Asana, aka: Aśana, Āsana, Aśanā, Ashana, Āśana; 23 Definition(s)


Asana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Aśana and Aśanā and Āśana can be transliterated into English as Asana or Ashana, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


Āsana (आसन) is a Sanskrit technical term translating to “posture”. It is used throughout vedic and purāṇic literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Purāṇas

1) Aśanā (अशना).—The queen of Bali, and mother of Bāṇa and other sons.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 18. 17.

2) Āsana (आसन).—(Svastikam, Padmam) and ardhāsana—the sitting posture of the pāśupata yoga;1 a kind of dharaṇā.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 11. 12-14.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 104. 24.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Asana (असन) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “Indian laurel”, a species of tree from the Combretaceae family of flowering plants, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. It is also known by the names Bījaka in Sanskrit, and Bijasāl, Vijaysār or Bīā in Hindi, Vēṅkai in Tamil and Vēṅṅa in Malayalam.. The official botanical name of the plant is Terminalia tomentosa and is commonly known as “Asna”, “Saj”, “Indian-laurel” or “Indian kino tree” among many others.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Asana (असन).—The Sanskrit name for an important Āyurvedic drug.—It is also known as Bījaka having prominent heart-wood which is used as drug. It is rough, cold, astringent and useful in prameha and kuṣṭha.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Āsana (आसन, “sitting postures and sears”).—The sciens of yoga described various postures of sitting, as suitable for meditation and mental concentration. These sitting postures are technically known by the name of āsanas; and the kūrmāsana, the padmāsana, the bhadrāsana, the utkuṭikāsana and the makarāsana, are some of the varieties thereof. A few of them occur in sculpture, as well. The names of some of these sitting postures have been interpreted to mean particular forms of seats, owing to the ambiguity of the word āsana, and such seats have been worked out in sculpture; as instances the kūrmāsana (represented as a tortoise), the makarāsana (represented as a mythical makara) and the padmāsana (represented as a lotus) a may be noted.

The word āsana means also a seat or a pedestal. In this sense pīṭha is often used as its synonym. Descriptions of material āsanas of this kind are met with in Sanskrit works treating of the make-up of images.

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Āsana (आसन) refers to “body postures”, and forms one of the three divisions of pratimālakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons), as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The divine postures of the deities are called āsanas. There is also another meaning, that is, the originating pose.

Ganapati Sthapati in his text Ciṟpa Cennūl describes the five āsanas as

  1. sthānaka–the standing pose,
  2. āsana–the sitting pose,
  3. śayana–the reclining pose,
  4. sthānāsana (the pose dependent on the sthānaka) and
  5. śayanāsana (the pose dependent on the reclining pose).

The āsanas also serve as the pedestals. The word āsanā can also mean a seat or even a pedestal; in the latter sense, the word pīṭha is frequently used. Thus, padmapīṭha would indicate the lotus seat on which the deities are often seated.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Āsana (आसन) is a Sanskrit technical term, used in warfare, referring to “staying quiet” (eg., for strengthening the self or for the fulfilment of victory). Āsana is considered to be one of the six constituents of state-craft that the King shall constantly ponder over. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Nītiprakāśikā 8.83 and the Manubhāṣya 7.160)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

1) Āsana is ‘staying within one’s own territories, not minding the war that may have been declared. (See the Manubhāṣya verse 7.160 et. seq.)

Halting is of two kinds—

  1. done on account of weakness,
  2. and done for the purpose of waiting to help an ally.

2) Āsana, Entrenching, is that step by which one protects himself but destroys the enemy.

Source: Google Books: Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣya
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

Asana in Yoga glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Āsana (आसन, “posture”) is a Sanskrit word referring to “harmony with your body”. It is one of the eight brances of yoga, also known as the eightfold-path (aṣṭānga). Also see the fifth section of the Varāha-upaniṣad.

There are eleven postures (āsana) mentioned:

  1. cakrāsana,
  2. padmāsana,
  3. kūrmāsana,
  4. mayūrāsana,
  5. kukktāsana,
  6. vīrāsana,
  7. svastikāsana,
  8. bhadrāsana,
  9. siṃhāsana,
  10. muktāsana,
  11. gomukhāsana.
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga
Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Āsana (आसन) refers to a “seats” (sitting postures); it is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 12.

