Patanjali begins discussion of Asana (meditation posture) by defining itas follows,

  • An asanais what is steady and pleasant.
  • Motionless and Agreeable form (of staying) is Asana (yoga posture).

Asana is thus a (meditation) posture that one can hold for a period, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless. Patanjali does not list any specific asana, except the terse suggestion, “posture one can hold with comfort and motionlessness”.

The Bhasya commentary attached to the Sutras, now thought to be by Patanjali himself, suggests twelve seated meditationpostures:

  1. Padmasana (lotus),
  2. Virasana (hero),
  3. Bhadrasana (glorious),
  4. Svastikasana (lucky mark),
  5. Dandasana (staff),
  6. Sopasrayasana (supported),
  7. Paryankasana (bedstead),
  8. Krauncha-nishadasana (seated heron),
  9. Hastanishadasana (seated elephant),
  10. Ushtranishadasana (seated camel),
  11. Samasansthanasana (evenly balanced) and
  12. Sthirasukhasana (any motionless posture that is in accordance with one’s pleasure).