New Yoga Poses: How the List of Asanas Continues to Grow

new yoga poses

I started practicing with a new yoga teacher a few months ago. She teaches a pose called flying warrior. I’d never heard of the pose before my first class with my new teacher, and I wondered if it is a new yoga pose. And if so, how many new yoga poses exist that didn’t when I started practicing a few decades ago?

Flying warrior is basically a transition from the front of the mat to the back. You start in warrior two facing one direction and then turn as if you’re about to do prasarita. But rather than bow forward, you lift your arms into a prayer over your head. Then you point the opposite toe to the back of your mat and move into warrior two again facing the opposite direction.

Throughout this class—which moves quickly until the last ten minutes or so—we do a lot of flying warriors!

So, is this a new yoga pose? As I said, I’d never heard of it until a few months ago, and I’ve been practicing yoga for decades!

Where do new yoga poses come from?

While yoga has been around a long time, many of the poses we practice have not. You probably come across a new yoga pose every now and then. If you’ve practiced for many years, you can probably think of quite a few poses you didn’t practice when you started.

I’m not talking about poses you didn’t practice because they were more advanced, and you weren’t ready for them yet. I’m talking about new yoga poses.

So, what makes something a yoga pose as opposed to, say, a stretching exercise? Is there some governing body that gives a new yoga poses a seal of approval, allowing it to become part of a yoga teacher’s sequence?

According to yoga teacher Kathryn Budig, new poses come about with regular practice and attention to what feels good to our bodies. I suppose you or I could create a new yoga pose, but ideally, a trained teacher who understands anatomy is more likely to “discover” a new yoga pose and introduce it to students.

B.K.S. Iyengar’s famous “Light on Yoga” lists only 200 poses. Now, according to Yoga Journal, there may be close to—or more than—1000 poses! So, yes. New yoga poses happen all the time.

Poses that have not been around since the beginning

To be accurate, most yoga poses have not been around since the beginning. We know this because there are only 15 poses in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the oldest texts on the practice. But some of the poses you probably have always practiced are only a few decades old.

Wonder what they are?  Here are three relatively new yoga poses:

  • Reverse Warrior
  • Wild Thing (this one’s probably obvious)
  • Goddess

If you’re interested in exploring more newer poses (I’d suggest with the help of a teacher who has heard of them), check out this list in Yoga Journal.

Have you learned any new yoga poses recently? Tell us about them in the comments!

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Maria Kuzmiak

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