Asana – yoga term explained

Welcome to our weekly series dedicated to helping you navigate the confusing lingo of yoga. Beginner or not, this ‘yoga dictionary’ will be here every Tuesday to quench your curiosity about a new, bizarre yogi word.

This week’s term:


Asana is most commonly translated to mean “posture.” Originally, it referred simply to your sitting posture, but has been adapted to now signify many yoga poses. That means each of the different postures in yoga could also be called an asana.

By practising asanas, you can improve:

  • flexibility
  • strength
  • balance
  • physical health and quality of life measures in the elderly
  • diabetes management
  • energy and decrease fatigue
  • birth outcomes and shorten labour (wahoo!)
  • asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms
  • blood circulation

Yoga and asanas also can reduce:

  • stress and anxiety
  • symptoms of lower back pain
  • sleep disturbances
  • hypertension
  • weight

Pretty cool, huh? Once you feel like taking your yoga practice and learning beyond the studio (say, to a beach), check out some yoga holidays and retreats and indulge your inner yogini/yogi.

What yoga lingo confuses you? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll feature it in this series! For a full list, head to our yoga dictionary for more.