There are two kinds of seats (āsana) defined:

  1. bāhya (public),
  2. ābhyantara (private).
Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Āsana (आसन, “posture”) is explained by Lakṣmaṇadeśika in his 11th-century Śaradātilaka.—Āsanas are enumerated as the third limb of yoga: padmāsana, svastikāsana, bhadrāsana, vajrāsana and vīrāsana, and are described individually (9cd–16ab). As one would expect, the definitions and names of the postures are not identical in all texts on yoga.

Source: The Śāradātilakatantra on Yoga
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Āsana (आसन) refers to the “seat” and “posture” used while performing mantrasādhana (preparatory procedures), mentioned in detail in the Kakṣapuṭatantra verse 1.60, “Having gotten to the seats as described, the mantrin should practice japa. On the seat prepared with kuśa grass, hairy skin, or cotton, and with four corners (i.e., square) with four aṅgulas in height, two hastas long, which is very strong, and made soft, one should practice yoga to make a mantra effective”.

Source: Shodhganga: Mantra-sādhana: Chapter One of the Kakṣapuṭatantra
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Asana (असन)—Sanskrit word for the plant Terminalia tomentosa or Pterocarpus marsupium.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Āsana is thus a posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless. Patanjali does not list any specific āsana, except the terse suggestion, “posture one can hold with comfort and motionlessness”.

Hariharānanda Āraṇya translates verse II.47 of Yoga sūtra as, “āsanas are perfected over time by relaxation of effort with meditation on the infinite”; this combination and practice stops the quivering of body.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Aśana (अशन) refers to “food that is swallowed” and represents one of the four classifications of food (āhāra) according to the 11th century Śrāvakācāra (verse 6.96-97) by Amitagati. Aśana refers to grains and pulses of all kinds, particularly the staple, boiled rice. Forbidden foods falling under this head include meat and the tuberous vegetables, which are condemned as ananta-kāyas. Dairy products are also sometimes covered by this designation.

Source: Jaina Yoga

Āśana (आशन) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Āśana] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

Source: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

Āsana.—(IE 8-8), a seat. Cf. a-cāra-asana-carm-āṅgāra (IE 8-5; EI 15), probably, camping [of the royal officers in a village]; āsana-carma is sometimes taken as one expression meaning ‘a hide seat’. Note: āsana is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Asana in Pali glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

asana : (nt.) 1. eating; 2. food; 3. an arrow. (m.) the tree Pentaptera Tomentosa. || āsana (nt.), a seat; sitting down.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Asana, 4 (nt.) (cp. Sk. asanā, to asyati to hurl, throw) an arrow M. I, 82 = S. I, 62. Cp. asani. (Page 87)

2) Asana, 3 (nt.) (Sk. asana) the tree Pentaptera Tomentosa J. I, 40 (as Bodhi-tree of Gotama); II, 91; V, 420; VI, 530. (Page 87)

3) Asana, 2 (nt.) (cp. Sk. aśana of , cp. asati) eating, food; adj. eating J. I, 472 (ghatâsana Ep. of the fire; V, 64 (id.). Usually in neg. form anasana fasting, famine, hunger Sn. 311 (= khudā SnA 324); DA. I, 139. See also nirasana. (Page 87)

4) Asana, 1 (nt.) (Vedic aśan(m)) stone, rock J. II, 91; V, 131. (Page 87)

— or —

1) Āsana, 2 (?) eating Vism. 116 (visam°, cp. visam-āsita Miln. 302). See, however, māsana. (Page 114)

2) Āsana, (nt.) (from āsati) sitting, sitting down; a seat, throne M. I, 469; Vin. I, 272 (= pallaṅkassa okāsa); S. I, 46 (ek° sitting alone, a solitary seat); A. III, 389 (an° without a seat); Sn. 338, 718, 810, 981; Nd1 131; J. IV, 435 (āsān’ûdaka-dāyin giving seat & drink); V, 403 (id.); VI, 413; DhA. II, 31 (dhamm° the preacher’s seat or throne); SnA 401; PvA. 16, 23, 141.

