Asanas are based on the three basic human postures of standing, sitting, or lying down. But they are not a series of movements to be followed mechanically. They have a logic which must be internalized if the pose is to be practised correctly.
The Sanskrit term, asana, is sometimes translated as "pose" and sometimes as "posture". Neither translation is wholly accurate, as they do not convey the element of thought or consciousness that must inform each movement of the asana. The final pose of an asana is achieved when all the parts of the body are positioned correctly, with full awareness and intelligence.
To achieve this, you must think through the structure of the asana. Realise the fundamental points by imagining how you will adjust and arrange each part of your anatomical body, especially the limbs, in the given movements.
Then, mould the body to fit the structure of the asana, making sure that the balance between both sides of the body is perfect, until there is no undue stress on any one organ, muscle, bone, or joint.
Importance of Practising Asanas
The practice of asanas has a beneficial impact on the whole body. Asanas not only tone the muscles, tissues, ligaments, joints, and nerves, but also maintain the smooth functioning and health of all the body's systems. They relax the body and mind, allowing both to recover from fatigue or weakness, and the stress of daily life. Asanas also boost metabolism, lymphatic circulation, and hormonal secretions, and bring about a chemical balance in the body.
It is important to keep practising until you are absolutely comfortable in the final pose. It is only then that you experience the full benefits of the asana. The sage Patanjali observes in Yoga Sutra 11.47, "Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless, and the infinite being within is reached."
Source from B.K.S. Iyengar - Yoga the path to Holistic Health
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