Eight limbs of Yoga  3rd

Julie Currier

07780 861 697 

julieanncurrier@gmail.com

   Eight limbs of Yoga

3. Asana - yogasana/ posture
 
 Patanjali when he spoke of 'asana', he was not discussing the multitude of postures found for example in 'The Hatha Yoga Pradipika' (book by Swami Muktibodhananda) but of sitting in a comfortable seated position that could be maintained for duration of time to practice meditation.
 
 'Sthira sukham asanam', saya Patanjali, Chapter 2, Verse 46 - 'Adopt a seated and comfortable position'.
 
This is a challenge for all of us at the beginning; the mind may wonder; the back may ache; an itch develops; a cough or sneeze begins to brew and the need to respond is excruciatingly tantalizing and distracting. Prana is not flowing freely through the nadis - rivers of vitality (equates to the Chinese 'qui') - because the 'gunas' are disturbed (ragas, tapas, sattva) and this disturbance moves through all five 'sheaths' or koshas. 
 
 To create this free flow of prana, and travel closer towards good health, happiness, and quality of life, the practices of Hatha Yoga are beneficial:
  • asana (postures)
  • pranayama (breathing practices)
  • mudras (gestures with the hands and body
  • bandhas (locks)
  • Yoga nidra (relaxation)
  • mantras
  • controlled mind
  • diet that is conducive to all these practices i.e. a vegetarian diet - no animal meat or fish.

Over time the great richi (sages) modified these asanas to a manageable few hundred. Many of the asanas are named after animals e.g. Cobra posture (Bhujangasana), Lion's roar (Simhasana posture ). By placing the body in specific positions e.g. forward bends and shoulder stand, blood and 'prana'  can move freely to the head, stimulating the brain to initiate hormones which enhance health and wellbeing.