For many Western yogis, getting a tattoo to express their love of asana and the other limbs of yoga is par for the course. Enter any yoga class and you are bound to see people with Sanskrit writing or mandalas or the rainbow chakras inked permanently up their spine or along their forearm. Of course, not all tattoos are created equal and all yogis walk a fine line when getting a tattoo outside of their culture. As a yoga teacher, I often cringe when I see people walk in with an om on their foot or sacred beads tattooed on their chest. It’s incredibly important to be respectful and not permanently alter your body in a way that would offend the culture from which yoga came. Still, tattoos are a personal expression at best and it is entirely possible to get a beautiful tattoo with personal meaning that screams your love of yoga in every way. Here are 11 yoga tattoos to help you get started.
The moon cycles
For many avid practitioners of yoga, the cycle of the moon go hand in hand with their time on the mat. Depending on the phase of the moon, yogis may choose to salute the sun or the moon. They may choose to invert or to take a more calming, grounded approach. This is the perfect tattoo to remind every yogi that lifeand the practice — has cycles.
My favorite yoga tattoos are personal. They aren’t trying to take anything from another culture or copy from an Instagram influencer. They are unique and fun and different. This “up dog” fits the bill perfectly. Not only is it a cute yogi tat, it’s also a great way to pay homage to a beloved furry friend. Always a huge plus!
Chilling in easy pose
Sometimes more is less. And in the case of this tattoo, that’s definitely true. This is one, positioned in sukhasana, or easy pose, serves as a permanent reminder to slow down and take a deep breath.
A fresh take on tree pose
We talk a lot in yoga about rooting to rise, about the importance of growing roots before you can grow branches. This tattoo embodies that notion. The very best yoga tattoos enhance our practice every time we see them and this is a great example of that.
A bright sun salutation
One of the most basic sequences in a yoga practice is Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutations A. Most ashtanga-derived classes, whether vinyasa or more traditional, will have a full sun A flow worked into class time. It wakes up the body. It links breath to movement. And it grounds the practice, which is why this tattoo is just genius and beautiful in every way. It is so simple, but it says so much.
The here and now
The entire practice of yoga has one goal: Be here now. We are trying to calm the chatter in our mind, get out of the thoughts that so ceaselessly plague us and learn to be fully present. This tattoo is simple and clear and serves as a constant reminder to be here right now.
Avo yoga (a.k.a a health lover’s legit dream)
A lot of yogis take the practice too seriously, which is why I love this tattoo. It’s a great reminder to lighten up and enjoy the journey. Also, who doesn’t love avocado?
Don’t forget to breathe
Yoga is really just a breath practice. Each breath is linked to movement, but without the breath, it’s just a workout. Therefore, this incredibly simple tattoo has enormous yogic meaning. Inhale. Exhale. That’s it. It’s the most powerful yoga tattoo possible.
A unique take
If all else fails, just get a tattoo that means something to you. I have no idea what this piece means in terms of yoga the owner’s life, but it’s different and funny and massively creative. So hey! That’s yoga, too.
Getting real bendy (or aspiring to)
If there is a pose that seems unreachable or that you are working toward in your practice, it’s an interesting idea to manifest it by permanently inking it onto your flesh. It may not work. It may not change a thing. But it keeps the pose fresh in your mind as a reminder to keep moving forward.
If you get a yoga tattoo on the foot, be mindful of what kind of tattoo it is. Think long and hard about placement, and if the foot is the choice, choose a tattoo that doesn’t have sacred roots—you draw energy from your feet in the yogic practice, so it’s important avoid figuratively planting yourself to the floor. This is a good example of exactly what does work here.
For more tattoo inspiration before committing for life, check out the semi-permanent tattoos over at Inkbox Tattoos. There are thousands of designs to choose from, designed by a worldwide community of artists. Just a heads up, Inside Out is powered by the folks at Inkbox. It’s all part of our shared mission to empower you to tell your unique story, be it for now or forever.