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Asanas

An asanana: is a posture, originally and still a general term for a seated meditation posture,[1] and later expanded in hatha yoga and modern yoga as an exercise to include any type of position, being lying, standing, overhead, twisting and balancing poses Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras define “asana” as “[a position that is] stable and comfortable.

Patanjali mentions the ability to sit for long periods as one of the eight limbs of his system. Asanas are also called
yoga poses or yoga poses in English.

The 10th or 11th century Goraksha Sataka and the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika identify 84 asanas;

The 17th-century Hatha Ratnavali provides another list of 84 asanas, describing some of them. In the 20th century, Indian nationalism favored physical culture in response to colonialism. In this environment, pioneers such as Yogendra, Kuvalayananda, and Krishnamacharya taught a new system of asanas (which includes exercise systems in addition to traditional hatha yoga).
Krishnamacharya graduates included influential Indian yoga teachers including Pattabhi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, and B.K.S. Iyengar, Founder of Iyengar Yoga. Together they described hundreds more asanas, reviving yoga’s popularity and bringing it to the western world. Many more asanas have been developed since Iyengar’s 1966 Light on Yoga, which described about 200 asanas. Hundreds more have been illustrated by Dharma Mittra.Medieval hatha yoga texts claimed that asanas offered spiritual and physical benefits. More recently studies have shown that they improve flexibility, strength and balance; to reduce stress and related conditions; and specifically for the relief of some diseases such as asthma,and diabetes.

asanas have appeared in culture for many centuries. Indian religious art depicts figures of the Buddha, Jain Tirthankaras and Shiva in the lotus position and other meditative postures, as well as in the position of “royal ease”, lalitasana. With the popularity of yoga as an exercise, asanas are often featured in novels and films, and sometimes in advertisements.

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