History of Asanas

Asana comes from the Sanskrit for “sitting” and around 500 BCE the first writing about asanas described them as a comfortable and stable seated pose for meditation.In the 10th century, a yogi stated that there were 84 asanas that came from the god Shiva. But they weren’t listed or described until 700 years later.

In the 19th century, asanas started to mix with other physical exercise practices.In the early 20th century, asanas arrived in America and there were many new yoga centers creating postures and sequences of poses. Hollywood stars, like Marilyn Monroe, did yoga for exercise.

In 1966, Y.S. Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga” showed 200 asanas in photographs. This book forms the ABCs of modern yoga.

Today, we have so many postures and positions that I’m not sure there is a real count. In 1984, Dharma Mittra compiled a list of 1,300 asanas, but I know that many yoga teachers (like me!) invent things for their classes. How many asanas? Wakaranai!

Published by Satoyama Yoga

里山ヨガは千葉県鴨川市で寄付ベースのコミュニティヨガ教室です。 興味のある友達を招待してください。 Satoyama Yoga is a donation-based community class in Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan, led by Kristen McQuillin. Daily classes are held via Zoom; special yoga events and private lessons with Kristen are possible. Please contact for details. The group's history: 11/13/2015 - weekly class at Satoyama Design Factory; 9/10/2019 - daily class at Monaka after Typhoon 15; 3/23/2020 - daily Zoom class during pandemic.

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