The word meaning of “Yoga” is an intimate union of human soul with God. Yoga is an art and takes into purview the mind, the body and the soul of the man in its aim of reaching Divinity. The body must be purified and strengthened through Ashtanga Yogas-Yama, Niyama, Asanas and Pranayama. The mind must be cleansed from all gross through Prathyaharam, Dharana, Dhyanam and Samadhi. Thus the soul should turn inwards if a man should become a yogic adept. Knowledge purifies the mind and surrender takes the soul towards God.
TYPE OF ASANAS
The asanas are poses mainly for health and strength. There are innumerable asanas, but not all of them are really necessary, I shall deal with only such asanas as are useful in curing ailments and maintaining good health.
ARDHA CHAKRSANA (HALF WHEEL POSTURE)
This posture resembles half wheel in final position, so it’s called Ardha Chakrasana or half wheel posture.
TADASANA (PALM TREE POSE)
In Sanskrit ‘Tada’ means palm tree. In the final position of this posture, the body is steady like a Palm tree, so this posture called as ‘Tadasana’.
The final position of this posture looks like a 'triangle' in shape, so it’s called Trikonasa or triangular stretch pose.
‘Veera Bhadra' is one of the Gana (can call as Soldier) of Lord Shiva. This pose dedicated to him, so this posture is called as Veerabhadrasana. This posture also called as Warrior pose.
PARSHWA KONASANA (SIDE ANGLE POSTURE)
In Sanskrit ‘Parshwa’ means Side, ‘Kona’ means angle. In the final position of this posture, the body forms a side angle, so this posture called as Parshwa Konasana.
The final position of this posture emulates the action of cobra raising itself just prior to striking at its prey, so it’s called cobra posture or Bhujangasan.
"Pada" means foot, "hasta" means hand. So the exact English translation is the foot hand pose. This asana widely called as the forward bending posture.
The final position of this posture looks like Camel, so its called camel posture or Ustrasana.
'Marjara' means Cat, this posture imitates the periodical upward and down word stretching of the Cat, so it’s called Marajarasana.
Paschima means back or west, 'uttana' means to stretch, in this posture back stretches nicely, so-called back stretching pose. This posture also called as Ugrasana.
ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA (HALF-SPINAL TWIST POSE)
Great yogi Matsyendra Nath did meditation in this posture. So this posture called as Ardha Matsyendrasana.
'Padma' means lotus, the final position of this posture looks like lotus, so it is called Padmasana.
‘Ananta shayana’ refers to Lord Vishnu. During ‘maha pralaya’ Lord Vishnu slept above ‘Adishesha’(1000 headed serpent) in this position. So this posture called as Ananta Shayanasana.
In Sanskrit ‘Pawan’ means wind, ‘Mukta’ means release. This posture is very useful in removing wind from the intestines and stomach. So this posture called as "Pawan muktasana".
‘Purva’ refers to the front part of the body.‘Uttana’ means raising. The front part of the body is rising in the final position of this posture, so it’s called "Purvottanasana".
'Vrksha' means tree, the final position of the posture resembles a tree. So it is called Vrkshasana or one leg stand.
GARUDASANA (EAGLE POSE)
Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This posture resembles garuda or eagle so it’s called as Garudasana.
SHALABHASANA (LOCUST POSTURE)
‘Shalabha’ means Locust, The final position of this posture imitate the tail of a locust, so this posture called as Shalabhasana or Locust posture.
DHANURASANA (BOW POSTURE)
Dhanur means ‘bow’, in the final position of this posture the body resembles a bow, so this posture called Dhanurasana or Bow posture.
ARDHA HALASANA (HALF PLOUGH POSE)
‘Ardha’ means half, ‘hala’ means plough, the final position of this pose resembles a half plough, so it’s called as Ardha Halasana.
VIPAREETA KARANI MUDRA
In Sanskrit ‘Vipareeta’ means inverted,‘karani’ means to get done, mudra means psychic attitude; so the English translation of this practice is the inverted psychic attitude.
SARVANGASANA (SHOULDER STAND)
In Sanskrit ‘Sarva anga’ means the whole body. The whole body getting benefited by this posture, so it’s called so. The most common English name for this posture is shoulder stand pose. This is one of the very useful yoga postures. This posture called as the Queen of all the postures, whereas headstand called as the King of Postures.
In Sanskrit ‘Uttana’ means raising, ‘pada’ means foot. In the final position of this posture both feet are rising; so this posture called as Uttana Padasana.
HALASANA (PLOUGH POSE)
In Sanskrit ‘Hala’ means Plough. The final position of this posture resembles a plough, so this posture called as Halasana or the plough pose.
CHAKRASANA (WHEEL POSTURE)
‘Chakra’ means wheel. The body looks like wheel shape in the final position of this posture, so it’s called as Chakrasana.
NAUKASANA (BOAT POSTURE)
In Sanskrit ‘Nauka’ means boat; the final position of this posture resembles a boat, so this posture called as Naukasana.
In Sanskrit ‘gomukha’ means cows face. This posture resembles the face of a contented cow, so this posture called as Gomukhasana.
SHAVASANA (RELAXING POSE)
'Shava' means dead body. Lying down on the floor like the dead body is called Shavasana. One of the main classical texts of yoga, called hatha yoga pradeepika written by Yogi Swatmarama in the 16th century explains Shavasana as below.
'Makara' means crocodile, relaxing on the floor facing downwards steadily same like the crocodile, so it’s called "Makarasana".