Yoga Asanas – Align With the Divine

Sadhguru looks at the powerful possibility that yoga asanas represent, and explains that they are a means of creating a body that can download the cosmos.

Sadhguru: An asana is a posture. There are innumerable postures your body can take. Among these, certain postures have been identified as “yoga asanas” or yogasanas. “Yoga” means that which takes you on to a higher dimension or higher perception of life. So, that kind of posture which leads you to a higher possibility is called a “yogasana.”

You may have noticed that for different mental and emotional situations that you go through, your body naturally tends to take a certain posture. If you are happy, you sit one way. When you are unhappy you sit another way. When you are peaceful you sit one way, if you are angry you sit another way. Many times, you can tell what is happening with someone by just observing the way they are sitting, have you noticed? Based on this, conversely is the science of asanas – by consciously getting your body into a certain posture, you can also elevate your consciousness. You can change the very way you feel, think, understand, and experience life by sitting in a particular way.

Yogasanas are not exercises. They are very subtle processes of manipulating your energy in a certain direction. It needs to be done with a certain level of awareness. There are various levels of doing asanas. You can practice asanas just physically, or more deeply, being aware of the breath, sensations, reverberations, being aware of the nadis, or with appropriate mantras. You can even do asanas without moving a limb. That is also possible.

The science of yogasanas

The science of asanas is known as hatha yoga. “Ha” means sun, “ta” means moon. The first process of yoga is to bring balance between the masculine and feminine in you. Otherwise there will be no scaling of consciousness. This is why Shiva is known as Ardhanarishvara – one half of him is a woman, another half of him is a man. He is a man and the very embodiment of manhood. At the same time, he is also woman, because without bringing this balance, without cultivating these two dimensions within us, there is no reaching towards the peak, there is no question of a human being flowering to his fullest possibility. That is why the first dimension of yoga that you practice is hatha yoga. That means the yoga of the sun and the moon is bringing balance between the masculine and the feminine. That is the first step to take.

Among the yogasanas, there are 84 basic asanas through which one can elevate his consciousness. When we say 84 asanas, do not think of them as just 84 postures. These are 84 systems, 84 ways of attaining. Out of this, if you have mastery over even a single yogasana, everything that is worth knowing in the existence can be known.

Asana Siddhi

People who have taken up hatha yoga as their way of life generally take up one asana for their life’s sadhana. This is known as Asana Siddhi. Asana Siddhi means one is able to sit in a particular way with absolute ease. For most people, whichever way they keep their body, it is not at ease. If you sit, it is not comfortable. If you stand, it is not comfortable. If you lie down, it is not comfortable. What the hell to do with this? If you give your body to the process of yoga, slowly the body becomes at ease. If you sit like this, it is absolutely at ease. It is not trying to be some other way.

A thinking mind cannot understand how a man can spend his whole life wanting to sit in a particular way. But everything that can be perceived can be perceived, by having mastery over a single physical posture. What you are calling as yogasanas is just to get this body geometrically in line with the cosmic geometry. If you learn to just hold it right, you can download the whole cosmos. This is yoga. If you simply sit right, everything that’s worth knowing can be known to you from within.


Patanjali describes the third limb of yoga, which is the asana, as “Sthiram, Sukham Asanam” – if you are comfortable and stable, that is all the asana is about. Because “comfort” is such a misused word, maybe a closer word to “sukha” in English would be “ease.” It simply means that your body is at ease, your mind is at ease, and your energy is at full vibrance and balance. Now you are naturally meditative. You will find full potential to your life.

The reason why hatha yoga has become ugly is because people start taking it like a circus. The way hatha yoga is happening in the West scares me, because all kinds of things are done in the name of yoga that are not yoga.

Recently, I was playing golf with a group of young people and they asked, “What do you do?”

I just ignored the question and took my shot and kept walking. They asked somebody who was walking with me, and he said, “He teaches yoga.”

