Asanas are yoga postures. More than just stretching, asanas open energy channels, purify, strengthen, and destress the body. They also help to control, focus and clear the mind. When we think of yoga we think of asana (yoga postures). But asana is only the third limb of the classical practice of Yoga. The 8 limbs are; Yamas and Niyamas (ethical obligations), Asanas (postures, Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (unity with God).
Asana Points to Remember:
1. Start where you are. Listen to your body. Honor your abilities and limitations with respect and ease.
2. Create a secure framework focussing on: alignment, stability, strength, and flexibility.
3. Maintain slow deep breaths and synchronize movement with the breath. (General Rule: Inhale when expanding the front of the body, exhale while contracting, folding inward, and releasing.)
4. Be mindful of body sensations, energy, breathing, emotions, and thoughts while moving, holding, and releasing postures.
5. Practice Santosha (contentment), accepting where you are in the present moment without judgement. Appreciate the time taken to nurture yourself.
Asana must have dual qualities of alertness and relaxation. (Yoga without awareness is simply gymnastics.) ~Patanjali (Yoga Sutras II.46)
Time was when I despised the body; but then I saw the God within. The body, I realized, is the Lord’s temple; And so I began preserving it with care infinate. ~Bhogar (18th Century Poet)