence – essential elements for any yoga practice.

Next time you’re in Mountain Pose, take a moment to truly feel your connection with the earth and the strength within you.

Because mastering yoga isn’t just about the complex poses; it’s also about appreciating the simplicity of being present in the moment.

Your Practice, Your Journey

Remember, yoga is not a competition.

It’s not about who can stretch the farthest or hold a pose the longest.

It’s about connecting with yourself, listening to your body, and honoring your own unique journey.

The most important thing in mastering these poses – or any yoga pose – is to practice with intention and patience.

It’s not about achieving the ‘perfect’ pose, but about finding what feels good for you.

So keep showing up on your mat, keep exploring the poses, and most importantly, keep enjoying your practice.

Because at the end of the day, it’s your practice and your journey.

And that’s what truly matters.

Dania Aziz

Dania Aziz

"A spirited lifestyle and love advocate, who loves to explore the two to help herself and others discover what they are really searching for."

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