“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of every day life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We do not transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hope for something better.” Donna Farhi
What is asana
Yoga Asana is a term commonly used to describe the physical practice that trains the body in building strength, flexibility and stamina; in traditionally in preparation for meditation, Those who have practiced even just a little bit of yoga will know its benefits are far reaching and a wonderful complement to our busy often frantic schedules.
If you’ve encountered yoga, it may have been called “Hatha” yoga, and this is the generic term used to describe the variety of physical yoga styles. There are numerous and growing range of styles and hybrids on offer but ones commonly available include: Ashtanga Vinyasa, Anusara, Bikram, Yin, Shadow and Iyengar.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which translated means union and on a spiritual level, yoga has the potential to have a profound and holistic effect on the human experience and well being on all levels; physical, intellectual and mental.
The origins of yoga are over 2000 years old and often credited to Patajanli’s Yoga Sutras. In this ancient scripture, Patanjanli discussed the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga; the stages towards enlightenment. In the West, the Asana, Pranyama and Pratyahara are the most popular yogic practices. They represent the Third, Fourth and Fifth Limbs, respectively. Asana and Pranyama covers the physical practice of posture and breath control, whilst Pratyahara examines the withdrawal of the senses. According to the Yoga Sutras, the mastering of Asana and Pranyama generates the conditions for Pratyahara, which enables the capacity for meditation and ultimately the union of mind, body and soul.
With it’s foundations rooted into holistic and spiritual well being, the practice of yoga can benefit everyone in many varied ways. Just skimming the surface, yoga can:
- improves physical health and flexibility;
- encourages weight loss as well as firms and tones the body;
- strengthens the core and reduces back pain;
- reduces stress and anxiety and promotes inner peace and relaxation;
- detoxes the body as well as massages the internal organs; and
- improves metabolism and rebalances the energy lines in the body.
Often the effects and benefits to the practitioner are unexpected, profound and meaningful.