The textual record of animal-named postures dates back to around 400 CE in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – WOW! It is unknown how long animal asanas may have been practiced prior to this but potentially since the Indus Valley civilisation or earlier! The number of animal asanas increased in tandem with the general proliferation of postures in the medieval period.

The most well-known animal-named asanas (postures) can be found alphabetically in the list to the right of this page (and on each page of this website bar the homepage). If you know of another posture with an animal name not on this list then please do get in touch. The invention of new animal-named postures is also in the pipeline (in collaboration with anatomy and physiology experts) so as to incorporate a wider breadth of the astounding animal kingdom. Reviving (the more accessible) older animal-named asanas that seem to have gone out of widespread practice is also of interest (see below for more information on such postures).

Each posture has its own story – historically, traditionally, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and biologically – both for the named animal/posture and the practitioner. Each posture and animal has its own wisdom to bestow upon us as we invite ourselves into the essence of each posture, commit to the posture, and experience the posture. Each of us also has bundles to offer each animal we greet during our class and the whole of the animal kingdom in general.

The animal postures alone allow for a full and varied practice. They include forward folds, back bends, supine poses, prone poses, balances, standing poses, arm balances, inversions and twists – keeping movement in the human body in every way intended. They can be combined into restorative and physically demanding sequences, into slow and deep practices or flowing repetitions, organic sequences or set sequences… and in many other creative ways! Animalia Asana® sessions can also be dedicated to one particular animal posture and work towards preparing the human body for a particular animal posture as a peak posture in a session.

The postures are arranged together in different ways, at different paces and in different styles with different emphases so as to create different Animalia Asana® classes suitable for everyone (NB: one class does not feature all of the postures but rather a carefully selected few to suit the nature of the class concerned): See the Animalia Asana classes/workshops page for more information.

Each class will also weave in animal-named mudras (hand gestures) and animal-named pranayamas (breath practices).

Here are examples of documented animal postures from the past currently not in widespread use (some have the same names to modern-day postures but have different instructions):

NB: Find full information on this post here.

  • pawing the leg like a bull pose
  • up-turned dog pose
  • up-turned cat pose
  • wolf pose
  • monkey’s seat pose
  • up-turned turtle
  • lizard pose
  • fish pose
  • elephant pose
  • hyena pose
  • bear pose
  • hare pose
  • ram pose
  • goat pose
  • sparrow pose
  • crow pose
  • partridge pose
  • heron pose
  • flying up of the rooster pose
  • wood-sparrow pose
  • lame peacock pose
  • hawk pose
  • skull pose
  • snake pose
  • lame rooster pose
  • hamsa-bird pose
  • monkey pose
  • goose pose
  • horse pose
  • elephant’s seat pose
  • camel’s seat pose
  • two-headed pose
  • hump-backed pose
  • pigeon’s seat pose
  • deer pose
  • camel pose
  • pigeon in space pose
  • Garuda’s pose
  • cockroach pose
  • spider pose
  • parrot pose
  • caterpillar pose
  • grub pose
  • curlew pose
  • boar pose
  • conch shell pose



The universe is not for men alone, but is a theatre of evolution for all living beings.
Live and let live is its guiding principle.
Non-injury is the highest religion.
~ Virchand Gandhi





Specially translated for Animal Yoga™ by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.
Specially translated for Animalia Asana® by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.


=  Sarvabhutaya Yogah (Animal Yoga)