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Terms in wide use accepted into English are not foreign and must not be italicised[edit]

Merriam-Webster states that "asana" has been used for a posture since 1811. That aside, the term is in *extremely* wide usage both in yoga circles and more widely, including in national newspapers around the world. See the Ngram which shows usage from the early 1800s, climbing markedly from the 1920s when asana practice became acceptable through the work of Yogendra, Kuvalayananda and Krishnamacharya.

Another key point is that English "asana" is based on but different from Sanskrit आसन āsana (with diacritic mark over the "a"). Once a word has been borrowed, it is separate from the original language and of course it may shift its meaning also.

I do hope that the evidence from dictionaries and word usage will be sufficient to convince everyone that this is the case. Wikipedia is built on evidence, not opinion.

This is one of the terms in Yoga and Hinduism that have been widely used in English for many years, and can be found in the major English dictionaries (such as Oxford, Merriam-Webster). When a term is widely used in English, it is no longer "foreign" whatever its etymology, and should not be marked up in italics: the MoS policy on foreign words does not apply to terms adopted into English. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:35, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

This point has wider application since similar edits have been made on dozens of yoga articles. I have therefore started a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Yoga, and would encourage all editors to add their thoughts there rather than here. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:55, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I happened to browse the section Etymology in this version. I removed some material which seemed errroneous and irrelevant but it has been reverted back in. Some points which still need addressing:
  1. The claim of first use in 1834 is not supported by the source supplied, which gives a different date of 1811. In any case, such dictionary sources are inadequate to support a claim of first use because they typically give examples of usage and these are not exhaustive.
  2. We should not be going into the etymology of the word without good reason as that's dictionary content and, per WP:DICDEF, we're writing an encyclopedia. We should be focussing on the general concept of sitting in a particular posture, rather than giving undue weight to the words used for this in various languages. For example, consider the more common English word "pose". Notice that that is a redirect to list of human positions and that page has a subsection for asanas. Perhaps we should be consolidating all this related material under a single heading per WP:COMMONNAME and WP:DICDEF? When we're talking about sitting postures then surely sitting is the best page?
Andrew D. (talk) 11:26, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Andrew, I agree with you about the first use, there are plenty of dates available and different dictionaries indeed give various dates, so I've removed the dictionary claim. However, there is no doubt that the term was in use in English in the early 19th century. The English usage of "asana" is not an exact synonym for "pose" or "posture" - people do not call ballet or gymnastics poses asanas, as a sufficient counter-example; and the history of asanas is more than rich enough (and richly cited in the literature, not only in yoga circles) to counter any idea of its being mere sitting. I think the bare etymology is to say the least sensible and appropriate in the context, but I'm happy to consolidate, the single sentence goes well in the 'History' so I've moved it there. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:47, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Coverage of culture[edit]

Johnbod - I am somewhat astonished that you should wish to cover asanas in art only in the lead section, when there is a perfectly good "Culture" section in the body of the article. WP:MOSLEAD calls for a summary (only) in the lead, and yes culture should be covered there like everything else. But the lead is NOT the place for new material, nor for introducing citations. I will happily add more cultural material; I already found citations and an image to supplement your text, so I should have thought the topic was well handled, but there's certainly scope for more detail on the art side. What isn't right is to edit-war all the material up into the lead section of a mature article: no doubt when an article is only a couple of paragraphs long, putting everything up there goes by default, but when there is plenty of structure it just seems, well, strange. I'll have another go at it, but on the {lead=summary, body=cited-illustrated-discussion} format, there really can't be much doubt, the MoS is perfectly clear about it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:52, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

WP:LEAD is very clear that all major aspects of the subject should be mentioned there:"The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic. It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points...." Your lead was entirely about yoga. And you started reverting. Johnbod (talk) 23:02, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm glad we agree on policy for the lead, to summarize the text in the body; that now has an extended Culture section, and the lead is now extended with a new paragraph to reflect all parts of that section, something that was indeed missing. Chiswick Chap (talk) 23:21, 18 November 2019 (UTC)


With the quality of the page being continuously improved, maybe time to nominate for a feature article. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:50, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

That's very kind of you. It's certainly a possibility. I'm not sure I want to take that on by myself, but if anyone feels like sharing the load ... My immediate priority is to get some of the other yoga GANs through the process: they have been languishing there for weeks and months. Anyone who feels like reviewing any of them will be very welcome. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:24, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

adding a bibliography[edit]

