What Is Asana In Yoga? A definitive beginner’s guide

What Is Asana In Yoga

The physical practice of yoga postures is known as asana (yoga postures). Asana may also describe a specific yoga practice, such as “The handstand is an asana that is very difficult,” or “This flow consists of a succession of standing asanas.”

Asana is a more accurate term for what most people refer to as yoga. Yin and yang are the eight limbs of yoga.

Yogic disciplines include breathing exercises, dhyana, meditation, and self-observance. Pratyahara (the withdrawal of the senses) is also part of the practice, as is samadhi (the state of equanimity) (bliss).

What Is Asana In Yoga

Read Related Articles:  What is Amrap Workout? Top Secret Workout Guideline

Definition of Asana

The word “asana” refers to physical posture, initially referring to a seated meditation stance but subsequently expanding to include reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing positions.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe “asana” as “a stable and agreeable posture.” One of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s method is the capacity to sit comfortably for long periods.

Asanas are also known as yoga postures, or yoga poses in English.

Some 84 asanas are included in the Goraksha Sataka and Hatha Yoga Pradipika of the 10th or 11th century and the 17th century, respectively; the 17th century Hatha Ratnavali lists 84 asanas and describes some of them.

In reaction to colonialism, Indian nationalism favored material culture in the twentieth century. Many of the early yoga masters of that era taught their methods in such settings.

Some of the most notable of them were Yogendra, Kuvalayananda, and Krishnamacharya (incorporating systems of exercise and traditional hatha yoga).

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga’s creator Pattabhi Jois and Iyengar yoga’s creator B.K.S. Iyengar were both students of Krishnamacharya.

To bring yoga to the Western world, they collaborated to define hundreds of additional asanas. Several new asanas were created since Iyengar’s Light on Yoga was published in 1966. Dharma Mittra illustrated hundreds more.

In medieval hatha yoga writings, asanas were said to provide both spiritual and bodily benefits. For the first time, researchers have found evidence that they have a positive impact on physical health and mental well-being.

For millennia, asanas have been part of the cultural landscape. The lotus and various meditation chairs and the “royal ease” pose, lalitasana, are often depicted in religious Indian art.

The popularity of yoga has resulted in asanas in literature, films, and even commercial campaigns.

What Is Asana In Yoga

Read Related Articles:  What do Burpees Workout? Step by Step Guide and Tips

Benefits of Asanas

Performing asanas is a great way to increase flexibility, strength, and balance.

Asana, or yoga postures, assists in strengthening the joints, ligaments, and muscles of the body. Practicing yoga regularly may help improve flexibility and mobility and spinal lubrication and alignment, which can be helpful in daily life.

Yoga positions like the Ujjayi breath are done in perfect harmony with the breath. Postures should be utilized in conjunction with other mind-body practices like yoga to enhance overall well-being.

These asanas may also help alleviate tension and anxiety by using breathing methods and concentration.

It has been shown that asana practice increases immunity, blood flow, vascular function, cholesterol levels, and mood. Asanas may positively impact the body if practiced consistently for a long period.



 Read Related Articles:  What Are The Benefits Of Hot Yoga: 8 Benefits & Guided Steps

During ancient times

By Sir John Marshall’s 1931 identification of the Pashupati seal’s central figure as a three-faced prototype of the god Shiva, he was able to identify him as a Mahayogin, the god of yoga, as well as a Pashupati, the Lord of Beasts, with four animals beneath his throne, as depicted in medieval depictions of Shiva.

He also had a three-part headdress, reminiscent of the trident of Shiva. If it is accurate, this would be the earliest known record of an asana.

However, there is no evidence that Shiva originated in the Indus Valley, and there are several conflicting interpretations of the Pashupati seal. Therefore there is no convincing evidence that the seal depicts a yoga stance.

In India, asanas were first developed. Classical yoga, also known as raja yoga, is described by Patanjali (c. 2nd to 4th century C.E.) in his Yoga Sutras as having three branches: the third branch is known as asana practice.

The Sanskrit phrase for “sitting down” (from “to sit down”), which has been used in English since the 19th century, is derived from the English word “asana.”

There are eight limbs to the yoga practice: yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, Dharana, dhyana, and finally samadhi, which are the order in which they are listed: social behavior norms, self-observances, and asanas (realization of the true Self or Atman, and unity with Brahman, ultimate reality).

