Difference Between Yoga and Asana

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A Comprehensive Guide On The Difference Between Yoga and Asana

Are you confused about whether yoga and asana are the same? Well, you’re not alone. Many people often interchangeably use these terms without knowing the difference between yoga and asana. In this blog post, we’ll explore the dissimilarities between yoga and asana, giving you clarity on their unique roles in achieving holistic health. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in!

What is Yoga?

Yoga, a practice with deep roots, helps bring equilibrium and general welfare to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of an individual. It is like a tree with eight branches- including asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (blissful silence). To have a healthy body, it’s important to have a balanced mind- and yoga helps you do just that. You can use yoga to work with the nature of your mind, recognize the human body, and control your feelings. Yoga can also enhance overall wellbeing by alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. Heart-opening Yoga centers around the heart Chakra as a spiritual power in the body, which according to Indian beliefs is responsible for emotions such as love and compassion. The heart Chakra’s closure can lead to difficulty in letting go of grudges, emotional instability, and inability to love and be loved. In addition, fear of heartbreak impedes the opening of the heart, which is where heart-opening Yoga poses can be beneficial.

Purpose of Yoga 

Incorporating physical exercises, breath exercises, and relaxation techniques into our daily routine can help us stay healthy. Let’s see how yoga can contribute to our overall well-being. 

Mental health

Examining and purifying our mind from negative thoughts and fears can empower us to control our thoughts. According to a research study in Japan, yoga was found to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing in both younger and older individuals. Cultivating positive thoughts and behavior has the potential to promote mental wellbeing. Through meditation, we can deepen our connection with ourselves and develop positive habits and traits that can allow us to effectively manage life’s challenges and ultimately attain self-realization.

Social health

It is all about feeling content in oneself and making others happy. That means reaching out to others, taking responsibility within society, and lending a hand to the community. It also involves taking a break from life’s problems and appreciating the world around us. Practicing yoga can help people overcome any kind of addiction and find a sense of purpose in life. 

Spiritual health

It is all about being non-violent in thought, feeling, word, and action. Prayer, contemplation, mantra, having a positive outlook, and being tolerant are all essential components of spiritual health. You should strive to be protectors and embody qualities like generosity, empathy, and forgiveness. Yoga’s primary goal is to protect life and respect the autonomy of all living entities. By embodying this concept, you can foster more understanding, love, aid, and compassion between people, countries, ethnicities, and faiths.

Physical health

The purpose of yoga for physical exercise is to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and overall physical health. Yoga asana practice utilizes body weight resistance, isometric holds, and dynamic movements to challenge and strengthen muscles. Yoga can be practiced by people of all fitness levels and has been shown to improve joint health, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, taking care of joint mobility and flexibility is crucial for those with an active lifestyle. Your knees, in particular, play a key role in supporting your body weight during high-intensity exercises such as running, hiking, and martial arts. Practicing yoga poses for knee strengthening can help support your knee joints and prevent future problems.

Why do We love to Flow with Yoga?

B.K.S. Iyengar is credited for making “Modern Postural Yoga” popular, which is the most commonly practiced form of yoga today. Though this method of asanas can be effective, it separates the postures from the ancient philosophy of yoga, partly due to Iyengar’s lack of knowledge of the wider yoga philosophy. This separation is unnecessary, however, given the extensive knowledge accumulated over the thousands of years of yoga exploration. Modern Postural Yoga should not be considered independent, but instead a continuation of the yoga tradition. As a yoga teacher, it is possible to blend the modern science of the body and mind with yoga’s wisdom.

What is Asana?

Yoga is a timeless fitness practice that continues to hold significant importance even in today’s world. The word “asana” originates from the Sanskrit language and refers to posture. The acceptance of the 84 most popular yoga postures across the globe is what makes this exercise so appealing to people. These postures are not just about physical exercise but a holistic fitness program that helps individuals achieve a strong mind, body, and spirit regardless of their physical attributes or busy lifestyles. Each posture has deep significance and with regular practice, one can witness incredible results in just a matter of days. Yoga not only helps in physical adaptability but also develops the inner capability to manage unavoidable changes and attract positive energy for complete self-healing. The coordination of emotions, energy, attitude, and strength works wonders in yoga asanas.

