Yoga-sutras (Ancient and Modern Interpretations)

by Makarand Gopal Newalkar | 2017 | 82,851 words | ISBN-13: 9780893890926

Yoga-sutras 2.46 [Asana—posture], English translation with modern and ancient interpretation. The Patanjali Yogasutras describe an ancient Indian tradition spanning over 5000 years old dealing with Yoga:—Meditating the mind on the Atma leading to the realization of self. This study interprets the Yogasutras in light of both ancient and modern commentaries (e.g., Vyasa and Osho) while supporting both Sankhya and Vedanta philosophies.

Sūtra 2.46 [Āsana—posture]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of sūtra 2.46 [Āsana—posture]:

स्थिरसुखम् आसनम् ॥ २.४६ ॥

sthirasukham āsanam || 2.46 ||

(46) Motionless and agreeable form (of staying) is āsana.

Ancient and Modern interpretation:

Patañjali has completed the total āsana subject in only three sūtras.In first one āsana is defined,second one explains the method and the third sūtra gives the effect.

[Read sūtra 46 above]

Vyāsa in commentary has given:

  1. padmāsana,
  2. vīrāsana,
  3. bhadrāsana,
  4. svastikāsana,
  5. daṇḍāsana,
  6. sopāśraya,
  7. paryaṅka,
  8. krauñca-niṣadana (heron),
  9. hasti-niṣadana (elephant),
  10. uṣṭra-niṣadana (camel), and
  11. sama-saṃsthāna.

When these postures can be held comfortably, they are called (yogic) āsanas.But the posture shouldnot cause pain or restlessness.These are postures for mediatation.

Lord Kṛṣṇa has given,[1] description of how to sit for meditation in Bhagavadgītā (VI.13) as—

“Let the sādhaka firmly hold his body, head and neck erect and still,gazing at the tip of his nose, without looking around.”

Taimni explains, hatha yoga is based on the principle that chages of consiouness can be bought about by setting in motion certain kinds of subtler forces(prāṇa, kuṇḍalinī) in physical body.For this preparation of physical body,various postures are described. Of course, there should be no vibrations or excess pressure on muscles.

In today’s fast life and with the advance knowledge of science, human being is going away from nature.The air, water and food around us is contaminated and polluted and that is causing lots of health issues in the whole world. So, its mandatatory to learn āsanas for positive health.

The technique of rājayoga is directed towards the elimination of all sources of disturbance to the mind, be it external or internal.One of the most importantsources of disturbence to mind is steadiness of physical body.So, the postural āsanas are necessary for maintaining physical health of a person.

In Haṭhayogapradīpikā, Svātmārāma says[2]

“Having done the āsanas one gets steadiness (firmness) of body and mind, diseselessness and lightness (flexibility) of the limbs.”

In Haṭhayoga, many names of āsanas are given based on names of animals.

In haṭhayoga,there are three types of āsanas

  1. Meditative posture
  2. Cultural posture
  3. Relaxative posture

A particular āsana is said to be mastered when sādhaka maintains it steadily and comfortably for four hours and twenty minutes.

Footnotes and references:


Bhagavadgītā VI-13 sama-M kayai-Saraoga`Iva-M Qaaryannacala-M isqarÁ |sap-M`oxya naaisakaga`M sva-M id-Sa-Scaanavalaako yana\ ||6.13


H.P. I-17 kuyaa-tdasana-M sqa-Oya-M Aaraogya-M ca AMgalaa-Gavama\ ||

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