Yoga Moves as Performed by Animals

Breathe in, breathe out. Yoga poses offer a variety of ways to build flexibility, balance and strength. So it shouldn’t surprise us when we see wildlife striking a pose! Here are just a few yoga poses gracefully demonstrated by wildlife:

Downward Dog: Coyote

One of the most recognizable poses, members of the Canidae family really have this pose down.

Coyote stretching in a snowy setting
A coyote near Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge by Lori Iverson / USFWS

Upward Dog: Red Fox

This fox has mastered the difficult challenge of doing a lion’s breath AND upward dog. This move is not for the faint of heart.

Fox stretching while lying on the ground and sticking out its tongue.
Red fox on Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge by Lisa Hupp / USFWS

Locust: Harbor Seal

We have yet to see an actual locust do this pose, but as it turns out — Harbor seals are always up for it.

Seal lying on the ground with its flippers in the air
Harbor seal at Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge by USFWS

Straddle: Yellow-headed Blackbird

The wide-legged forward bend or straddle pose offers new possibilities when it comes to vocalizing, mostly if you’re a bird. Please don’t sing in yoga class.

Bird with black body feathers and yellow head feathers with its legs spread and each holding onto vegetation
Yellow-headed Blackbird eating a mosquito at Bear River Refuge by Roger Lewis

Tadasana: Black-footed Ferret

This foundation for all standing poses, helps with posture and is performed by black-footed ferrets on high alert.

Black-footed ferret standing on its hind legs
Endangered black-footed ferret stands tall by Mike Lockhart / USFWS

Side Plank: Harbor Seal

Please feel free to modify this pose as demonstrated by this seal. And remember if a seal can do an arm balance, so can you.

Seal lying in sand with flippers outstretched
Harbor seal on Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex by Peter Pearsall / USFWS

Frog: Red-legged Frog

Who better to demonstrate frog pose, than the inspiration.

Reddish frog sitting on the ground
Red-legged Frog in the Pacific Region by Peter Pearsall / USFWS

Handstand: Spotted Skunk

A highly skilled pose, handstand takes time to learn. Remember, you are good just as you are, and you may not be able to perfect handstand like this spotted skunk at Saguaro National Park in Arizona.

Skunk standing on its front two legs with body and tail in the air
Watch the Video by National Park Service.

Savasana: Sea Otter

Perhaps this version is better known as “sea”vasana, but this rendition is an excellent way to close your practice with gentle awareness.

Otter floating on its back in blue water
A sea otter found nearshore along the California coastline by Lilian Carswell/USFWS.

By Danielle Brigida and Ashley Suarez-Burgos




The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

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We’re dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.

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