Purpose of asana

Yoga is an incredibly beneficial activity for improving overall health and wellness. The advantages of practicing yoga are vast, with some of the most notable being: 

Yoga encourages self-reflection and insight

Think of yoga as a personal healthcare provider, aiding you in uncovering what’s going on inside your body. From mental health issues such as pride, ego, and fear to physical ailments, yoga helps you gain a holistic understanding of yourself. Additionally, yoga postures promote strength and flexibility, allowing you to break free from unhealthy thoughts and feelings.

Practicing yoga asana can help improve your breathing

It teaches you to maintain balance in your breath, even during times of stress or anxiety. This can help you approach difficult situations with greater confidence and composure. 

Yoga asana controls your emotions

Yoga can be a powerful tool for managing your emotions. By practicing certain exercises and regularly changing up your asana, you can cultivate calmness, balance, and determination. This can help you better handle difficult situations in life. 

Yoga asana takes care of your lifestyle

Our hygiene often suffers when we do not take care of ourselves. Yoga asanas can help you build a daily routine and improve your personality by taking care of yourself. 

Yoga asana quiets the disturbed mind

Yoga practitioners often have a serene outlook in life, which manifests in a smooth and youthful forehead. Approaching life with tranquility allows them to avoid being consumed by anger or a troubled mind. 

Yoga asana strengthens the body

Practicing yoga can enhance overall strength, balance, and flexibility. Additionally, it can improve blood circulation and promote muscular development by holding certain postures. The utilization of one’s own body weight to maintain a pose can also lead to the creation of elongated, toned muscles. 

Yoga asana eases discomfort

Yoga can help reduce lower back and joint pain. Cat-cow poses are a great way to alleviate these kinds of discomforts. Regular yoga practice has positive effects that can improve your overall well-being. 

Yoga asana supports internal organs

Practicing yoga poses can have a positive impact on both external muscles and internal organs, such as the heart and lungs. In fact, yoga has been shown to aid in the improvement of internal organ functioning.

Relationship between Yoga and Asana

Yoga, an ancient Indian practice of thousands of years, is not only about physical postures but also encompasses meditation, breath control, and ethical principles. Its holistic approach covers every aspect of life – be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Asana, the physical posture, is just one of the tools that yoga employs to promote flexibility, strength, and balance in the body. While they can provide physical benefits, the ultimate goal of yoga is to achieve inner peace and balance. Asana helps individuals in attaining this goal by bringing attention to the body and breathing, which can reduce stress and calm the mind. Simply put, asanas are integral to yoga, but they are not its sole focus. Rather, yoga is a medley of physical postures, meditation, breath control, and ethical principles, which all work together to enhance our well-being and lead a balanced life.

Significance of asana in yoga 

Asana makes up just a fraction of the broad and profound yoga tradition. This ancient practice encompasses knowledge, philosophy, lineage, and techniques beyond the physical poses. Yoga practitioners can explore breath work, meditation, social code, self-observation, diet, devotion, and selfless service, without doing a single asana. The aim of yoga is to harmonize the mind, body, and spirit, and yoga poses are an approach to reaching inner tranquility through self-control and self-awareness. Yet, asanas are not intended to be done in isolation but to support other yoga practices to attain balance and balance within oneself.

Difference between Yoga and Asana

Discipline Yoga involves the practice of physical and mental disciplines.Asana strictly pertains to physical postures.
Origin Yoga originated in ancient India.Asana is a more modern practice.
Approach Yoga is considered a holistic approach to health and wellness.Asana is mainly about achieving physical fitness.
GoalThe aim of yoga is spiritual enlightenment and self-realization. Yoga involves moving the body with the breath. Practicing yoga often involves more introspection and personal reflection.The primary goal of Asana is physical fitness and flexibility. Asana focuses on holding specific postures.Asana is more focused on external physical appearance.
FocusThe practice of yoga sometimes involves chanting. Yoga typically involves multiple postures in one session.Asana does not. Asana classes may focus on a single posture at a time.
LocationYoga can be practiced in any location.Asana may require special equipment such as a yoga mat.
HistoryTraditional yoga was only passed down from teacher to student through an oral tradition.Asana is frequently taught with step-by-step instructions.

Rules and events relating to Yoga asana 

Yoga asana competitions involve three events – artistic, rhythmic, and traditional. In the artistic competition, athletes entertain the audience with their postures, synchronized to music, for three minutes. The list of postures they must include consists of leg balance, hand balance, back bends, forward bend, and body twisting – 10 asanas overall. This event includes both individual and pairs performances. The traditional event focuses more on balance and stability – here, each posture must be held for either 15 or 30 seconds, depending on the asana. Lastly, rhythmic yoga asana is for pairs and groups of five. The players must execute the asanas in tandem, each posture lasting from five to seven seconds – points are awarded for effortless transitions between two postures.

