This asana is the same in shape as what many people call Spider. However, this posture is more accurately named as Crocodile because "Makara" means crocodile. The posture is named after Makar, the mythological sea-creature ridden by Ganga Ma, the goddess of the Ganges River.
On the list of what is known as "the 84", the name has been written incorrectly in English. The reason for this is mistranslation but it brings up the difficulty of transliteration.
So, what is transliteration?!
Transliteration refers to the process of translating from one alphabet to another. In English, we use the symbols you are reading now. But in another alphabet, a totally different set of symbols is used.
Sanskrit, the language asanas are most often written in, uses Devanagari. Because these symbols are unrecognizable to a non-Devanagari reader, a process of transliteration takes place. This means that we approximate the sounds of one alphabet using the characters of another alphabet.
Let's take the simple example of Corpse Pose. In English this is written as Shavasana or śavāsana. However in Devanagari this would be written as शवासन. In another language and script, Bangla for example, it would be written as শবাসন. While the symbols look different script to script, the words are essentially the same.
This brings us to the asana pictured above. What is it called?
SPIDER & CROCODILE
If the asana were to be "Spider Pose" it would have to named as Markaka. However, the posture is named मकर which is Makara, or Crocodile. The posture is therefore written as मकरासन, or Makarasana.
This name also has historical significance in the Ghosh lineage. For example, Gouri Shankar Mukerji names it as Crocodile in his 1962 manual.
On the list of 84, the transliteration is written correctly as Makarasana. However, the English is then written as Spider. This is incorrect. It's a very understandable mistake as the words are similar and even more importantly, very few people (including us!!) understand Sanskrit to a deep degree.
It also begs the question, does it matter?
We are of the opinion that names are only valuable if they communicate information clearly. If someone understands what you mean, it does not matter what words you use. However, it is also useful to be accurate. If we are simply mistaken in our knowledge, we can correct this and be more precise. It's not useful to repeat something that is incorrect.
It is pretty clear that this posture should be named Crocodile.
Source for Images: https://www.learnsanskrit.cc/
The List of 84 Asanas, via Bikram Choudhury, Esak Garcia, Tony Sanchez and many others...
Mukerji, GS. 84 Yoga Asanas.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
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