James Russell Yoga

ĀSANA

© James Dylan Russell 2017
HAṬHA YOGA / ĀSANA
असन - āsana (pronounced 'aa-sana') ~ posture
'Āsana' derives from the root word 'as' meaning 'to sit' or 'to abide in.' Originally the term āsana was used to denote a seated position, established as a basis for meditation practice. A variety of predominantly seated asanas are found in early commentaries of Patañjali's Yoga sutra. In the later tradition of haṭha yoga, a wide variety of non seated āsana were developed in order to keep the body strong, supple and flexible and also to prepare the body for the awakening of powerful spiritual energy called ‘kuṇḍalinī śakti.’ Within haṭha yoga, the term āsana first came to be associated with its popular interpretation today - 'posture.'

Although mediaeval Hatha texts allude to vast numbers of postures and 84 classic asana, most describe or list a handful those asana and ‘Mudra’ (energetic seals) that were considered to be particularly important:

View āsana gallery
There are as many postures as there are species of beings. Only Maheshvara (Lord Śiva) knows all their varieties. Of the 8400,000 (āsana) one for each 100,000 has been mentioned. Thus Śiva created eighty four seats (pitha) for Yogins.

Goraksha Paddhati 1.8 - 1.9