The static and dynamic aspects of Asana 

Asana, or yoga poses, can be practiced in two different ways: statically or dynamically. Static involves holding the final pose for some time, while dynamic involves moving in and out of the final pose quickly. Similarly, there are two ways to perform exercise regimens, and the execution should be tailored to an individual’s specific requirements. Both static and dynamic asanas provide specific benefits for neuromuscular rehabilitation and muscle stretch. How the stretch is carried out is also important, as it can be either slow or fast and maintained for a short period or not. These various combinations can be utilized to achieve rehabilitation goals. For the maintenance of proper muscle control, especially as one ages, these practices are also important.

Embark on your serene Yoga journey with ease

If you’re new to practicing yoga, focusing on beginner asanas is key. Incorporating these poses along with breath control, mindfulness, and meditation can enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. There are many different types of yoga to explore, including Hatha, Vinyasa, and Bikram, so it may be helpful to try them all to determine which style is the best fit for you. Vinyasa yoga is more vigorous and fast-paced, while Hatha is more relaxed and gentle. If you’re interested in a more modern twist on the traditional practice, you may also enjoy Core Power yoga. Remember, yoga is a lifelong journey that offers a multitude of health benefits.

Yoga asana poses

Yoga postures vary according to the body’s position, standing, sitting, supine, and prone. Here are some of the most popular asanas. 

The downward-facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward facing dog is a common yoga pose that benefits the entire body. It stretches the hamstrings, calves, and spine, while also strengthening the arms and legs. To perform this pose correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly into your hands, making sure your weight is evenly distributed.
  3. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor, keeping them slightly bent. First, keep the heels lifted off of the ground as well.
  4. Lengthen your spine as you press your chest towards your thighs.
  5. Slowly begin to straighten your legs without locking your knees, bringing your heels towards the floor.
  6. Maintain a slight bend in your knees and lengthen your tailbone away from your pelvis to keep your lower back from rounding.
  7. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, then exhale and release your knees back to the floor.

Seated Side Stretch or Parsva Upavista Konasana 

Parsva Upavista Konasana, also known as the Seated Side Angle Pose, is a yoga posture that stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and hips while also improving spinal mobility and balance. To perform this pose correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Open your legs as wide as possible, keeping your toes pointing up towards the ceiling.
  3. Flex your feet and engage your quadriceps to help protect your knees.
  4. Inhale and lengthen your spine, lifting your arms up overhead.
  5. Exhale and twist your torso to the right, reaching your right hand to the floor outside of your right leg. Place it next to your right foot or ankle.
  6. Inhale and lift your left arm straight up towards the ceiling.
  7. Exhale and lower your left hand behind your head, gently stretching the left side of your neck.
  8. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side.

One-Legged Crane Pose or Eka Pada Bakasana

Eka Pada Bakasana is a challenging arm balance pose that requires balance, strength, and flexibility. To perform this pose correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Begin in a low squat position, with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on the ground in front of you.
  2. Lift your hips up and straighten your legs, shifting your weight onto your hands and bringing your knees as high up onto your triceps as possible.
  3. Plant your hands firmly into the ground and shift your weight forward, lifting one foot off the ground and bringing the knee as close to your armpit as possible.
  4. Slowly begin to shift your weight more forward and lift the other foot off the ground, straightening the lifted leg out in front of you.
  5. Keep your core engaged and your gaze focused forward as you hold the pose for several breaths.
  6. To release, slowly lower your feet back down to the ground and come back into your low squat position.

The Rise in Popularity of Postural Yoga

Many believe yoga’s success is due to an effective marketing strategy – one that offers postural practice to the right people at the right time. This form of exercise is highly visible, and people are drawn to it. Additionally, its active nature appeals to many people seeking productivity. On top of that, it’s enjoyable. When poses are linked and moved through fluidly, your bodies often respond in kind. While some may critique the idea of focusing too heavily on Asana, it serves as an important gateway. Through it, many find themselves entering a yoga studio and then, hopefully, a spiritual practice.

