Making Sense of the NYT Crossword Clue “Sitting Meditation Pose”

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Early on February 1, one thing uncommon and maybe unprecedented occurred. On-line searches for the phrase “sitting meditation pose” surged actually 1000’s of occasions greater than is seen on a typical Thursday morning, based on Google Traits. Curiously, nearly all of searchers weren’t looking for enlightenment and even the way to quiet their ideas. They had been looking for a five-letter reply to the three-word clue “sitting meditation pose” from the New York Instances crossword puzzle, which had been launched hours earlier.

Apparently in crossword puzzle circles, the Thursday NYT crossword puzzle is understood to be one in every of  the extra confounding of the week. As a kindness to readers, solutions to pick clues are revealed in its Wordplay column, printed every day together with the crossword puzzle. The reply to “sitting meditation pose” was amongst them. [Spoiler alert: You’re about to learn the answer.]

Columnist Deb Amlen wrote:

“The distinction between a definition and a crossword clue is {that a} definition should clarify one thing exactly, no extra, no much less. A crossword clue, particularly one which seems in a late-week puzzle, has a bit extra wiggle room, and the clue ‘Sitting meditation pose’ is an effective instance. The reply, ASANA, merely means “pose,” so it could possibly be any hatha yoga pose, together with however not restricted to the seated ones.”

Technically, the crossword clue isn’t unsuitable. It’s really fairly sensible. However the definition of “asana” within the accompanying column could immediate some questions amongst these accustomed to yoga or Sanskrit (and Amlen’s use of “merely” could increase some eyebrows).

Arundhati Baitmangalkar, a self-described Indian immigrant, yoga instructor, host of the Let’s Speak Yoga podcast, and yoga nerd, explains “Asana primarily means ‘seat,’” she says. “And initially, that seat was supposed for meditation.”

At the moment, there have been no yoga poses as we all know them right now, says Baitmangalkar (who is just not a crossword individual). “The one pose that existed for yogis 1000’s of years in the past was the sitting meditation pose, whether or not they had been asking you to sit down for meditation or another type of contemplation.”

It was solely in current centuries that varied postures had been launched to the lexicon of yoga. As such, asana has turn into a well-recognized and catchall phrase, supposed to tell apart bodily yoga from the much less bodily points of yoga.

So though Amlen’s definition of asana is likely to be ever so barely incomplete, taking a cue from the traditional teachings of yoga reminds us to take a look at the intention behind each the clue and the column, which is to coax readers to contort their brains, not their our bodies, in order to understand the world barely otherwise. Simply as what occurs in meditation.

RELATED: Even a One-Minute Meditation Can Ship Profound Advantages, Based on Analysis

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