—âbhihara gift or distinction of the seat J. I, 81. —ûpagata endowed with a seat, sitting down Sn. 708 (= nisinna SnA 495). —paññāpaka one who appoints seats Vin. II, 305. —paṭikkhitta one who rejects all seats, or objects to sitting down D. I, 167; A. I, 296; II, 206; Pug. 55. —sālā a hall with seating accommodation Vism. 69; DhA. II, 65; IV, 46. (Page 114)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

aśana (अशन).—n S Eating. 2 Food. Ex. a0 arpuniyā khasukhālayā.

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asaṇa (असण) [or णा, ṇā].—m asaṇī f (āsana S) A wild tree, Terminalia alata tomentosa.

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asāṇā (असाणा).—m (See asaṇā) A wild tree.

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asāna (असान).—n ( A) An obligation or a favor.

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asāna (असान).—a ( P) Easy, facile.

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āsaṇa (आसण) [or णा, ṇā].—See under अ.

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āsana (आसन).—n (S) A seat gen.; a stool, chair, couch, carpet, mat: also a means of conveyance; a horse, bullock, bird, rat &c. (as the bird and rat of viṣṇu & gaṇapati). 2 Continuing in some posture or attitude (as do the Yogis in their devotional exercises): also such posture or attitude, of which eighty-four are enumerated. 3 A column or division of a page. 4 A seat on horseback. ā0 ōḷakhaṇēṃ To know his rider--a horse. ā0 guṇḍāḷaṇēṃ To pack up and move off. ā0 ghālaṇēṃ To take up some sitting posture, esp. āsanamāṇḍī. ā0 jaḍa hōṇēṃ g. of s. To sit fast; to love the sitting posture. 2 To be lifted up; to be elated with pride. ā0 jamaṇēṃ g. of s. To become firmly seated or fixed. 2 To gather densely and fixedly--clouds. Also ā0 jamaviṇēṃ To form one's seat. ā0 jōḍaṇaṃ To squat. ā0 ṭharaṇēṃ g. of s. To get a seat on horseback. ā0 ṭhēvaṇēṃ To mount (a horse &c.) ā0 ḍaḷamaḷaṇēṃ g. of s. To totter in one's seat, lit. fig. 2 To be restless and fidgety. ā0 ḍhaḷaṇēṃ g. of s. To lose one's seat, footing, standing, hold. ā0 paḍaṇēṃ g. of s. To obtain a (seat or fixedness in or at) footing. ā0 basaṇēṃ g. of s. To get a seat (upon horseback). ā0 rundāvaṇēṃ g. of s. Also ā0 vāḍhaṇēṃ g. of s. To get fat, broad, and burly. 2 fig. To acquire greatness and a swelling train. ā0 sōḍaṇēṃ To leave one's proper position, place, or province. āsanīṃ khēḷaṇēṃ To play or stir or revel freely in its own jhāḍa or occupied subject--a devil or fiend. 2 To play pranks and tricks on one's own ground, with one's own means &c. āsanīṃ yēṇēṃ To come round to one's original position.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

aśana (अशन).—n Food; eating.

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āsana (आसन).—n A seat; a means of conveyance.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Aśana (अशन).—[aś-lyuṭ] a. Reaching, reaching across.

-naḥ Name of a tree = असन (asana) q. v. (Mar. āsaṇā).

-nam 1 Pervasion, penetration.

2) The act of eating, feeding.

3) Tasting, enjoying.

4) Food; अशनं धात्रा मरुकल्पितं व्यालानाम् (aśanaṃ dhātrā marukalpitaṃ vyālānām) Bh.3.1; मांसाशनं च नाश्नीयुः (māṃsāśanaṃ ca nāśnīyuḥ) Ms.5.73; यज्ञशिष्ट° (yajñaśiṣṭa°) 3.118; फलमूलाशनैः (phalamūlāśanaiḥ) 5.54; oft. at the end of adjective comp. in the sense of 'eating', 'one whose food is' &c.; फलमूलाशन, हुताशन, पवनाशन (phalamūlāśana, hutāśana, pavanāśana) &c.

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Aśanā (अशना).—[aśanamicchati aśana-kyac-kvip] Desire to eat, hunger; सुप्तश्चिरं ह्यशनया च भवान्परीतो (suptaściraṃ hyaśanayā ca bhavānparīto) Bhāg.6.14.56.

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Asana (असन).—Throwing, discharging, casting; as in इष्वसनम् (iṣvasanam) a bow.

