Hathasya prathamaangatvaadaasanam poorvamuchyate. Kuryaattadaasanam sthairyamaarogyam chaangalaaghavam.
"Prior to everything, asana is spoken of as the first part of Hatha Yoga. Having done asana, one attains steadiness of body and mind, freedom from disease and lightness of the limb."
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The word Asana in Raja Yoga refers to a sitting position while the word has a wider meaning in Hatha Yoga. In Hatha Yoga the asanas refers to postures, which are the main focus in the preparation of the body for meditation. The Hatha yogis will use the practice and techniques of the asanas to find control over their bodies, which will allow them access to a higher state of awareness.
There are various types of asanas and they all serve different purposes and benefits. When practicing asanas one should always bear in mind that the physical capacity differs from body to body and one should always practice with respect to avoid getting hurt or to force oneself into bad habits. It’s easy to feed the ego by only focusing on the difficulty and levels of the asanas, however by only practicing the basic asanas (read more about the basic asanas in next week’s teaching) one will gain all the necessary benefits to live a healthy life.
BENEFITS BY PRACTICING ASANAS:
• flexibility and strength
• eliminates toxin from the body
• improves the body posture and breathing
• aligns the skeletal system
• enhanced digestion
• better circulation
• relaxes the nervous system
• improves the immunity system
Practice your asanas to serve a higher purpose and dedicate your practice to something greater than yourself, and the benefits will come!
"My body is my altar, and my postures are the prayers" - B.K.S. Iyengar