Ever noticed that most of your yoga poses end with -asana? It’s true. Most poses end with the word asana which we loosely translate to mean “pose” or “posture”.
Mountain Pose = Tadasana
Splits (or Monkey Pose) = Hanumanasana
You may have even heard a yoga instructor or two say things like, “As you move through your asanas today,” or, “Your asana practice today will include…” It seems the simplest of the limbs of yoga to understand.
Asana is the physical practice of doing yoga. Period. Check and check. You’re done!
Or…is there more?
We tend to define asana as the physical practice of yoga, and this would be a correct tendency. It is the sweaty part of yoga without a doubt. But asana is more than Downward Dogs, Plank Poses, and Chaturangas. It is the physical representation of how you have trained your mind to believe about your body and the way you exist on this planet.
The physical practice not only decreases “bat wings” and firms your bum, but it also facilitates communication between your thoughts and your body.
Imagine you are moving from a Plank Pose into a Chaturanga (a Half Pushup). You have struggled with these Chaturangas for months. You find yourself hovering, and then without warning, boom! You belly flop on the floor.
Here are two things that might happen next:
You get angry, shake your head unconsciously, and think, “why am I doing this?”
You laugh it off, and move on to the next pose thinking, “that counts!”
Depending on which path you take with your thought, your asana practice will move forward and grow over time or it will get stuck allowing for little to no change in performance. I think you can figure out which is which.
The asana limb asks that we marry the body and thought long enough to learn about our bodies. During the physical practice of yoga we learn what work we need to do with our social and personal disciplines, but it allows up the time to really sink into our bones, muscles, and skin and see what needs tending to.
We spend so much of our time looking out into the world. Yes, we need to so that we can be better neighbors in our global community, but we need to come inward and do personal upkeep in our bodies as well.
Oiling our organic machine no matter its state to keep it functioning at optimal levels is the only way we can get out into the world, give back, create, serve, and get things done.
The next time you are on your mat doing the impossible, turn into your body, witness your machine at work. BE THE MACHINE!
Did you miss the first three posts?