How to understand the term aṅga in the context of yoga

What is अङ्ग / aṅga in yoga, is it a step or a section? On the one hand, we find following interpretations in the Viveka Mārtaṇḍa:

117. Thanks to the twelve prāṇāyāmas – pratyāhāra is achieved. Thanks to the twelve pratyāhāras – good dhāraṇā is attained.

118. Thanks to the twelve dhāraṇās – dhyāna is known, and due to the twelve dhyānas, samādhi is achieved.

On the other hand, we find quite a few texts where aṅgas often go in a sequence that is not popular for most.

Basically, the free order of aṅgas is found either in tantras or in texts that have been influenced by tantra. These are partly Purāṇas, as well as Nātha texts. If we look at the meaning of the term ‘aṅga’ in different dictionaries, it means: ‘a part’, ‘a division’, ‘relating to the base’, ‘anything inferior or secondary’, ‘supplement’, ‘contiguous’. In tantric texts, methods are sometimes named as ‘upāya’, which also means ‘a trick’, ‘a ruse’. This allows us to understand that it is impossible, in practice, to put a technique higher than its main goals, which often causes the “modern yoga“. The “parts” can be compared with the organs of the body; we cannot say that we need a heart, but we do not need a brain or liver. We need an organism in which absolutely everything works simultaneously and harmoniously. In this regard, āsanas cannot exist separately from pratyāhāraprāṇāyāmadhyāna or samādhi (even if it is fragmentary). The yoga state and the yoga path are primary, while aṅgas are secondary, but they all work on the main tasks.

Where does the number of 84 āsanas come from?

The idea of ​​84 āsanas, which is often found in yoga texts, is based on the worship of 84 nāthayogis. Each of these 84 nāthas is responsible for the evolution of one lakh of living beings (100,000). When you follow the yoga path, you develop the psychophysical, spiritual purity in yourself, that you radiate into space. By doing your practice you help not only yourself, but also your close ones. Souls reincarnate in different forms until they become perfect yogis, the symbolism of 84 āsanas is based on this principle. The most important thing here is to understand that āsana is not just a physical process, but also a psychophysical one. The purpose of many āsanas is to be able to stay stable in the position of siddha (siddhāsana). Generally, it is the ability to stay in a meditative posture for three hours, to hold it easily, so that you can meditate, remaining in the position, on something sublime and pure in it.