Traditionally, the word Asana is has been defined as "seat", as taken in the 'Sutras' of Patanjali (400 BC); a seated posture for meditation. The Sutras are the first recorded written texts to codify the practices of yoga and it is considered the foundation of yoga philosophy.
In Sutra 2.46, the word asana is written in sanskrit “Sthira Sukham Asanam”.
Sthira means strong, steady or stable and sukha means comfortable, relaxed or at ease. This truly describes asana as a balance between stability and ease. In modern yoga, asana evolved to "postures" -- the shapes our body makes when we practice yoga.
What does asana mean to us? Asana is the gateway to the discovery of ourselves as we begin our yoga path within the physical body. This gateway opens up the path to a deeper understanding of ourselves. The practice of yoga asana, which is a sequence of postures we practice in class, prepare our body, mind and spirit for meditation. What?
Body movement precedes a still practice of meditation? Yes!
When we move our bodies, we move energy. The practice of asana or postures helps clear the body of energy blocks, clears the mind and physically prepares your body to sit for a long period of time. This creates the subtle balance between strength, stability and ease we can carry into our meditation practice, to assist in keeping our energetic vibration high.