‘Sthiram Sukham Āsana
Steady and comfortable should be a posture, the effort put in should be with ease and time,the focus being on the endless potentials through meditation
(PYS – 2, 46-47)
Through the practice of Āsana one achieves Steadiness, both mentally and physically.
(GS – 1,10)
We move on from the Yogi’s diary #2, where we had introduced the importance of Kriyas – the first steps to the practice of YOGA.
After becoming comfortable with the cleansing routines, the aspirant moves to the next step of the Yoga Practices and the most popular of the steps – the Asanas. Āsanas are postures that are practiced to make the body strong and stable. Āsana is achieved when one is able to remain comfortable, steady and at ease in a position for a certain period of time. This is when one achieves a certain equilibrium between the Physical Body and Mind. Sage Patanjali emphasized that the asanas that bring equilibrium of the Mind must be practiced daily.
It is when one conquers the Asana, bringing in comfort and steady ease in the position, that the first steps of achieving a Meditative state is achieved.The HATHA yoga tradition divides the Asana practise into two forms; Dynamic(VinyĀsa) and Steady(Āsana). The latter follows the former in the course of learning.
To begin with, Dynamic Postures are practiced to make the muscles supple and thereby Body flexible. The breath plays an equal importance to enabling achieve the Asana. One such Dynamic practice is the popular Surya Namaskar. It is a cycle of 8 Āsanas sequenced into 12 steps, with the breath playing an equally important role in its practice and benefits. The breath sequence precedes each step and is often forgotten in the learning and hence in the practice. Once proficiency is achieved with this Surya Namaskar sequence, the Practitioner moves on to practicing the same Asanas as the Steady Postures.
The first mile stone is to overcome the aches and pains of the muscles. This eliminates stress at the physical level. With practice, the practitioner goes on to achieve a stable and focused Mind.
According to tradition there are 84,400,000 (eighty four lakh) asanas of which 84 (eighty four) are main.There are about 15 Āsanas mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and 32 Asanas mentioned in the Gherand Samhita. These are learnt under the guidance of an Acharya. The learning moves from simple Asanas to the more challenging ones . Modifications and adaptations follow once the practitioner achieves each Asana.
Yoga Asanas, when learnt and practiced correctly, do achieve the goal of reducing fat in the physical body. In fact, practice of Yoga in the whole, not just Asanas, are the perfect recipe for a lean and fit Body. This is because, the appearance of fat in a Physical Body is often a visible manifestation of a problematic and uncontrolled Mind. With Yoga, one learns to address this Body & Mind equilibrium, thereby bringing in a lean Body and a sharp intellect in one practice. Keep in mind that ancient Yogis were never obese to lose weight through the Yoga Asana practices. Hence, Yoga Āsanas should not be considered as mere exercises or a spiritual form of Body Building. Rather, it is a true means of connecting us with our inner self.
Join a Yoga program with a competent and accomplished ‘Guru’ and derive the benefits of a long-term Physical health and fitness.