Āsana is a generic term for postures used in the practice of yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word for 'seat'. While many of the oldest mentioned asanas are seated postures for meditation, asanas may be standing, seated, arm-balances, inversions, prone and supine postures as well. There is limited uniformity in naming postures since there are many competing schools of postural yoga. Different authors or schools of yoga may have different names for the same asana while many asanas have multiple names among different practitioners.
The ideal time to start these asanas is in the morning. Morning times are quiet and conducive to perform asanas. The most important thing to bear in mind is to be aware or conscious of what one is doing during the asana practice. Inattention during the practice does not give favorable results. The aim is to observe, recognize and control bodily movements. Yoga is one of the best means to understand the nature of the mind, body language and above all, self-study.
Asanas are 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. A regular routine should be adhered to, while following asana practice. While doing the asanas, one should be conscious of the stretch in the limbs and be aware of the flexibility of the joints. A general yoga routine should commence with padmasana, a sitting posture suitable for meditation. Apart from being conscious of bodily movements, one should start to observe breathing, heartbeat and the tension in the muscles. One must be able to distinguish the different states of tension, relaxation and other sensations in the body.
The main emphasis of these asanas is, to assume a posture slowly, smoothly, and to be aware of the feelings that the posture helps to develop. The posture should be executed in a slow and controlled manner. Then focus should be on breathing. Controlled breathing helps to gain conscious control over bodily functions. Then one should relax into the posture. Relaxation is an important aspect in yoga practice.
One should mentally tune oneself into yoga postures or visualize the posture one is going to practice. All the muscles must be in a relaxed position from the start to the final position, and practicing yoga makes one feel good. They should be executed in a slow, harmonious and continuous manner. To achieve a perfect posture should not be the aim, but rather one should have a non-striving attitude. Observation and concentration play a vital role. Introspection of one’s own thoughts and feelings to play a significant role. When thoughts invade the mind, they should be gently pushed away and attention should be gathered gently. Each yoga posture, which falls into phases, manifests itself in synchrony.
One must listen to the body and should not stretch oneself beyond one’s capacity. Always do it in a relaxed and calm manner. The essence of yoga is to transform life into a healthy one. It changes and normalizes the incorrect pattern of living. Yoga re-energizes the mind and body.
Disclaimer For Yoga Exercise:
The yoga exercises depicted are only for the understanding of the asanas or exercise. Please do not attempt to practise these without proper guidance from a trained Yoga instructor as these exercises can cause physical disability when done incorrectly.