How Many Asanas are there in yoga?

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By: Mini

Yoga is a technique, a practice that cleanses the body and mind and creates a sense of spiritual awakening towards your soul. Millions of people across the globe practice yoga to detoxify themselves from the impurities of life. In the present world, imagine discovering a way that would help you cope up with not just your physical disorders but also heal your mental instabilities. It creates a sense of self-love, love for your body and your soul. As per Gheranda  Samhitha, there are 8,400,000 asanas, taught by Lord Shiva, out of which 84 are of paramount importance and 32 are useful for the human beings. But according to the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, it is not the number of asanas that matter but the comfort and convenience of the practitioners that can provide better results. Here is a list of some effective yoga asanas that must be practiced by every yoga practitioner for meditation and developing a healthy living –

  1. Siddasana- Siddasana or the ‘Accomplished pose’ is mentioned as one of the four most powerful sitting poses in the Hatha Yoga text. In the text it is said that the siddasana purifies all 72,000 nadis, or energy channels in the body. Anyone suffering from sciatica or sacral infections must not practice this asana. To practice this asnana one must sit on the floor with a straight back and the chin pressing against the chest. The legs must be close to each other with the right foot placed over the left foot in the sitting posture. The left foot must be placed at the perineum for males and in the labia majora of the vagina in females. Concentrate on the space between the eyebrows. The hands can be kept on the knees. This is the most effective asana for meditation; you can maintain the posture for as long as you are comfortable. 
  2. Padmasana- Padmasana or lotus position is the second most important position for meditation. As the name suggests in this asana you sit in a lotus position with the feet placed on the opposing thighs, sitting on the ground. The knees must touch the floor. The torso is balanced in such a way that the spinal cord supports it with the least muscular effort. To relax the posture the jaw is allowed to fall towards the neck. This relaxes the head and the neck. The hands may rest on the knee. The eyes must be closed and you must relax your body concentrating on the breath. Those suffering from sciatica, sacral infections or knee problems must not practice this asana.

3. Bhadrasana- Bhadrasana is a simpler asana as compared to siddasana or padmasana. This asana is also called as the destroyer of disease. It can be practiced by those suffering from minor knee problems but still not recommended for prolonged hours. While practicing this pose one must sit on the floor with the spine straight, aligned with the head and the neck. Fold both the legs and bring them close to each other.  You must hold the toe of the feet with your hands and bring the legs closer to the perineum. The legs must touch the floor. You must maintain the pose for as long as comfortable.

4. 
Muktasana-  Muktasana is also known as the free pose or the liberation pose. You must sit with the legs extended, the back must be straight and relaxed. Raise the right leg slightly off the floor  by placing your hands under the right knee and inhale deeply. Then bend the right knee and pull the thigh towards the body and exhale. Now bend the head forward touching the knee with the forehead. The back will slightly bend at this stage. Slowly raise the head and straighten the upper body, and inhale deeply, relaxing and straightening your leg. Do not touch the floor with the foot. This asana is practiced alternatively with the right and the left leg. 5 times with the right leg and then 5 times with the left leg. This asana helps in the circulation of the blood to all the joints in the body. Those with knee problems must not practice this asana.

5. 
Vajrasana- Vjarasana is also called the diamond pose.  It is an easy yet effective asana. The practitioner must sit on the heels with the calves beneath the thighs.  There must be a four finger gap between the kneecaps. Place your hands on the knees concentrating on your breath. Inhale and exhale with your eyes closed. Those suffering from spinal column ailments or knee problems must avoid this pose.  This asana helps in digestive issues like constipation.
How To Do Vjarasana-


6. 
Gomukhasana- Gomukhasana or cow face pose stretches several parts of the body simultaneously including ankles, thighs, hips, chests, neck, arms and hands. While performing this asana you sit with your back straight on the ground and the legs stretched straight. Then bend your left leg and place it under your right buttock and then fold the right leg and place it over the left thigh. Keep both your knees close together, stacked one on the top of the other.  Gently fold your left arm and place it behind your back. Then take your right arm over your right shoulder and stretch it as much as possible, till you touch your left hand. Keep your back straight. Hold the pose for as long as possible and concentrate on your breathing. This asana helps you treat backache problems and sciatica. It enhances the working of kidney, and cures diabetes.

7. 
Dhanurasana- Dhanurasana also known as the Bow Pose helps in straightening the back and abdominal muscles. While practicing this pose one has to lie down on its stomach, with the back upwards in a relaxed position. Then hold both the legs with both the hands and lift them gently from the ground forming a bow shape. Inhale and Exhale gently and concentrate on the breath. Remain in the position for a while. It is indeed difficult to perform this pose as it requires a lot of stretching.  This asana helps you tone your legs and provides relief from constipation and kidney disorders.

8. 
Gorakhasana- Gorakhasana was the asana of the famous yogi Gorakhnath who practiced the asana as a meditative pose. This asana requires the flexibility of the leg muscles. The practitioner must sit with legs stretched out, then bend the knees, hold the feet and place the soles together and draw the heels up to the perineum. Now raise the heels while keeping the balls of the feet on the floor. Place the hands behind the buttocks with the fingers pointing backward. Move your body forward until the feet becomes vertical. The knees must stick to the floor. Hold the left heel with the right hand and right heel with the left hand. Do not stress your body, practice daily to master the asana. Concentrate on the breath while performing the asana. This asana helps you release stress and anxiety and helps in balancing the mind. People with slip disc problem or knee injuries must not practice this asana.

9. 
Makarasana- Makarasana or the crocodile pose helps in curing back and shoulder problems. It is a relaxing asana. The asana gets its name since it resembles a crocodile lying in the water. To start with one must lie down on the stomach on the floor. Fold the hands and keep the elbows on the ground. The fingers must be facing upwards. Gently raise your shoulders and head. Keep the neck straight and look ahead.  Bend your head forward and place your chin in your palms. Your legs must now be stretched out facing outwards. You must feel your body touching the ground. Concentrate on your breath and relax. This asana helps to cure asthma, knee pain, lung-related disorders.


10. 
Mritasana- Mritasana also known as Shavasana or a corpse pose is usually done at the end of a yoga session to relax the body. In this asana, the body is allowed to relax and all the muscular tensions are relieved. In this asana, one lies on the back with the hands and legs stretched out as much as possible. The eyes are closed and complete concentration lies on the breath. The breath is deep and the body is relaxed of all the muscular tensions. This asana helps in relieving any kind of stress and tensions both physical and mental.