Immediately, they ran up to me and said, “Can you teach us something that will give us six-pack abs?”

I said, “I can give you 14 if you are interested.”

This is not about sculpting your body and showing it off. This is to make the body into a fantastic vessel, a fabulous device to receive the Divine. Hatha yoga is a phenomenal process, but today, many physical therapists and experts are writing books on hatha yoga, making people believe it is an exercise system. It is not an exercise system. Studio yoga is unfortunately just the physical aspect of it. Teaching only the physical aspect of yoga is like having a stillborn baby. If you want a living thing, it needs to be taught in a certain way. In a proper atmosphere, with a certain sense of humility and inclusiveness about the whole process, hatha yoga is a very fantastic process. If I do a two-day hatha yoga program, people will burst with tears of ecstasy simply doing asanas, and that is the way yoga needs to be done.

Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga offers an annual 21-week Hatha Yoga Teacher Training as well as several intensive hatha yoga modules, taught by teachers across the world.

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POSTED IN:Yoga & Meditation, Demystifying Yoga
TAGS: Hata Yoga
  • Suresh Kumar

    Links are not linked properly, check it out

  • Nikole

    this is really enlightening especially with the fact that most people see yoga as a form of physical exercise so with asanas as well. thank you for this Sadhguru, another good read.

  • shankar

    of course u can do that in sukhasana or siddhasana or padmasana. But the important thing there should not be any shaking of the body or head. Lock ur body by keeping the hands close to ur body and do.

    • Tina Jabr

      Please do not make such suggestions without being sure. At Isha we teach Kapalabhathis ONLY in vajrasana.

  • Tina Jabr

    Namaskaram Jack, you can use cushions to make the vajrasana posture more comfortable for you, or you can rest in between each cycle (as they taught you in the program). As you practice, the numbness in your legs will reduce, and you can go for 150-300 Kapalabhathis per cycle, engage the locks then rest (with eyes closed of course). I would suggest you attend the local Sathsang and ask the teacher there to guide you further if you have doubts.

    • Jack

      thank u for answering have another question also if cant able to do within this one cycle can we increase the cycle of kapalbhathi like we doing three rounds(cycle including lock) instead can we do four or five rounds ????

      • Tina Jabr

        no Jack, please do not make any changes to the way the kriya was taught to you. it is a 10,000 year old science…with our limited understanding of how the human system functions we should not tread there :)

  • Oath Bound Amazon

    That is fascinating! Thank you for sharing that clear and illuminating explanation. I do yoga at the moment as a means of regaining and retaining the fullest use of my body possible, I was sent to a yoga instructor as a means of self care and recovery after an injury. I know I need to learn more, as I don’t truly understand why I’m doing what I’m doing–but even doing yoga for the wrong reasons is useful, right? It certainly has helped me recover and regain some of my lost abilities, and led me to a better partnership with my body.
    What you say above caused me to relate the asanas to the ogham, an Irish system of knowledge. On the surface, it is an alphabet, but on a deeper level each letter is a set of related concepts, a way of seeing one aspect of the universe. The runes are similar, but they come with postures as well. I don’t work with runes, but the associations between those two systems are interesting and useful to me. Thinking of yoga through that lens is something I’m looking forward to. Someday I hope to be in the right place at the right time to take some of your classes.

    • ishahatayogi

      Even Sadhguru tells of how he started yoga for the “wrong” reasons. When he was a small boy, he saw how a 70 year old man could climb out of a well faster than he could, and wanted to know his secret!

      So, whatever brings you to yoga is OK. What it can bring to you if you do it properly is far beyond your imagination. It has changed my life in so many ways! Whatever brings you to yoga is fine, but it’s how you approach it that makes the difference.

      You don’t need to go to India to learn classical Hata Yoga. There are trained Isha Yoga teachers across Europe, in America and in Africa now, so contact your local centre for more information. The classes are really quite accessible now :)

      All the best,


  • Barbara Goehl

    How do I find a teacher in my area?