If you have practiced yoga in a classroom setting, or on YouTube, you have no doubt heard the word asana. It is the plural form of the word asan, which literally means seat. Modern yoga translations are position or posture. While in the west yoga has come to be synonymous with asana, this is only one of eight pieces of the yoga puzzle (often called limbs) as presented in the Yogasutra, an ancient text discussing the practice of yoga.

The Yogasutra only mentions asana once, to say that they should be both steady, or stable, and easeful. Many asana we know today were only introduced in the early 20th century! Because I often teach movements that are components of asana, as well as functional movements, I like to remind my students that all of yoga was made up at some point. smile