' 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