“The Sandskrit names of the asanas are significant and illustrate the principle of evolution. Some are named after vegetation like the tree (vrksa) and the lotus (padma); some after insects like the locust (salabha) and the scorpion (vrschika); some after aquatic animals and amphibians like the fish (matsya), the tortoise (kurma), the frog (bheka or manduka), or the crocodile (nakra). There are asanas called after the birds like the cock (kukkuta), the heron (baka), the peacock (mayura) and the swan (hamsa). They are also named after the quadrupeds like the dog (svana), the horse (vatayana), the camel (ustra) and the lion (simha). Creatures that crawl like the serpent (bhujanga) are not forgotten, nor is the human embryonic state (garbha-pinda) overlooked. Asanas are named after legendary heroes like Virabhadra and Hanuman, son of the wind Sages like Bharadvaja, Kapila, Vasistha and Visvamitra are remembered by having asanas named after them. Some asanas are also called after the gods of the Hindu pantheon and some recall the Avataras or incarnations of divine power. While performing the asanas the yogi’s body assumes many forms resembling a variety of creatures. His mind is trained not to despise any creature, for he knows that throughout the whole gamut of creation, from the lowliest insect to the most perfect sage, there breathes the same universal spirit, which assumes innumerable forms. He knows that the highest form is that of the formless. He finds unity in universality.”
BKS Iyengar writes this in his introduction to yoga. I think that it is a really good description of what yoga does; forcing us to become conscious of our environment, our selves, and the beings around us. Yoga means union and I think this quote explains why yoga is so universal. A lot of people view yoga as soft, but I think it can be extraordinarily scientific with proper technique.