This entry was posted on July 24, 2020 by Charlotte Bell.

Asana, the bodily observe, is one of the best recognized of the eight limbs of yoga. When you point out yoga, most individuals routinely think about an individual in a pleasant, pliable place. But after all yoga is way more than simply asana. There are seven different limbs of yoga within the Ashtanga yoga system. (Ashtanga Yoga right here refers back to the conventional which means of the eight-limb path quite than Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the system developed by Ok. Patabhi Jois.) In addition, there are various different types of yoga that don’t contain postures.

In the context of the eight limbs, Asana comes third after Yama and Niyama. The first two limbs present a strong basis for the remainder of the observe. They convey wholesome intentions in order that our observe can bear wholesome fruit. In addition, they offer us pointers for a swish life.

Since asana is the preferred side of yoga, additionally it is essentially the most misunderstood. Western practitioners who grew up with rigorous workout routines usually observe asana within the context of this well-known paradigm. When we consider train, we consider ideas like competitors and private greatest. Hence, we affiliate the flexibility to do acrobatic poses with “advanced”. But after the Yoga Sutras, mastering the asana is a totally totally different matter.

The asana custom

The phrase "asana" means "seat". It actually refers back to the sitting posture. The authentic objective of training yoga asana was to help the physique with the trials of sitting meditation. This consists of not solely the bodily physique, but in addition the physiological techniques. The nervous system is especially vital.

When I used to be in India at B.Ok.S. Iyengar, one factor he mentioned caught in my thoughts and helped me run my observe. He mentioned that we observe asana to create a peaceable, calm atmosphere for the thoughts. When the physique is snug, the thoughts might be extra snug.

Three of the 196 yoga sutras describe asana. All are within the second pada or chapter. Here they’re (from the interpretation by Alistair Shearer):

  1. 2.46: The posture needs to be calm and comfy.
  2. 2.47: It is mastered when all efforts are relaxed and the thoughts is absorbed in infinity.
  3. 2.48: Then you’re not upset concerning the sport of opposites.

Let's summarize this. As with different posts on this Yoga 101 sequence, my descriptions right here will likely be brief and candy. If you wish to dive deeper, take my e book Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life.

Sutra 2.46: Alistair Shearer's translation makes use of the outline "steady and comfortable". Other translations of this sutra describe asana as "firm and soft," "steady and light," and different such reverse qualities. For me, which means that the balancing effort is essential. Persistence requires power, stability and dedication. Comfort means lightness and calm. Stability with out consolation can result in rigidity and rigidity. Comfort with out stability can result in sluggishness and heaviness. So we steadiness the 2 of them in each pose.

Sutra 2.47: This sutra is important to understanding the intent – and the ability – of the asana observe. Note that there isn’t any definition of mastery over what our our bodies can or can not do. It's not about pushing additional or mastering fancy poses. In truth, it implies the other. In distinction to aggressive sport, through which we’re continually creating, asana asks us to loosen up our efforts. When we are able to loosen up the hassle in our poses, as a substitute of "doing" the pose, we start to "be" the pose. In this current expertise of the internal course of, our minds are immersed in infinity. Anyone with any physique sort or potential can grasp the asana.

Sutra 2.48: Flexibility, Strength, Tone, Stress Relief – these are the qualities which can be most frequently cited as advantages of asana observe. And it's true; Regular practitioners usually report these advantages. But these are merely unwanted effects to the precise objective of the observe: with the ability to face the ebb and circulate of our lives with equanimity. When we observe with consistency and luxury, we steadiness our nervous techniques and preserve calm between thoughts and physique. As we loosen up and immerse ourselves within the moment-by-moment expertise of asana, our minds grow to be spacious and clear. By creating this state, we are able to strategy the ups and downs of our lives with extra grace. I don't learn about you, however I feel that is an distinctive degree of bodily train.

Thus, by the instrument of our personal bodily physique, we are able to obtain a spacious equanimity that extends from the mat outwards into our every day life. That is the aim of Asana. It prepares our body-mind for meditation, but in addition helps us to combine the meditative state into all of our bodily actions.


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