Bikram Yoga: 26 postures, countless benefits

More than just a great workout, the series of 26 postures is designed to benefit you mentally, physically and emotionally.

Complete the series and your entire body benefits from your head to your toes. This includes: your circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory and digestive systems; your nervous system and its subdivisions; and your entire musculoskeletal structure.

Check out our the postures below to read about some of the many benefits you’ll experience by practicing Bikram Yoga regularly.

Bikram Yoga at BYGV

Postures 1-12: Standing

Standing postures take physical and mental balance – but practice them regularly and that’s exactly what they give back.

Helping you develop patience, determination and a stronger more flexible body, you’ll also find your confidence increase and your moods lift as you stand taller and reach further.

Postures 13-26: Sitting

Seated postures alternately stretch and compress abdomen and back muscles, lengthening sinews and opening joints. Sitting transfers weight from the legs, allowing the quadricep, hamstring and calf muscles to be isolated during the postures.

Each posture is alternated with Savasana to stimulate circulation and give an opportunity to experience a calm, mindful and reflective pause between asanas.

Find out more about Sitting Series postures and their benefits.

1. Pranayama

Standing Deep Breathing

Physical benefits

  • Good for respiratory system
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Good for detoxification
  • Works the nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems

Mental benefits

  • Brings mind into the present, promoting focus and concentration

Emotional benefits

  • Decreases stress
  • Increases confidence
  • Promotes calmness

2. Ardha-Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana

Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Posture

Physical benefits

  • Firms and trims core and midsection
  • Exercises colon, pancreas, kidneys, muscular, skeletal, respiratory and glandular systems
  • Opens shoulder joints and alleviates frozen shoulder
  • Increases the lateral flexibility of the spine
  • Reduces lower back pain by increasing flexibility and strength of rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus, oblique, deltoid, trapezius, pectoralis major and hamstring muscles
  • Alleviates sciatic problems
  • Stimulates pituitary gland

Mental benefits

Combats fatigue
Increases clarity

Emotional benefits

Decreases stress
Helps relieve anxiety

3. Utkanasana

Awkward Pose

Physical benefits

  • Helps to open pelvic area and align the skeletal system
  • Improves overall body strength especially quadriceps, deltoids and all leg muscles
  • Reduces joint pain, sciatica, fat pocket under buttocks, and menstrual cramping
  • Improves flexibility in toes and ankles
  • Exercises liver, intestines, and pancreas improving digestion

Mental benefits

  • Improves concentration
  • Increases mental stamina
  • Strengthens balance

Emotional benefits

  • Promotes perseverance
  • Heightens awareness

4. Garurasana

Eagle Pose

Physical benefits

  • Strengthens legs, reducing varicose veins
  • Improves function of central nervous system
  • Works into twelve major joints of the body, improving mobility of hip joint and balance
  • Facilitates lymphatic function, improving immune system

Mental benefits

  • Improves concentration
  • Increases mental stamina
  • Strengthens balance

Emotional benefits

  • Establishes control of sexual energies

5. Dandayamana-Janushirasana

Standing Head to Knee Pose

Physical benefits

  • Uses all major muscle groups
  • Avoids sciatica by improving circulation and flexibility, reduces diabetes, stimulates nerves
  • Works the muscular, skeletal, reproductive, nervous and digestive systems
  • Strengthens back muscles

Mental benefits

  • Builds concentration
  • Increasess mental strength

Emotional benefits

  • Unifies mind and body
  • Promotes emotional balance

6. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

Physical benefits

  • Increases circulation to the heart and lungs
  • Stimulates the cardiovascular system
  • Opens diaphragm and lungs
  • Reduces abdominal fat
  • Improves elasticity of the spine, reducing lower back pain
  • Opens shoulder joint, alleviating frozen shoulder
  • Improves overall strength and balance
  • Helps regulate ovary or prostate function

Mental benefits

  • Improves focus
  • Cultivates determination

Emotional benefits

  • Cultivates patience

7. Tuladandasana

Balancing Stick Pose

Physical benefits

  • Improves posture
  • Helps clear blocked arteries
  • May help prevent future cardiac problems by increasing circulation to the whole body, especially to heart
  • Creates a total spine stretch to relieve stress from spine, builds strength in legs, reducing varicose veins
  • Works the pancreas, liver and spleen
  • Works muscular, reproductive, nervous, digestive and circulatory systems

Mental benefits

  • Improves focus
  • Cultivates determination

Emotional benefits

  • Cultivates patience

8. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana

Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

Physical benefits

  • Increases circulation to the brain and adrenal glands
  • Releases lower back
  • Alleviates constipation
  • Counters abdominal obesity
  • Helps with diabetes and hyperacidity
  • Exercises muscular, adrenal and reproductive systems

Mental benefits

  • Enhances memory and clarity due to increased circulation to brain
  • Decreases mental hyperactivity

Emotional benefits

  • Alleviates depression
  • Reduces anxiety

9. Trikonasana

Triangle Pose

Physical benefits

  • Works all muscular groups simultaneously especially legs and buttocks
  • Opens and increases flexibility of hip joints
  • Reduces hip and back pain, increasing general mobility
  • Reduces saddle bags
  • Alleviaters frozen shoulder
  • Good for kidneys, thyroid and adrenal glands; helps to regulate hormone levels
  • Helps constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, spondylitis, menstrual disorders

Mental benefits

  • Restores mental equilibrium
  • Promotes self-awareness

Emotional benefits

  • Helps relieve anxiety
  • Releases nervous tension

10. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose

Physical benefits

  • Tones abdomen
  • Works reproductive, digestive and endocrine systems, especially thyroid
  • Works obliques, iliopsoas, quads and deltoids, trapezius, biceps and triceps
  • Assists in regulating pancreas and kidneys, good for diabetic conditions, balancing blood sugar levels

Mental benefits

  • Minimizes memory loss

Emotional benefits

  • Lifts mood, alleviating depression

11. Tadasana

Tree Pose

Physical benefits

  • Stretches spine to correct bad posture
  • Increases hip and knee flexibility and mobility
  • Relieves lower back pain releases abdominal tension
  • Tightens gluteal muscles
  • Reduces circulatory problems, arthritis and rheumatism

Mental benefits

  • Increases alertness

Emotional benefits

  • Raises confidence

12. Padungastasana

Toe-stand Pose

Physical benefits

  • Helps relieve arthritis in leg and hip joints
  • Strengthens stomach muscles
  • Strengthens weak hips, knees, ankles and toes
  • Reduces pain from gout

Mental benefits

  • Restores mental equilibrium
  • Promotes self-awareness

Emotional benefits

  • Establishes and maintains calmness of mind
  • Promotes emotional equilibrium