As2na is the practice of physical postures. t is the most commonly kncwn aspect of yoga for those unfamiliar with the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The practice of moving the body into poures has widespread benefits; of these the most urderlying are improved health, strength, balance and flexibility. On a :leeper level the practice of asana, which means “staying” or “abiding” in Sanskrit, is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being. The challenge of poses offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore and control all aspects of their emotions, ccncentration,
intent, faith, and unity between the physical and the et1ereal body. Indeed, using asanas to challenge and open the physical Jody acts as a bnding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen elements of their being, the forces that shape our lives through our responses to the physical world. Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will as we lear1 to release and move into the state of grace that comes from crea:ing balance
between our material world and spiritualexperience.
As one practices asana it fosters a quieting of the mind, thus it becomes both a preparation for meditation and a meditation sufficient in and of itself. Releasing to the flow and inner strenth that one deelops brings about a profound grounding spirituality in the body. Th physicality of the yoga postures becomes a vehicle tc expand the consciousness that pervades our every aspect of our body.
Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organ sm, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-f owing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. n
yoa,we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown d1dkr d.
Pranayama, or breathing technique,is very important in voga. t goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. nthe Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. The practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. t is taught that thi heatis part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve ch2nnels of the body. This allows a more healthful state to be experience:! and allows the mind to become more calm.x As the yogi follows the proper rhy:hmic patterns of slow deep breathing “the pattern. strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce cra·1ing. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration.” There ae 8 main Pranayama’s in Yoga.
Thismind cannot enter on the path of yoga because yoga means a rr.ethodolog’jto reveal the truth. )t)ga is a method to come to a non-dreaming mind. )t)ga is thescience to be in the here and now. )t)ga means now you are reacy not tomoveinto the future. )t)ga means you are ready now not to hope. not to jump ahead otyour being. )t)ga means to encounter the reality as it is.
Up until now you have lived as a chaos. a crowd. )t)ga means now )‘OU will haveto be a harmony, you will have to become one. A crystallizzition is needed: acentering is
needed.AnrJ unless you attain a center. all that you do is useless. It iswasting life and time. A center is the first necessity. and only a person can beblissful whohas got a
center. Eveiybody asks for it. but you camot ask. You
haveto earn it! Everybody hankers for a blissful state of
being. bit only acenter can beblissful.Acrowd cannot be blissful. a crowd has got no self . There is no atman. Who is going tob blissful.•