Eight Limbs of Yoga: #HY8foldpath Day 3: Asana
Day 3 of #HY8FOLDPATH Yoga Challenge – ASANA or POSTURES
ASANA literally translates to mean seat. To “take a seat” suggests both an attitude of relaxation as well as structure. This is precisely the recipe for yoga asana. Many people might assume that postures are the most important or prominent part of the yoga practice but notice it comes 3rd in the Eight Limbs of Yoga! Out of 200 sentences in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali …only 3 give instructions for asana practice! Really! The first of these states “The pose should be steady and comfortable.” If we are straining, stressed or tense, we are moving further away from the yogic state of mind, or more simply said, further from yoga! If we are unengaged and avoiding effort, we gain little. Every pose must contain a balance of effort and ease, activation and relaxation, steadiness and comfort- all simultaneously present!
The primary purpose of ASANA is not to look fancy or have party tricks or photos. It is to prepare the body to sit for longer and longer periods of meditation. After all, the mind can’t quiet if the body is in pain or discomfort. So if the body is in pain in the asana, what’s the point? Today, commit to moving the body through a few postures. Experiment with stretching the body only to the point it is comfortable and available. Simultaneously, practice non-harm by increasing your relaxation.