It’s Getting Official: The Postures

*Who’s getting snacks? Congrats to Lori B. Email me at so I can get you squared away. Enjoy!*

Awhile back, I posted about new competition rules. Well, since then, the rules have gotten even more specific, and a whole new document has come out from the International Yoga Sports Federation. What I want to do today is take a look at the new guidelines surrounding the postures and creating your routine.

First, you can see the full rules about postures and routines here. This is a pretty significant document. If you’re planning on competing you will want to read it. I’ll draw out some highlight though.

Required Postures

Previously, there were five required postures done in the following order: (a) SH2K, (b) Standing Bow, (c) Bow, (d) Rabbit, and (e) Stretching. Then you did your two optionals. All of the required postures were originally worth a maximum of 10 points.

Now there are four required postures, you get to pick which ones you do, and they vary in point value. The four required postures fall under the four categories of: (a) forward compressions, (b) backward bends, (c) stretching, and (d) twist. The original five postures from the previous competition model are still represented in these four categories should you wish to select them.

It works like this….You start with a category, let’s say forward compression. You can pick from three postures:

  • Rabbit – worth 6 points
  • SH2K – now a maximum of 7 points instead of 10
  • Full Tortoise – 8 points
You mean triangle isn't an option? Oh darn.

You mean triangle isn’t an option? Oh darn.

Rabbit is considered to be a level one posture in the compression group. SH2K would be a level two, and Full Tortoise a level three.  You would select from one of these three postures, and that would be the first posture you did in your routine. You would then chose a posture from each of the remaining three categories (which, as a reminder, you can find in this document).

There are a few additional rules when it comes to selecting your required postures. They include:

  • at least one of your postures must demonstrate balance. This means you must do at least one of the following: Standing Bow, Dancer, Upward Stretching, Standing Splits, Wide Angle Twist, or Full Twist (I don’t even know how to do those last two).
  • at least one posture has to be a level two or three. your postures can’t all be from level one. Rest easy here. Standing Bow is a level two. You can probably pull that off. AND it demonstrates balance. Bonus! We just conquered these two rules with one posture.

And here’s one more interesting rule that’s different – no more announcing postures. There are some exceptions (outlined in the rules) but in general that’s not going to be happening anymore.

Optional Postures

There is a separate document outlining rules for selecting and executing optional postures. You will, as before, select two optionals to do at the end after the required postures have been completed. However, you must select off the list I linked to in this section.

You will see that there are some great features about the optionals documents. First, they tell you how to execute the posture. Although for some postures I still couldn’t so much as visualize how I would get in or out of it. In cases where you can choose between a right or left side (for example, leg behind head), they tell you how to execute it for the right side. But you could perform it on your left.

They also tell you deductions you can expect to receive that are specific to your selected posture, the minimum expression, how you can

I can hold mountain for exactly one second.

I can hold mountain for exactly one second but only with my eyes closed.

demonstrate extra skill for extra points, and any accepted flourishes. There are also pictures of every posture being executed.

For the postures I did last year (lifting lotus and upward stretching), I found the level of detail provided by the document to be very helpful.

There are also some newly added optional postures that you might be interested in (flag pose; handstand lotus scorpion). I can’t do any of these, but I found it fascinating to look at the pictures and read how to perform them.


This is a much needed document. If you look at the main page, you will see that there are far more documents and pieces of information than what I have discussed here today. We needed a set of documents that clearly articulated the rules and explained the postures in a precise, detailed manner. The only thing I would add would be a video of each posture being performed.

I am sure this document will need tweaking – nothing is perfect – but it is an incredible step forward in the right direction.

Additionally, I want to add how much I appreciate the amount of choice now provided in the required postures. I think this will open competition up to more people. I think there are plenty of people who would be perfectly happy performing at a regional level, but who are not interested in going beyond that (I am one of those). I know some people are put off by having to do SH2K. Either they can’t, or it’s not their strong suit. The options within the required postures has the potential to truly allow for greater participation.

What do you think?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 07:33:50

    Take a closer look at the new #competition rules. #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


  2. Mark Quast (@do_the_posture)
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 23:05:08

    It’s Getting Official: The Postures – via @shareaholic


  3. Bill Affourtit (@waffourt)
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 08:42:48

    It’s Getting Official: The Postures :: My Bikram Yoga Life


  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Oct 25, 2014 @ 14:32:20

    It’s Getting Official: The Postures #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


  5. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Apr 27, 2015 @ 04:15:01

    It’s Getting Official: The Postures #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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