A Place to Sit and Reflect: Exploring Asana for Meditation

Asana, a Seat for Meditation, offers a seated posture to practice yoga and emphasizes the importance of paying attention. This can be difficult, as meditation requires sitting still. Here’s where Asana becomes essential: it offers physical movement, providing an alternative way to meditate. It helps in focusing on physical sensations, creating a kind of moving meditation. Mindfulness is crucial while practicing Asana; it relies on the body to explore thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Yoga works both ways: from the inside out and outside in. Asana is the outside-in process, enabling us to explore our inner state. Moving deliberately allows us to change our thought patterns and emotions. Our movement is a representation of our mind, so by changing how we move, we can also alter our mental and emotional health. This comprises hard work and regular practice.

A Place to Sit and Reflect: Exploring Asana for Meditation

Asana, a Seat for Meditation, offers a seated posture to practice yoga and emphasizes the importance of paying attention. This can be difficult, as meditation requires sitting still. Here’s where Asana becomes essential: it offers physical movement, providing an alternative way to meditate. It helps in focusing on physical sensations, creating a kind of moving meditation. Mindfulness is crucial while practicing Asana; it relies on the body to explore thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Yoga works both ways: from the inside out and outside in. Asana is the outside-in process, enabling us to explore our inner state. Moving deliberately allows us to change our thought patterns and emotions. Our movement is a representation of our mind, so by changing how we move, we can also alter our mental and emotional health. This comprises hard work and regular practice.

Fun Facts

  1. Yoga asanas were originally developed as a way to prepare the body for meditation.
  2. There are over 84 classic yoga asanas, with many variations.
  3. Each yoga asana has its own unique benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.
  4. Pranayama, or breath control, is often incorporated into yoga asanas for added benefits.
  5. Many yoga asanas are named after animals, such as downward-facing dogs, cobra poses, and camel poses.
  6. Yoga asanas can be modified for different skill levels and physical abilities.


Do I have to practice all of the principles of yoga to benefit from it?

Yoga principles can bring balance to oneself and society through self-restraint and regulation. Low-impact asanas and relaxation remove stress and physical tension, improving one’s balance physically and mentally. Breathing techniques improve oxygen flow, while a detachment of the mind and meditation help restore the balance between the mind and surroundings. Ultimately, yoga aims to achieve balance for the purpose of self-realization. 

How often and for how long should I do the asanas?

In the beginning, try to do it three times a week, each session lasting for about 45 minutes. After some practice, increase it to five times a week, for an hour each time.

However, the specific frequency and duration of your practice may depend on your individual goals, capabilities, and availability. It is always best to consult with a yoga teacher or instructor to create a personalized practice that suits your needs.

Can I do the asanas by myself with the help of a yoga book?

Yes, but this is not recommended. Although the DVDs and book illustrations on yoga seem pretty obvious, it is strongly recommended to learn the asanas under the guidance of a teacher. The postures may cause serious damage to the body if performed incorrectly. One must be aware of one’s body’s signals in attempting the posture. If the posture is difficult, it should not be forced.

Are there any other helpful guidelines for yoga asana practice?

Yes, here are some helpful guidelines for yoga asana practice:

  • Always warm up properly before doing any asanas.
  • Focus on your breath and move slowly and mindfully into and out of each pose.
  • Listen to your body and don’t push beyond your abilities.
  • Use props, like blocks or straps, if needed to make poses more accessible.
  • Take breaks as needed and rest in the child’s pose if you need to. 

How much time should I spare for Yoga asana? 

Generally, you should spare 30 minutes to one hour for yoga. After some time, you will feel so good while doing yoga that you will enjoy it and will forget about time. If you are a beginner, fret not, and read through our simple guide for 30 minutes of beginner Yoga every day.

What is the difference between yoga asana and physical exercise?

Asanas are done slowly to focus the mind and comprehend the movements. Relaxation should be incorporated before, after, and in between exercises. The goal is to harmonize the body and mind by consciously observing each movement and relaxation. Asanas do not tire you out, rather they refresh and energize you. There are some general differences between yoga and exercise. Yoga relaxes the body, while exercise tires it out. Yoga works on subcortical regions of the brain, while exercise works on cortical regions. Yoga conserves energy, while the exercise breaks it down. 


Based on a comparison between Yoga and Asana, it can be concluded that while Asana is a type of Yoga posture that focuses on physical health, Yoga encompasses a broader philosophy and lifestyle including physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Asana can be practiced by itself as a means of achieving physical fitness, whereas Yoga offers a more holistic approach to well-being. Ultimately, whether one chooses to practice Asana or Yoga depends on their individual needs and goals.