Star pose: Astronaut demos microgravity yoga on International Space Station

Expedition 67 astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency, holds a yoga pose on the International Space Station.
Expedition 67 astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency, holds a yoga pose on the International Space Station. (Image credit: ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti)

English-speaking yoga teachers often evoke space in their pose names, with examples including "crescent moon" and "star" positions.

Now an astronaut is getting these moves on during microgravity exercise on the International Space Station.

Expedition 67 astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti recently shared a picture of herself on Twitter doing "triangle pose" in the Japanese Kibo laboratory, a popular spot for astronauts to pose for pictures and press conferences.

"Who says you can't do yoga in space! At least you can try," the European Space Agency astronaut tweeted on Tuesday (June 21), along with the photo. The Italian spaceflyer added that she wants to try out an even more ambitious routine soon.

Related: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti makes history with 1st TikTok from International Space Station

Cristoforetti, who is on TikTok to reach younger audiences, recently teamed up with Cosmic Kids Yoga (a private company in operation since 2012) to develop a yoga routine optimized for space exploration.

"You know what? I love doing yoga here on Earth, and I'm wondering, would it work up there in space?" Cristoforetti asked in a May 23 video posted on the Cosmic Kids YouTube channel.

In response, certified yoga teacher Jaime Amor played out a possible space routine for Cristoforetti in the 20-minute video, adding a Yoga in Space activity pack for youngsters looking to stretch and do resistance training along with the astronaut.

Other astronauts have successfully done yoga in orbit before Cristoforetti. For example, NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson showed off some balancing poses in 2017, although Fischer joked on Twitter that these are a lot easier to hold "without gravity."

Additionally, NASA Christina Koch — who spent nearly a year in space — lists yoga as one of her leisure activities in her official agency biography.

Yoga has numerous health benefits including improving strength, balance and flexibility, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine; yoga is also associated with more energy and better stress management, among other health outcomes.

The United Nations celebrated International Yoga Day on Tuesday (June 21) and noted that yoga has been crucial for worldwide health since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

"People around the world embraced yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression during the pandemic," the UN wrote

"Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety."

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: