#yogaabc: A is for Asana

Looking forward to this! In this new series of posts I'm going to take you through the alphabet in yoga. 🏫🌈 If you're relatively new to yoga, this is a great way to learn the basics - your abc's... 🎒🎓 Asana literally means "seated" but it is the term we give to all the physical postures we practice in yoga. The reason is that all the physical postures we practice in yoga are actually only supposed to preparations so that we can sit down and meditate, with the ultimate goal of finding enlightenment 🌌 Besides this, practicing asanas can have many other benefits including (to name just a few) improving strength, flexibility, posture, sleep, circulation, concentration, tolerance, mood, energy, reducing stress, weight loss, and aiding recovery from injury. 
There are many physical postures in yoga each with their own set of benefits. The 84 classical ones all have sanskrit names ending in -asana e.g. virasana = hero pose, trikonasana = triangle pose. In addition there are many contemporary poses that are commonly understood in yoga class just be their English name e.g. Wild Thing 🐯
Asana is only one of the 8 limbs of yoga as defined by the sage Patanjali in the#yogasutras nearly 2000 years ago. Other limbs of yoga include ethical and behavioural codes of conduct (yamas and niyamas), learning to control and improve the breath (pranayama) and the function of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana), and ultimately enlightenment (samadhi). Good to know as many people of think of "asana" and "yoga" as the same thing!