top of page

Difference Between Yoga and Yoga Asanas

We often hear people saying, "I do yoga for an hour every day" or "I do yoga 3times a week". But the truth is, "We don't DO yoga, we LIVE yoga." Yoga is not only asanas which we do on the yoga mat for an hour. Yoga is a lifestyle, a discipline that is to be practiced 24/7.

Find below video link for Difference Between Yoga and Yoga Asanas in Hindi (योग और योग आसन के बीच अंतर).

Yoga is a term we don’t fully understand. In this article, we are going to learn the difference between yoga and yoga asanas. This blog will cover the etymology of yoga and asanas, a few definitions of yoga and asanas as per ancient texts, and eight components of Ashtanga Yoga (8 limbs of yoga by Maharishi Patanjali).

Let us get started!

What is Yoga?:

The word "Yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit term "Yuj" which means "to unite". Yoga is a union of body, mind, and breath. The ultimate aim of yoga is Self-realization, to reach the state of "liberation" (Moksha) or "freedom" (Kaivalya), to overcome all kinds of miseries and sufferings of life. Yoga is a way of living with a healthy mind in a healthy body. Yoga is a holistic way of living and not merely a set of asanas and pranayama. Yoga is conscious art of self-discovery.

Definitions of yoga as per ancient texts:

Samkhya Darshana, Sage Kapila defined yoga as:

Yum Prakrityo viyogepi Yoga Ityabhidhiyate |

Distinguishing clearly between purusha (consciousness) and prakriti (matter) is yoga and establishing purusha in his own pure state is yoga.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Maharshi Patanjali says 'Yoga is Concentration', he defines yoga as:

PYS-1.2 - Yogah citta vritti nirodhah

Stoppage of fluctuation of mind is yoga.

Yog Vashishta 3.9.32; Mahopanishad 5.40:

Manah prashamana upayah Yoga Iti Abhidhiyate |

Yoga is a skill to calm down the mind.

Maharshi Vyasa, the first commentator of Yoga Sutra says:

Yuj Samadhau|

Yoga is Samadhi.

Bhagavad Gita defines Yoga as:

Yogastha Kuru Karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya | Siddhyasiddhyo samo bhutva samatvam yoga uchyate | (BG-2.48)

O Arjuna, You remain fixed in Yoga and then do all the actions, abandon attachment, be equal in success and failures, as Yoga means equanimity.

Buddhiyukto jahatiha ubhe sukritadushkrite | Tasmaatyogaaya yujyasva yogaH karmasu kaushalam | (BG-2.50)

A wise man refrains from performing both good and bad actions in this world. Thus, engage in yoga, as yoga is the best of all activities.

Yuktaahara viharasya yuktacheShTasya karmasu | Yuktasvapnaava bodhasya yogo bhavati dukhahaa | (BG-6.17)

For one who is moderate in eating and recreation, temperate in actions, regulated in sleep and wakefulness, yoga becomes the destroyer of pain.

Tam Vidyaat Dukhasamyogaviyogam yogasangyitam | Sa Nishchayena yoktavyo yogonirviNNachetasa | (BG-6.23)

Let this disconnection from union with pain be known by the name of yoga. This yoga should be practiced with determination and with an undistracted mind.

Shrutivipratipanna te yada sthaasyati nishchalaa | Samaadhaavachalaa buddhistadaa yoagamavaapsyasi | (Gita-2.53)

When your mind will remain stable even after hearing confusing and conflicting statements, then you will attain the state of Yoga Samadhi.

What is Asana or Yogasana?:

Asana is the physical practice of yoga and relates to the body. Each yoga pose (yoga posture) has its own Sanskrit and English name. Many of the asanas' names have taken from the shapes and movements of animals and elements of the natural world. Some names differ by different schools of yoga.

Definitions of asanas as per ancient texts:

Kamadhenutantra defines Asana as:

A for Atmasamadhi, Sa for Sarvarogapratibandha and Na for Siddhiprapti

Asana is a means by which enlightenment, freedom from disease, and success is achieved.

There are three Sutra’s on asanas in Patanjali Yoga Sutra:

Sthiram sukam asanam | (PYS 2.46)

Establishing oneself in a posture which is blissful and also if it can be maintained without any movements.

Prayatna Saithilya Ananta Samapatti bhyam | (PYS 2.47)

It should have no prayatna (effort) involved in final position, and then awareness should be expanded towards infinity.

Tatah Dvandvah Anabhighatah | (PYS 2.48)

Such practice of asana takes an individual beyond the forces of dualities such as pleasure and pain, hot and cold.

Ashtanga Yoga (8 limbs of yoga)

1. Yamas (moral restraints/duties towards others)

2. Niyamas (personal observances/duties towards self)

3. Asanas (physical postures) - Asana is the 3rd limb focusing on body postures and movements aimed at bringing focus on the wellness of the body.

4. Pranayama (controlled and mindful breathing)

5 .Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses/turning awareness inwards)

6. Dharana (intense concentration)

7. Dhyana (state of meditation)

8. Samadhi (state of oneness)

The 8-folds further divided into two, where the first four limbs Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, and Pranayama, represent the Bahiranga or external aspect, and the next four Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, represent Antaranga or internal aspect of Yoga. Pratyahara is the fifth limb that acts as a bridge connecting the external to the internal aspect.

Let us learn in detail what each of these limbs refers to:

Altogether, Yoga is a lifestyle, a way of living, and not just a few asanas. Yoga is what you do the entire day, the way you think, the way you treat others, the way you react, and what you eat.

Read our blog on Four Pillars of Yogic Lifestyle called Aahaar, Vihaar, Achaar, and Vichaar.

Before You Leave, Don’t forget to subscribe Yogis In The Pink YouTube Channel to learn more about yogic concepts and techniques.

Tags: yoga expectation vs reality, yoga vs asanas, difference between yoga and yoga asanas, yoga versus asanas, asanas vs yoga, difference between yoga and asanas, asanas versus yoga, yogasanas vs yoga, difference between yogasanas and yoga, yogasanas versus yoga,

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page