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Thread: Yoga Study
12-21-2009, 11:42 PM #1NιѕнyGuest
Introduction to Yogasana In the yogic scriptures it is said that there were originally 8,400,000 asanas which represent the 8,400,000 incarnations every individual must pass through before attaining liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Down the ages the great rishis and yogis modified and reduced the number of asanas to the few hundred known today. Of these hundred, only the eighty-four most useful.
Asana a state of being in which one can remain physically and mentally steady, calm, quiet and comfortable. It is practiced to develop the practitioner's ability to sit comfortably in one position for an extended length of time.
Asanas are specific body positions which open the energy channels and psychic centers. They are tools to higher awareness and provide the stable foundation for our exploration of the body, breath, mind and beyond. Having done asana, one attains steadiness of body and mind, freedom from disease and lightness of the limbs
Pranayams It is a traditional science which teaches us how to regulate our breath according to the necessity of the activity.
Pran – life – breath – bio-energy – life force
Bio-energy comes from nature. Without it we can not breath.
Life force – without this no bio-energy.
Ayam – control – regulate – cut off. All the six make pranayam.
Mudra Mud – delight or pleasure and dra – means to draw forth. Mudra means a gesture or an attitude. It is psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gestures or attitudes. Yogis have experienced mudras as attitudes of energy flow, intended to link individual pranic force with universal or cosmic force. They alter mood, attitude and perception which deepen awareness and concentration.
Animal Postures Many of the yogasanas are named after and reflect then movements of animals. Through observation the rishis understood how animals live in harmony with their environment and with their own bodies. For example by imitating the rabbit or hare in shashankasana they could influence the flow of adrenaline responsible for the 'fight or flight' mechanism. The rishis found they could maintain health and meet the challenges of nature for themselves.
Yogasana and Prana Prana, vital energy, which corresponds to ki or chi in Chinese medicine, pervades the whole body, following flow patterns, called nadis, which are responsible for maintaining all individual cellular activity. Stiffness of the body is due to blocked prana and a subsequent accumulation of toxins. When prana begins to flow the toxins are removed from the system ensuring the health of the whole body. Postures which seemed impossible become easy to perform and steadiness and grace of movement develop.
Yogasanas and the Body-Mind Connection The mind and body are not separate entities although there is a tendency to think so. The practice of asana integrates and harmonizes the two. Both the body and mind harbor tensions or knots. Every mental knot has a corresponding physical and muscular knot.
The aim of asana is to release these knots. They release mental tensions by dealing with them on the physical level, through the body to the mind. For example, emotional tensions and suppression can tighten up and block the smooth functioning of the lungs, diaphragm and breathing process, contributing to an illness in the form of asthma.
Muscular knots can occur anywhere in the body: tightness of the neck as cervical spondylitis. Regular practice of asana maintains the physical body in an optimum condition and promotes health even in an unhealthy body. The dormant energy potential is released and experienced as increased confidence in all areas of life.
Yogasana and Exercise Yogasana have often been thought as a form of exercise. They are not exercises but techniques which place the physical body in positions that cultivate awareness, relaxation, concentration and meditation.
Although asana is not exercise it is complementary to it. Exercise imposes a beneficial stress on the body. Without it the muscles waste and the bones become weak. When yogasanas are performed, the respiration and metabolic rates slow down, the consumption of oxygen and the body temperature drop. During exercise however, the breath and metabolism speed up, oxygen consumption rises, and the body gets hot. Asanas are designed to have specific effects on the glands and internal organs and to alter electrochemical activity in the nervous system.
Breathing: always breathe through the nose unless specific instructions are given to the contrary. Try to coordinate the breath with the asana practice.
Awareness : this is as essential to the practice of asana as it is to all yoga practices. It influences, integrates and harmonizes the physical, pranic, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual levels. They have profound effects at every level of being if they are combined with awareness.
Relaxation: shavasna may be performed at any point during asana practice, especially when feeling physically or mentally tired. It should also be practiced on completion of the asana program.
Time of practice: asana may be practiced at any time of day except after meals. The best time is in the morning. At this time, the atmosphere is pure and quite, the activities of the stomach and intestines have stopped, the mind has no deep impressions on the conscious level and it is empty of thoughts in preparation for the long day ahead. Two hours around sunset is also a favorable time.
Place of practice: practice in a well-ventilated room where it is calm and quiet. Asanas may also be practiced outdoors but the surroundings should be pleasant, a beautiful garden with trees and flowers. Do not practice in a strong wind, in the cold, in air that is dirty, smoky or which carries an unpleasant odor. Also here furniture, a fire or anything that prevents free fall to the ground. Neither practice under an electric fan unless it is extremely hot.
Blanket: use a folded blanket of natural material for the practices as this will act as an insulator between the body and earth. Do not use a mattress which is spongy or filled with air as this does not give sufficient support to the spine.
Clothes: wear loose, light and comfortable clothing. Before commencing remove your eyeglasses, watches and any jewellery.
Empty stomach: the stomach should be empty while doing asanas. They should not be practiced at least 3-4 hours after food.
Diet: there are no special dietary rules for asana practitioners although it is better to eat natural food and in moderation. Eat only to satisfy hunger and not so much that a feeling of heaviness or laziness occurs.
No straining: never exert undue force while doing asanas. Beginners may find their muscles stiff at first, but after several weeks of regular practice they will be surprised to find that their muscles are more supple.
Age limitations: asana may be practiced by people of all age groups, male and female.
Contra-indications: people with fractured bones or who are suffering from chronic ailments and diseases such as stomach ulcer, tuberculosis or hernia, and those recuperating from operations, should consult their doctors before commencing asanas.
Termination of asana: if there is excessive pain in any part of the body the asana should be terminated immediately and, if necessary, medical advice sought. Do not stay in an asana if discomfort is felt.
Inverted asana: do not practice any inverted asanas during menstruation or in later stages of pregnancy. This is important to ensure that the toxins do not go to the brain and cause damage, that blood does not enter the fallopian tubes.
Sunbathing: never practice asanas after along period of sunbathing as the body will be overheated.
12-22-2009, 04:42 AM #2
01-10-2016, 02:48 PM #3
- Join Date
- May 2012
Wow! This is an awesome post about yoga. Glad to come across such a detailed post. I am thinking of joining power yoga classes in Mumbai. By reading this post I have become determined to join the yoga classes soon.
02-20-2016, 01:13 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2016
Important info about yoga in short terms, nice job.