The physical motions of hatha yoga and contemporary yoga are asanas and pranayama, breathing exercises.

This description of “stable and comfortable postures” is about the sitting postures employed for pranayama and meditation, where meditation is the way to samadhi, transpersonal self-realization.

Records from the Medieval era

Mayurasana (peacock) is the first non-seated asana described in the 10th–11th century Vimanarcanakalpa.

James Mallinson, an expert on Nath yoga, believes that these positions were originally developed outside the Shaivism tradition and connected with austerity; they were subsequently embraced by the Nath yogins.

Hatha yoga literature Goraksha Sataka (10–11th century) details the origin of the 84 fundamental yoga asanas, which are supposed to have been revealed by Lord Shiva.

Though just two are mentioned in detail, the scripture indicates that Lord Shiva created an asana for each lakh and therefore created 84 in all; the text-only cites and discusses two of them, Siddha-Sana and Padmasana.

The number 84 denotes completion and holiness and is not meant to be taken literally.

The sitting positions Siddhasana, Padmasana, Bhadrasana, and Simhasana, are listed as the most significant in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (15th century).

Relief sculptures depicting yogins in asanas, including Siddhasana, balanced on a stick, Chakrasana, Yogapattasa, which needs a strap, and a hand-standing inverted stance, are adorning the pillars of the 16th century Achyutaraya temple in Hampi.

Since then, non-seated postures have been an integral part of Hatha yoga practice. At least a dozen asanas are solely stated in the Hatha Ratnavali (17th century) without any description, and four of them cannot be translated from the Sanskrit, while at least 11 are simply named but not described.

The Gheranda Samhita (late 17th century) says that Shiva taught 84 lakh asanas, of which 84 are the most important and “32 are beneficial in the realm of humans.

“Asana was seldom, if ever, the dominant element of the important yoga lineages in India,” Mark Singleton, a yoga instructor, and historian, said in a blog post.

According to yoga researcher Norman Sjoman, it is impossible to trace a continuous lineage of asana practice or study back to the medieval yoga books.

Pioneers of the modern era.

Lamarckist and eugenic theories of Lamarckism and the Indian colonial stereotype of “degeneracy” led to the development of a physical training culture in India from the 1850s onwards.

India’s nationalist movement, led by Tiruka, took up this tradition from the 1880s to the early 20th century and taught exercises and unarmed warfare methods disguised as yoga.

At K. V. Iyer’s Bangalore gym, he deliberately blended “hata yoga” [sic] with bodybuilding, as other Indian physical culture proponents did.

As noted by Singleton, Niels Bukh’s 1924 Danish work Grundgymnastik Eller primitive gymnastics included positions similar to Parighasana, Parsvottanasana, and Navasana (known in English as Primary Gymnastics).

A 19th-century Scandinavian gymnastic tradition originating with Pehr Ling was “transferred to India” in the early 20th century.

Yogendra, known as the “Father of the Modern Yoga Renaissance,” introduced yoga asanas to the United States in 1919, bringing with him the physical culture of Max Müller.

The Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center in Maharashtra in 1924 by Swami Kuvalayananda.

According to academic Joseph Alter, he had a “profound” impact on the growth of yoga by combining asanas with Indian techniques of training and modern European gymnastics.

At the Self-Realization Fellowship he established in Los Angeles in 1925, Paramahansa Yogananda taught yoga to tens of thousands of Americans, including asanas (postures), breathing (pranayama), chanting, and meditation.

“A union of hatha yoga, wrestling exercises, and contemporary Western gymnastic movement, unlike anything seen previously in the yoga tradition” was created by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in the 1930s after studying under Kuvalayananda. ”

Sjoman claims that Krishnamacharya based the Mysore Palace yoga method on the Vyayama Dipika gymnastic practice textbook.

According to Singleton, the similarities between modern standing asanas and Scandinavian gymnastics can be attributed to Krishnamacharya’s use of gymnastic jumping between poses and his familiarity with the time’s prevailing gymnastics culture, which was heavily influenced by Scandinavian gymnastics.

Indra Devi, a Russian named Eugenie V. Peterson, was a student of Krishnamacharya’s who became an influential yoga teacher herself, as did Pattabhi Jois, the father of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar Yoga, T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of B.K.S. Iyengar and A. G. Mohan, With the help of each other, resurrected yoga’s appeal and took it to the West.

