The Sanskrit word Asana literally means “seat” as in meditation and later became known as “physical posture”, being the third limb from Patanjali’s eightfold path. The ancient yogi learned that if he performed the physical asana’s meditation could be achieved with less fatigue. This extrapolates to improved physical endurance, thus gaining stability in the body and enabling the yogi to sit in meditation for prolonged periods.  The yogic text states that asana’s should be steady and comfortable, firm yet relaxed.  (refer to Yoga Sutra chapt. 2 – sutra 46 “Motionless and agreeable form (of staying) is Asana (yogic posture)” {Swami Aranya, “Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali”}  Most recently however, in hatha yoga, this aspect of the yogic path has been significantly developed.

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