July 19, 2024
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Ask Yogi July 2024

Q: What kinds of yoga body postures are there and are there a set number?. My brother said that there are around 50 maybe more. I told him not to make up stuff. Also what kinds of postures are yoga ones do they all have to be sitting or standing? D. Rajput – Cardiff

A: The style of yoga, often presented as concerned principally with asanas (yoga body postures), is Hatha Yoga. 52 We find references to the practice of this style of yoga in ancient sources. The most well-known text is the ‘Hatha Yoga Pradapika’, believed to have been compiled in the 15th century. Other classic texts that provide detailed descriptions of yoga asanas include the ‘Gheranda Samhita’ and the ‘Yoga Sutras.’

It is not known definitively how many yoga postures there are.

In the classical ancient text, the ‘Gheranda Samhita’ it states that there are as many postures, as there are living beings, Lord Shiva taught 84,000 postures.

The book notes that of these 84,000 asanas, 1600 are especially significant. Then out of these 1600, there are 32 which are useful for this world (Chapter 2, stanza 2). These ancient classical postures are named in the ‘Gheranda Samhita; at Chapter 2, stanza 3 to 6. Thereafter the practical aspect of how to perform these asanas are also described. If the mind is perplexed, this will have a direct impact on the body and create related problems. The purpose of performing physical yoga postures is to instil equanimity, poise, and relaxation so that the adept is in tune with energy, time, and space.

There are various kinds of yoga postures, depending on how they are performed: These being:

  • Seated/sitting
  • Leg postures
  • Supine
  • Head
  • Knee
  • Abdominal
  • Hand
  • Upside down (inversions)

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