The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, released in 1960 by Vishnudevananda Saraswati of the Sivananda yoga school, had 66 fundamental postures and 136 variations on those poses.

Using images of Iyengar practicing more than 600 asanas, he released Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika in 1966. This book systematized the physical practice of asanas. Selling three million copies and being translated into 17 languages became a bestseller.

According to Dharma Yoga’s website, Dharma Mittra published a list of 1,300 asanas and their variants in 1984; the Dharma Yoga website says that he authored about 300 of them.

The origins of Asana

Some asanas were old, while others were developed in the Middle Ages and the modern-day.

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose 1), which seems traditional, was likely developed about 1940 by Krishnamacharya and popularized by his student, B.K.S. Iyengar.

Parivritta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Position) is a pose that is unquestionably newer: it was not included in the first edition of Pattabhi Jois’ Yoga Mala in 1962.

Another yoga pose, known as the “reversed warrior pose,” is still very new, maybe dating back to the early 2000s.

Several postures that are now regularly performed, such as Dog Pose and standing asanas, including Trikonasana (triangle pose), initially arose in the 20th century, as did the sequence of asanas, Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun) (Salute to the Sun).

According to Ramayana’s “Yuddha Kaanda” Canto 107, the Aditya Hridayam is a very old sun salutation.

It is possible that K. Pattabhi Jois specified the variant forms of Surya Namaskar A and B for Ashtanga Yoga, which may have been developed from Krishnamacharya’s Surya Namaskar in its current form. Pratinidhi, Raja of Aundh.

Pronunciation of one’s body to the sun is a basic old technique that may be seen as “a contemporary, physical-cultured reinterpretation.”

More than 200 yoga positions were described in the 1966 classic Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.

While many traditional asanas are named after objects (like Vrikshasana, “Tree Pose”), legendary figures (like Matsyendra, the Sage of Matsyendra), or animals (like Kurmasana, the tortoise pose), “an overwhelming eighty-three” of Iyengar’s asanas have names that simply describe the position of the body (like “Extended Side Angle Pose”); these are, he suggests, the ones “that have been developed later.”

Shatkonasana, “Six Triangles Pose,” was first documented in 2015. In his Master Yoga Chart from 1984, Mittra depicted 908 positions and variants. Since then, many more have been devised.

As seen in the table, the number of asanas has grown throughout time.
Yoga asana titles have been used “promiscuously” throughout the ages, Sjoman says, making it impossible to trace their origins back to a specific period.

Since the same name may signify a different stance, and a pose may have been known by several names at various periods, similar names are not evidence of continuity.workout

Read Related Articles:  What Is Yoga Nidra? 10 Steps to practice

Getting Started with Asana

Beginner asanas are a great place to start, whether you’re new to yoga or just want to enhance your existing practice.

If you include asanas in your daily practice, they may enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Yoga may be practiced in various ways, and finding the one that works best for you may require some trial and error.

Try a variety of yoga types, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and hot yoga (Bikram), to find the one that works best for you.

Vinyasa is more intense and time-consuming than Hatha yoga, calming and more leisurely in pace.

Modernized versions of the practice, such as CorePower yoga, are more physically oriented.

Think about the long-term advantages of yoga, which may last a lifetime.

Asanas FAQs

Is there a time limit for an asana?

When it comes to the duration, it may range from as little as one or two breaths up to five minutes. The emphasis and style of the yoga practice are important considerations.

Is there any asana that has negative effects?

If done correctly, there are no negative consequences. It’s preferable to practice them under the guidance of an expert until they’re excellent.

Do asanas have an upper age limit?

Everybody is welcome.

What is the ideal time of day to practice yoga?

On an empty stomach, they should be performed as soon as possible after waking up.

Is there a certain breathing method for each sort of asana that I should use?

Inhalation and exhalation patterns are specific to each asana. You’ll get the full advantages of asana practice if you take care to breathe correctly.

Breathing through the diaphragm, deep in the abdomen, is essential. To get the greatest advice, get help from a knowledgeable professional.

Are there any warm-ups before or after asana?

Warm-up stretches should be performed before attempting more challenging yoga asanas. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least a few days thereafter.

It’s ideal to complete the stretches again to unwind after doing yoga asanas. Shavasana, or the sleep posture, may also be practiced after a yoga session.

Keep Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.