-naḥ Name of a tree (pītasāla) Bridelia retusa (Mar. āsaṇā); Rām.2.94.8; निरसनैरसनैरवृथार्थता (nirasanairasanairavṛthārthatā) Śi.6.47.

-nā Ved. A missile, an arrow.

Derivable forms: asanam (असनम्).

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Āśana (आशन).—a. [aśana-aṇ] One who feeds.

-naḥ 1 Name of a tree (Mar. āsaṇā); see अशन (aśana).

2) The tunderbolt.

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Āsana (आसन).—[ās-lyuṭ]

1) Sitting down.

2) A seat, place, stool; Bg.11.42; स वासवेनासनसन्निकृष्टम् (sa vāsavenāsanasannikṛṣṭam) Ku.3.2; आसनं मुच् (āsanaṃ muc) to leave one's seat, rise; R.3.11.

3) A particular posture or mode of sitting; cf. पद्म°, वीर°, भद्र°, वज्र° (padma°, vīra°, bhadra°, vajra°) &c. cf. अनायासेन येन स्यादजस्रं ब्रह्मचिन्तनम् । आसनं तद् विजानीयाद् योगिनां सुखदायकम् (anāyāsena yena syādajasraṃ brahmacintanam | āsanaṃ tad vijānīyād yogināṃ sukhadāyakam) ||

4) Sitting down or halting, stopping, encamping.

5) Abiding, dwelling; Ms.2.246; 6.59.

6) Any peculiar mode of sexual enjoyment (84 such āsanas are usually mentioned).

7) Maintaining a post against an enemy (opp. yānam), one of the six modes of foreign policy; which are :-संधिर्ना विग्रहो यानमासनं द्वैधमाश्रयः (saṃdhirnā vigraho yānamāsanaṃ dvaidhamāśrayaḥ) Ak.; प्रतिबद्धशक्त्योः कालप्रतीक्षया तूष्णीमवस्थानमासनम् (pratibaddhaśaktyoḥ kālapratīkṣayā tūṣṇīmavasthānamāsanam); परस्परस्य सामर्थ्यविघातादासनं स्मृतम् (parasparasya sāmarthyavighātādāsanaṃ smṛtam) Agni P.; Ms.7.16,162,166; Y.1.347; Pt.3.

8) The front part of an elephant's body, withers.

9) Throwing (fr. as to throw).

1) Name of two trees (asana and jīvaka).

11) Place where the elephant-rider sits, cf. मस्तकद्वितयं दन्तावासनं वंश एव च । षडेते प्रोन्नता यस्य स गजो राजवाहनः (mastakadvitayaṃ dantāvāsanaṃ vaṃśa eva ca | ṣaḍete pronnatā yasya sa gajo rājavāhanaḥ) || Mātaṅga L.2.1.

12) Neutrality (as of a nation); Kau. A.7.1.

13) A moving piece (draught) in the game of dice; प्राणग्लहोऽयं समर इष्वक्षो वाहनासनः (prāṇaglaho'yaṃ samara iṣvakṣo vāhanāsanaḥ) Bhāg.6.12.17.

-nā A seat, stool, stay.

-nī 1 Stay, abiding, sitting.

2) A small seat or stool.

3) A shop, stall.

Derivable forms: āsanam (आसनम्).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 563 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) or Kamalāsana refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to ...
Siṃhāsana (सिंहासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Sthap...
Vīrāsana (वीरासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Sthapat...
Bhadrāsana (भद्रासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Stha...
Kukkutāsana (कुक्कुतासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati ...
Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) or Paryaṅkāsana in the Buddhist tradition corresponds with Padmāsana or Kam...
Yogāsana (योगासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Sthapat...
Hutāśana.—(IE 7-1-2), ‘three’. I Note: hutāśana is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary...
Sukhāsana (सुखासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Sthapa...
Kūrmāsana (कूर्मासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Stha...
Matsyāśana (मत्स्याशन).—1) a king-fisher. 2) one who eats fish. Derivable forms: matsyāśanaḥ (म...
Anantāsana (अनन्तासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to T. A. G. Rao...
Svastikāsana (स्वस्तिकासन) refers to a type of Sthānāsana (poses dependent on the sthānaka...
Śavasana (शवसन) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.52.15, I.57) and represents one ...
Śarāsana (शरासन).—See under Citraśarāsana.

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