Thursday, 28 May 2015

TRIKOṆĀSANA : The changing names and forms of ĀSANA

By JACQUELINE HARGREAVES


Throughout the history of yoga, the names of āsana have not been consistent. Depending on the linage, the region and the century, the name and form of an āsana varies. 

For example, the posture shown here is labelled Trikoṇāsana (Triangle Pose) on this undated folio. Quite different to the Trikoṇāsana practised by modern linages extending from Krishnamacharya.

The paper and style of the drawing suggests that it is fairly modern, possibly as late as early 20th century. However, the dating of such material is very difficult without more evidence and a good look at the folio itself.

This image belongs to a set of folios from an unknown manuscript that have been separated and sold commercially by an art dealer (which is legal in India for manuscript folios that have artwork on them). 





Trikoṇāsana (Triangle Pose) takes another form in a Jain manuscript called 'Yogāsana-Jaina' (likely dated to the 18th - 19th century). 

This unpublished manuscript has recently been examined by the Philosophico-Literary Research Department of Kaivalyadhama. It contains descriptions of 107 āsanas with illustrations of each and provides an interesting window into the practise of āsanas within the Jaina religion.

The Kaivalyadhama research paper can be found here.

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