There's a list of publications in ==Typology== and I think it would be better if they were moved to a bibliography. The abbreviations can be maintained but should reference to the works under ==Bibliography==.Catchpoke (talk) 22:56, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Catchpoke, the article already has a bibliography (for sources that support the referenced statements in the article) – the section is called "Sources". It would be possible to move the sources in the Typology section there, but I'm not sure that it would make the "Typology" section more comprehensible or useful? Best, Wham2001 (talk) 07:02, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
The article (like all the articles in the project) is correctly-structured and fully cited, and doesn't need that sort of adjustment. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:47, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
another solution is to use the same reference style for the primary sources in ==Sources==. currently, the citation style uses the christian Bible citationbible style and using 2 styles is confusing not to mention to younger readers who are less likely to even have heard of bible citation.Catchpoke (talk) 18:21, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
I've no idea what your redlinked bible style thingy is, but the "Sources" list contains the major books on which the article relies, often with many different page-links to the same book; there are inline links direct to the other sources, which are basically only mentioned once. I can't see there's anything terribly difficult about this really. All the best, Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:35, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
Catchpoke, do I understand correctly that the only part of the article that you're suggesting modifying is the second column of the table in "Types of asana"? If so, I agree with Chiswick Chap that the existing presentation is fine. For the avoidance of doubt I think that the reference style in the rest of the article is also fine, but I don't think that you are proposing to change that? Best, Wham2001 (talk) 19:50, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

"Types of asana"[edit]

the section, i feel, should be titled "categorization". User:Chipswick ChapUser:Chiswick Chap, could you explain exactly how asanas are categorized?Catchpoke (talk) 22:42, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

A few things.
1) I already asked you not to make yet more changes until we reach consensus, it's disruptive to keep pushing non-agreed, non-discussed changes of exactly the same type that you have been making and warned for on related articles. It would be much appreciated if, now you know that these kinds of change are not necessarily what other editors believe to be right, you could wait until consensus is reached, i.e. discussion has completed with an agreed "yes".
2) The repeated abrasive edit comments like "clunky title" are not appreciated.
3) Please reflect that the phrasing of titles and text may work better in British or Indian English than in American English. Like it or not, this Wikipedia is not "American Wiki" but a mosaic with different projects in different language variants. To my British ear, for example, "Types of asana" is far more comfortable than the polysyllabic Americanised latinate "categorization"; the section is indeed about the different types. As a general principle for an encyclopedia for the general reader, we choose to write in short simple familiar words rather than mellifluously harmonising with hypercomplex multisyllable terminology in search of spurious precision. Hope that's clear. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:47, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Oh WP:HEAD does not refer to the section title style. What i mean is MOS:NOBACKREF.
Trimmed heading, it was indeed longer than it needed to be. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:06, 31 March 2021 (UTC)
With regard to the typology of asanas, what is your response?Catchpoke (talk) 22:15, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Specifically, how exactly are asanas categorized if given "a set of asana types agreed by most authors"?Catchpoke (talk) 22:18, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Er, that's part of the rather short lead-in paragraph for the table, and the paragraph continues "The table shows an example of each type of asana". I guess we can labour the point by saying "each of these types of asana", though to my ear that's close to repetition: I suspect the issue here is about 95% WP:ENGVAR, if we're mandated to use block caps vogon-speak on this talk page. The set, naturally, is the one in the table. I've tweaked the phrase. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:06, 31 March 2021 (UTC)
"giving a set of asana types agreed by most authors" still doesnt make sense to me because i dont understand if asanas are categorized mostly by this methodology or if asanas are only categorized this way on wikipedia. do you think you can keep your cool?Catchpoke (talk) 22:06, 31 March 2021 (UTC)
There's literally a sourced statement in the lead-in paragraph saying that asanas are mostly categorized by this methodology. I cannot see how that could be made clearer. Wham2001 (talk) 06:40, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, Wham2001, there is indeed. As I said, I tweaked the phrase and I think it's about as clear as it could be really. Talk of "cool", especially heated talk, is not helpful, and indeed contrary to policy; but on the question whether the types were invented for Wikipedia there is a definite answer: No – the article states directly that the set is agreed by most authors, a reliably cited statement. There is in fact very wide agreement on the set, and yoga teachers on five continents freely use types like 'standing pose' and 'backbend'. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:29, 1 April 2021 (UTC)