What is a yoga pose?

Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine Specialist

Several thousand years ago, the ancient sages of the Indian subcontinent began to develop a spiritual tradition that included many sacred texts, disciplines, and practices that would ultimately lead to the realization of their spirit. At the heart of this tradition was the practitioner's intention to sit for prolonged periods of time in a way that we associate with the act of meditation. But sitting for such lengthy periods of time required a limber, healthy body. How might one foster these qualities in their body so as to eventually realize their spirit?

These sages observed how animals would stretch and strengthen their bodies in certain ways, espcially after waking up from a night of sleep. The sages began to emulate these movements by placing their bodies in certain shapes so as to gain the ability to sit for prolonged periods of time. Many centuries later, certain pracitioners began to systematize these different shapes to form what we now know as yoga postures, or poses. In the last hundred years or so, that system has become more heavily formalized and informs much of what we see practiced in yoga studios and gyms.

A yoga pose, or asana, is a posture that was designed to target certain areas of the body so as to strengthen, open and create space in that area. Asana translates as “To Sit” in Sanskrit. The first asana was the meditation seat. We practice most asanas, postures, to get to a point by which we can sit at length breathing, meditating and stilling the mind.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Start your day like Dr. Oz with a quick, energizing yoga routine! In this video you'll learn simple poses that will help you make the most of your mornings. Plus, you'll see some examples of viewers’ favorite yoga poses.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.