Monday, June 1, 2009

"Asana" Third Limb of Yoga

In my last two post on yoga we had dealt with Yama and Niyama the first two limbs of Astanga yoga .In today's post we will read more about the Third limb namely called as "Asana" .
Most of us know yoga or came to know yoga because of those crazy positions that you would see on books or in a class of yoga .The desire to be that flexible attracts many to such classes .Those crazy positions are called as "Asana" . It some times look like a gym class rather than yoga class, but still lot of difference that you can actually think when doing those positions. "Asana" are defined as a posture where you are comfortable in. So if you are standing you should be in comfort and not having any pain or ache .If you are sitting you should be comfortable .To perfect the comfort zone of a particular position remains the goal of many yoga followers .It some times takes minutes to perfect it or some times years to make it perfect and comfortable .

For me "Asana" is not just positions to be comfortable in , but they are paths where I can stay in to the present easily .When I do them , I feel that I am in the moment ,other wise the position does not remains comfortable any more .Is that what you need to achieve ,I do not know , but I am sure that would be goal of those positions .Looking at some postures you would feel uncomfortable , but if you are relaxed and calm you again achieve the posture very easily .

So what is any "Asana" useful for ? We could think of many advantages here are few , some postures are known to work on a particular group of muscles and area like the Cobra pose or "Bhujangaasana " helps to reduce lower back issues . Some are to stimulate the Chakaras that are around that area of activity like Lion's breathe , breathe of fire or called " Signha asana " is known for its work on Throat chakara. Some would help to maintain balance hence forth decrease the constant flickering of the mind like Tree pose or " Vrikshaasna ". In general they are meant to give both physical and mental equilibrium ,steadiness , lightness and stability to the mind .

Names of the "Asana" can be categorized accordingly .After animal like" shalabaasana" or locust position , or "Matsyaasan" or fish position . After certain objects in nature like tree pose or "Vruskashasan" , "Padmasan" or lotus position . After moods of the time or the temperament of the position like warrior pose or "Veeraasan" . Looking into the dept philosophy of Yoga teaches us to accept each and every organism in the food chain , look how they are and they function see the difficulty being in that way and respecting the value of them in the system .

Lastly a thought do arises why importance is given to "Asana" in yoga the most out of all the 8 limbs . " Mundakopnaishad " has explained to us properly on that question . It quotes that the " Self " cannot be attained by one with out the strength , nor though heedlessness , nor without aim . All of the above said factor are worked on when any one does "Asana" .You start attaining strength from them , you start having higher and higher goal and aims as you start practicing them .Thus the importance .

Related Links :

1] "Yama" The First limb of Yoga .

2] "Niyama " The Second limb of Yoga .

Thanks to Lisa for the picture .

Posted by Sudeep


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1 comments: on ""Asana" Third Limb of Yoga"

Ralph said...

I have practiced yoga from self-teaching at different times in my life and those positions are what I did - or at least some of them. When I was doing them, it was important to keeping myself feeling good and relieving tension in my back and shoulders. For some reason, I stopped and don't seem to be missing them or their benefits, probably because I am used to the way my body feels and therefore don't feel compelled to make things better.

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