You’ve got to love yoga stick figures!

These cute little characters bring the yoga poses to life with a personality all of their own. Yoga stick figures, also commonly called yoga stickmen, give you a simple bare bones visual cue on how to do the yoga poses without the distractions of a slim young beauty that you may never replicate!

You don’t need to be an artist to draw yoga stick figures. Just follow some of the simple instructions below and keep practicing. You will soon find that your figures begin to have their own personalties, whatever your abilities. Just be creative and have fun.

Yoga stick figures are great tool for every yogi

Drawing Ardha matsyendrasana yoga stick figures

Ardha matsyendrasana yoga stick figure drawing from Hatha Vinyasa Yoga for Beginners Flash Card ebook

Drawing yoga stick figures is a great tool for yoga teachers and students alike. Here are just a few ideas on things you can do with yoga stick figures once you have learned how to draw them.

Stick figures for all yoga students

Each little stick figure can convey a great amount of information about the technique of the yoga pose, giving an easy to remember visual reference. They easily show:

  • where each body part should be positioned
  • the position of the spine
  • whether the legs are bent or straight
  • the angle of the feet
  • which way the head is facing.

Stick figures for yoga teacher trainees

The ability to draw stick figures is invaluable for many reasons, including:

  • drawing is quicker than writing when taking notes in class
  • by drawing the asana you get to learn the correct position in tiny detail, making it easier to remember on the mat
  • in many yoga teacher training courses you are required to be able to draw the yoga stick figures for your certification.

Stick figures for yoga teachers

The ability to draw your own yoga stick figures is a great skill to gain, with many uses:

  • it is a quick and fun way to create lesson plans for class
  • because you can include so much detail with stick figure drawings, they are great for private students to take home as a visual reference on how to practice their yoga sequence on their own, making it easier for your students to remember what to do once they’re on their own.
  • Stick figure drawings clearly break down pose alignment, which can be useful when demonstrating in workshop settings, and this also makes them a very safe way to demonstrate common alignment errors
  • They are also a fun graphic element to add to advertising events for your studio.

Stick figure drawing tips and tricks

Example of how to draw parsva uttanasana yoga stick figures

Example of how to draw parsva uttanasana yoga stick figure from Viniyoga Asana I Flash Card ebook

Here are some ideas on how to go about drawing the stick figures:

  • start with drawing the legs and feet for the base of the pose (showing which way the feet are pointing is very important)
  • then draw in the torso
  • followed by the arms
  • and then the head
  • finally adding a nose to show which direction the head is facing – just can be just a dot in the centre of the head for face-on, or a stroke on the outside for left or right (see illustration)
  • twisting postures, like parivritta trikonasana (revolved triangle pose), are harder to illustrate, so to simulate the twist it’s good to put a dip in the spine, giving it a little curve and also adding a pointer arrow by the side of the stick figure to show the direction of rotation  (see illustration)
  • draw each yoga pose step-by-step several times in order to get the feel for it.

Some additional points to consider

When drawing yoga stick figures and the vinyasa-karma sequences also consider these pointers:

  • try and draw with a pencil as it is easier to rub out when needed
  • drawing side-on is usually easiest for most of the poses and as a general rule the yoga poses are drawn as they would be viewed from the right-hand side
  • when drawing side-on you often only need to draw one leg and/or arm if they are together, however, it is better to draw two when the instruction is given for the legs or arms to be apart
  • when drawing out whole sequences, draw arrows to show the direction of movement and, if required, also show the breath by writing ‘IN’ for Inhale and ‘EX’ for exhale and ‘HOLD’ for a breath retention (see illustration)
  • if the goal position is to be held for several breaths, ie for 5 breaths, write X5 above the asana (see illustration)
  • if an asana needs to be repeated on both sides, also write ES (each side) to indicate this.

Ideas on how to illustrate a yoga sequence with stick figures

Below are some examples for drawing the yoga stick figures and the vinyasa-krama sequences. Remember that these are drawn with the teacher looking from the right hand side.

Drawing the yoga stick figures heads facing different directions

Illustration of Ideas on how to illustrate which way the heads of yoga stick figures are facing

Ideas on how to illustrate which way the heads of yoga stick figures are facing

Drawing a vinyasa-karma sequence with stick figures

The sequence for ‘jathara parivrtti ekapada’ below is a good sequence to look at, as twists are the hardest to illustrate clearly.

The arrows indicate the direction of movement. Each inhale (IN) and exhale (EX) is illustrated showing where they are to be taken. The solid underline indicates the goal pose and above this is written ‘X5’ which indicates that the person is to stay in this position for 5 complete breaths before continuing through the rest of the sequence.

This sequence also illustrates the head facing up, and looking to the right, and as well as the use of an arrow in the goal asana to show which way the leg is moving to create the twist. If greater clarity is required to understand a sequence Left (L) and Right (R) can also be labelled by the hands and feet to show which hand is holding, or is placed by, which foot.

An example of how a vinyasa-krama sequence could be illustrated with yoga stick figures

An example of how a vinyasa-krama sequence could be illustrated with yoga stick figures

Reference books on yoga stick figures

An Illustrated Guide to Asana and Pranayama Image

An Illustrated Guide to Asana and Pranayama

A good way to learn to draw the yoga stick figures is to find a good reference guide and then keep practicing. Some of the yoga poses are really easy to draw with no visual reference, but you will find that some are quite challenging!

For further inspiration on drawing the yoga stick figures, I highly recommend this book – An Illustrated Guide to Asanas and Pranayama by MJN Smith, published in 1980 by the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. It is my favourite reference book on stick figures. It is full of examples on how to draw stick figures. It doesn’t, however, include any written information on how to do the asanas, it is a stick figure reference book only.

And of course, our very own Yoga by Design Flash Card eBook sets are a great reference for not only seeing how to draw the stick figures, but also on learning the asana names and instructions. These flash cards have the benefit of being available for all your Apple mobile devices and computers and also as printed sets, so they will always be at hand whenever you may need them for reference.

I hope you find this information on the wonderful yoga stick figures useful and start to have fun with your new found knowledge.

Namaste