Anybody who’s taken a yoga class has in all probability heard the time period “asana.” Asanas are the bodily physique positions or poses of yoga that kind the inspiration of a contemporary hatha yoga observe. Whereas most lessons solely train the fundamentals, there’s a variety of issue and complexity of the yoga asanas. To totally perceive and study the asanas, we might want to uncover the historical past of them, their origin, and the way they’re used immediately in yoga. Gaining this data opens up the doorways for us to have a deep, profound and insightful observe.
Asana which means and definition in Yoga
Asana is a Sanskrit phrase which means “posture,” “seat,” or “place.” Asanas are the bodily positions we assume throughout a hatha yoga observe. Every pose has its personal Sanskrit and English title. Nearly all the Sanskrit names for the poses finish with “asana.” For instance, the traditional lotus pose is known as Padmasana, and the widespread tree poses is known as Vrikshasana. Lots of the asana names have come from the shapes and actions of animals and components of the pure world. Some names differ by completely different faculties of yoga, and among the names have modified over time. There are a number of asanas that have been identified by a number of names at completely different time durations.
There are numerous completely different forms of poses, however all of them comply with the identical fundamental rules of alignment and muscular engagement. They embody the whole lot from easy twists and backbends to superior balancing poses. There may be many variations on the person poses, and every variation has its personal advantages, function and challenges.
An asana may be carried out as a nonetheless and static place that may be held for a number of breaths, or it may be a posture that’s a part of a dynamic flowing motion that lasts for lower than one inhale or exhale. The time period it’s held relies on the college of yoga adopted and the depth and issue of the bodily posture. For instance, Iyengar Yoga emphasizes yoga anatomy and bodily alignment so the poses are held some time. In distinction, Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa kinds transfer shortly between poses linking actions with breath as within the solar salutations.
Whereas there isn’t any incorrect technique to do any asana, there are a normal rules of alignment, respiratory strategies, and mindfulness that must be adopted to forestall damage and maximize the advantages of yoga.
What number of yoga postures are there?
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was one of many first yogic texts to say the phrase asana. Patanjali consists of it as one of many eight limbs of yoga and in sutra 2.47 he notes that asana must be “regular and cozy.” The traditional Hatha Yoga Pradipika textual content describes 18 postures however goes on to state that “Shiva taught 84 asanas.” But a later textual content referred to as The Gheranda Samhita notes that “there are 8,400,000 asanas described by Shiva. The postures are as many in quantity as there are numbers of species of dwelling creatures on this universe. Amongst them 84 are the perfect; and amongst these 84, 32 have been discovered helpful for humankind on this world.” Most yoga lecturers solely lead about 15-25 poses of their lessons. YogaBasics’ pose listing has 120 of the primary fashionable asanas listed with images and step-by-step directions.
The historical past of the asanas
The unique asanas had been easy seated positions designed to be carried out by yogis throughout meditation. They had been regular but snug shapes designed to focus the thoughts and calm the nerves and permit one to enter a deep meditative state.
Since these early days, increasingly more asanas had been created for various causes. Within the eleventh century on the Goraksha Sataka textual content was the primary to explain a non-seated asanas. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika was written within the fifteenth century and describes 18 poses, however none of those are standing poses. Non-seated poses first seem within the Gheranda Samhita which was composed within the seventeenth century.
Within the well-known 1966 asana ebook Gentle on Yoga, B. Okay. S. Iyengar included the asanas his instructor Krishnamacharya created from a fusion of conventional Indian wrestling, gymnastics, and British Military calisthenics. In 1974 yoga teacher Sri Dharma Mittra created an “Final Yoga Chart” poster that contained an inventory of 908 asanas which was later printed as a ebook.
The distinction between asanas and different bodily train
The observe of yoga combines stretching, respiratory, mindfulness and meditation to enhance your well being, cut back stress and improve power and suppleness. It’s much less of a exercise and extra of an exploration into the mind-body connection. It’s a holistic life-style that could be a psychological and religious journey quite than a bodily problem.
In distinction, gymnastics and different bodily train concentrate on constructing muscle mass, endurance and stamina by fast repetitions or units of motion. There isn’t any emphasis on breath work, mindfulness or growing the mind-body connection. Yoga will not be a aggressive sport like working or weight lifting. It’s designed to develop stability, coordination and focus by managed motion whereas embracing non-judgement, kindness and compassion for your self and others.
Asanas function and advantages
The fashionable observe of asana focuses totally on its well being advantages, and is used as a low-impact type of train. The normal objectives of asana additionally included stopping illness and selling a wholesome physique however centered extra on its religious function and advantages. By studying to manage and self-discipline the physique, the physique’s power and thoughts are additionally calmed and centered. Under are the extra conventional and maybe unknown functions of an everyday asana observe:
- Yoga asanas are practiced to extend internal power and focus to create a robust container to face up to the depth of tapas, the austerity practices used to succeed in a state of enlightenment.
- Yoga postures are used to management, purify and domesticate prana, the life-force power the flows by the nadis or power channels of the physique.
- Asana observe creates psychological, emotional and energetic stability. Once you carry out asanas frequently, it helps cut back damaging thought patterns and regulate the feelings.
- Asanas are considered one of a number of yogic practices used to scale back dangerous karma and stop its accumulation.
- A grounded and regular bodily observe facilitates the deeper practices of pranayama, bandha, and mudra. These hatha yoga practices assist direct and calm the power and promote additional exploration of the refined physique.
- A robust asana observe allows one to discover the acutely aware and unconscious thoughts by the layers of the koshas and refined physique. This enables one to realize perception into the true nature of self and actuality.
The relevancy of asana within the yoga custom
Asanas are a comparatively small facet of yoga when in comparison with the general depth and breath of the custom of yoga. They’re a comparatively small slice of an older and far bigger physique of data, philosophy, lineage, and strategies. For instance, you may discover different points of yoga corresponding to respiratory workouts, meditation, codes of social conduct, self-observances, food plan, devotion, or selfless service, with out having to do any asanas in any respect.
The last word aim of yoga is the union of 1’s particular person thoughts, physique, and spirit. Yoga poses are one technique you may show you how to attain peace inside your self by training self-discipline and self-awareness. Asanas weren’t meant to be a standalone observe. As an alternative, they had been meant to enrich the opposite practices of yoga.