Asana is translated as Seat or to Sit Down.
Ultimately, we practice yoga poses to be able to sit comfortably and stably in meditation. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali define asana as sthira suhka asanam, "asana is comfortable and steady" and that "Perfection in an asana is complete when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached." - BKS Iyengar. We learn yoga poses to make the body more flexible and strong so that we can sit for extended periods of time and access the higher limbs of the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga: Dharana - Concentration, Dhyana - Meditation and Samadhi - Total Absorption.
There are several different types of asana:
Standing Poses - Utthistha Sthiti
Seated Poses - Upavistha Sthiti
Forward Extension - Paschima Pratana Sthiti
Lateral Extension - Parivrtta Sthiti
Back Extension - Purva Pratana Sthiti
Inversions - Viparita Sthiti
Abdominal Poses - Udara Akunchana Sthiti
Restorative Poses - Visranta Karaka Asana
There are also poses which are appropriate for beginners and poses for more adept practitioners. Please browse our asana index for images, video, audio and text on the various poses. We encourage you to become an iHanuman Student or Teacher and Contribute to Our Yogi-Sourced Asana Index!
Use this Asana Index as a Guideline. Practice Yoga Poses at Your Own Risk.