Extremely Effective Yoga Poses & Asanas for Strength & Power Athletes

Paul on Yoga.  I can do strict handstand push-ups, double unders, ring muscle ups, and I power clean over #225.  I cannot do splits, super twisty poses, and other challenging poses like lotus.  Maybe one day, but not today.  I am a CrossFitter and a personal trainer, and I work on my mobility everyday.  Yoga is for everyone, and these are the poses I use.  Poses that work … and poses that will improve your mobility.

All of my life I have been a tight, inflexible person.  I used to pull muscles all the time like hamstrings and quads.  Yoga poses are great for building mobility and range of motion.  But so many yoga poses are still way out of my reach.  They are, in fact, out of 95% of people’s reach.  Especially power athletes like myself.

When I started learning about yoga, I found it very difficult to find approachable poses.  So I started building out the Yoga table below.  I’ve found this table very helpful when sequencing poses (called yoga flows.)  Most of the poses (asanas) you will see are Astanga and Iyenger based.

Today, Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose) is still out of my reach, but maybe not one day.  In an advanced Yoga class, I sometimes feel alone … the unbendy outsider.  Tight people need yoga too.  Well, now you have a spreadsheet listing out the rare to ubiquitous poses.  Easy poses for beginners, and more advanced poses for the experienced yogis.   Mobility is important for every athlete: runners, weightlifters, and kettlebell athletes alike.

Extremely Effective Yoga Poses and Asanas for Strength and Power Athletes.  Poses that will challenge and improve your mobility.

Many yoga books and websites feature amazingly bendy people doing poses.  Ours doesn’t.  Some poses such as Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana are very challenging, but can be effectively scaled with a strap.  In those cases, you’ll see the pose using scaling.

Yoga Poses and Asanas for Strength and Power Athletes

Sanskrit NameEnglish Name 1English Name 2Pose Type 1Pose Type 2Primary BenefitSecondary BenefitCommonalityDifficultyImportanceScaling TipsPronunciationEtymologyReferences
GarudasnaEagle PoseStandingYesShoulder OpenerHip OpenerUncommonIntermediateLowgah-rue-DAHS-annagaruda = bird of preyYoga Anatomy. P90-92
NatarajasanaKing of the Dancers PoseStandingBackbendQuadriceps and Hip Flexor StretchHeart OpenerCommonIntermediateMediumnot-ah-AHS-annanata = dancer;
raja = king
Yoga Anatomy. P93-95
UtkatasanaChair PoseAwkward PoseStandingAnkle MobilityShoulder MobilityVery CommonIntermediateHighOOT-Kah-TAHS-annautkah = awkwardYoga Anatomy. P78-79
UttanasanaStanding Forward BendStanding Forward FoldStandingForward BendLower Back MobilityHamstring MobilityUbiquitousBeginnerEssentialOOT-tan-AHS-annaut = Intense
tan = stretch
Yoga Anatomy. P80-81
Utthita Hasta PadangusthasanaExtended Hand to Toe PoseStandingHamstring MobilityHip StabilityCommonExpertLowoo-TEE-tah HA-sta pad-an-goosh-TAHS-annautthita = extended;
hasta = hand;
pada = foot;
angusta = big toe
Yoga Anatomy. P82-85
Virabhadrasna IWarrior IWarrior Pose AStandingStrengthLeg ConditioningHip ExtensionUbiquitousBeginnerEssentialveer-ah-bah-DRAHS-annavirabhadra = warriorYoga Anatomy. P95-99
Virabhadrasna IIWarrior IIWarrior Pose BStandingMobilityHip MobilityLeg ConditioningUbiquitousBeginnerEssentialveer-ah-bah-DRAHS-annavirabhadra = warriorYoga Anatomy. P100-102
Virabhadrasna IIIWarrior IIIWarrior Pose CStandingBalancePosture ControlUnilateral BalanceVery CommonIntermediateMediumWallveer-ah-bah-DRAHS-annavirabhadra = warriorYoga Anatomy. P103-104
VrkasanaTree PoseStandingHip OpenerBalanceLeg StrengthUbiquitousBeginnerMediumWallVrik-SHAS-annavrksa = TreeYoga Anatomy. P86-89
Utthita ParsvakonasanaExtended Side Angle PoseStandingStrengthLeg StrengthTwistingVery CommonBeginnerHighBlocksoo-Tee-tah marsh-vah-cone-AHS-annautthita = extended;
parsva = side;
kona = angle
Yoga Anatomy. P105-107
Parivrtta Baddha ParsvakonasaRevolved Side Angle PoseStandingTwistingStrengthTwistingUncommonMediumHighUse a strap or towel if you can clasp handspar-ee-VRIT-tah BAH-dah marsh-vah-cone-AHS-annaparivrtta =twist or revolved;
buddha = bound;
parsva = side;
kona = angle
Yoga Anatomy. P108-110
Utthita TrikonasanaExtended Triangle PoseStandingHamstring MobilityTwistingVery CommonBeginnerEssentialBlocksoo-TEE-tah trio-cone-AHS-annautthita = extended;
tri = three;
kona = angle
Yoga Anatomy. P110-114
Parivrtta TrikonasanaRevolved Triangle PoseStandingTwistingThoracic MobilityHamstring MobilityUncommonIntermediateMediumBlockspar-ee-VRIT-tah trio-cone-AHS-annaparivrtta =twist or revolved;
tri = three;
kona = angle
Yoga Anatomy. P114-116
ParsvottanasanaIntense Side StretchStandingForward BendHamstringCommonEasyHighStrap behind ankleparsh-voh-tahn-AHS-annaparsva = side;
ut = intense;
tan = stretch
Yoga Anatomy. P117-119
Prasarita PadottanasanaSpread Foot Intense PoseStandingForward BendLower Back MobilityHamstring MobilityCommonEasyHighUse blocks to get hands to the floor.pra-sa-REE-tah-pah-doh-tahn-AHS-annaprasarita = spread;
pada = foot;
ut = intense;
tan = stretch;
Yoga Anatomy. P121-122
UpavesanaGarland Pose, MalasanaPrying SquatStandingHip OpenerHip OpeningBuild Squat MobilityUncommonMediumEssentialUse a TRX Suspension Trainer or Band to provide supportoo-pah-ve-SHAS-annaupavesa=sitting downYoga Anatomy. P123-125
PadmasanaLotus PoseSittingHip OpenerHip MobilityCommonExpertMediumpod-MAHS-annapadma = lotus
DandasanaStaff PoseSittingForward BendCommonBeginnerLowdan-DAHS-annadanda = stickYoga Anatomy. P130-131
PaschimottanasanaSeated Forward BendSittingForward BendHamstringsLower BackVery CommonBeginnerMediumUse a StrapPOS-chee-moh-tan AHS-annaPascha = behind;
ut = intense;
tan = stretch
Yoga Anatomy. P132-133.

About Coach Paul

Paul Bio PictureView my Bio | Email me
BioMedical Engineering - Johns Hopkins University.
Juris Doctorate - Rutgers.

Paul has trained over 3000 clients and more than a 100 personal trainers over his 10 years as a mobility and strength coach.  He emphasizes safety and corrective exercises in all programming (strength, weight loss, conditioning, etc.)  His practice focuses on improving flawed movement patterns to prevent injury and improve skeletal-muscular function.  Paul employs a balanced approach in training utilizing his training Yoga, CrossFit, Powerlifting, and Movement Courses to systematically strengthen weakened muscles and mobilize joints and muscle tissue.  Move Better ... Train Better.