Yoga

Yoga Asana

Yoga Asana

Yoga Introduction

Yoga was developed and perfected over the centuries by philosophers and mystics in India. It is basically a method by which we increase the body’s supply of energy and remove any interference to the transmission of energy throughout the body. Yoga has specialized in this subject for thousands of years, and streamlined the methods to attain this aim. Practised for more than 5000 years, yoga is one of the oldest forms of healing therapy. 

Yoga provides one of the best means of self-improvement and attaining one’s full potential. In the advanced stages of yoga, superconscious states are attained which result in a feeling of bliss, deep peace and the emergence of psychic powers.

Yoga works on the mind and the body at the same time, as well as exploiting their interdependence. Yoga asanas (postures) and breathing deal with the physical body, but due to their effect on the brain, they also affect the mind.

Classification of yoga 

  • Raja yoga:– It is traditionally referred to as Astanga (eight-limbed) yoga. Ashtanga yoga consists of the eight limbs: The first five are called external aids to Yoga (bahiranga sadhana) and the last three levels are called internal aids to Yoga (antaranga sadhana). The eight limbs of Raja Yoga are :- Yama, niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.
  • Hatha yoga:– It consists of six limbs focused on attaining samādhi. In this scheme, the six limbs of hatha yoga are defined as asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samādhi. It includes disciplines, postures (asana), purification procedures (shatkriya), gestures (mudra), breathing (pranayama), and meditation. 

 

Eight Limbs of Yoga

  • Yama (Abstentions):
    • Ahimsa (non-injury),
    • Satya (truth),
    • Asetya (non-stealing),
    • Brahmacharya (chastity),
    • Apragraha (non-greed)
  • Niyama (Moral Observations):
    • Susha (purity),
    • Santosha (contentment),
    • Tapas (austerity),
    • Svadhaya (study of the scriptures),
    • Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to God)
  • Asana: Discipline of the body: rules and postures to keep it disease-free and for preserving vital energy.
  • Pranayama: control of vital energy through breath work. Beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conducive to the concentration of the mind.
  • Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses from their external objects.
  • Dharana: concentration of the mind upon a physical object, such as a flame of a lamp, the midpoint of the eyebrows, or the image of a deity.
  • Dhyana: Meditation. Undisturbed flow of thought around the object of meditation (pratyayaikatanata). The act of meditation and the object of meditation remain distinct and separate.
  • Samadhi: Enlightenment, union with the Divine. There is no distinction between act of meditation and the object of meditation.

 

Asanas

Treatment by asanas comes under the treatment by air element. It can be said that Nature cure is not complete without treatment by Yogic Asanas.

The Asanas are yoga postures. Asana is a Sanskrit word, meaning sitting down. Traditionally asanas are positions which are held still for a certain amount of time – from a few seconds to a few hours. Yoga first originated in India. Maharishi Patanjali defines asana as “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”. Besides being held steadily they should also be held comfortably. No pain should be experienced while holding the posture or in the hours or days that follow.

Types of Asanas

There are four basic types of asanas, theses are as follows:-

1. Asanas which are done while standing

2. Asanas which are done while sitting

3. Asanas which are done while lying in the ground

4. Asanas which are done while upside down.

 

Number of Asanas

The shastras tell us of 84 lakhs asanas. The tradition says that there are 84 lakhs species in the world and there is one asana for each, capturing the life experience and qualities of each species in a relaxing position. Obviously nobody could learn, and practise regularly, all of them. Therefore the hatha yoga texts present us with 84 more important asanas.

Sanskrit English Classification
अधोमुखश्वानासन Downward-Facing Dog Pose Standing Asana
अधोमुखवृक्षासन Downward-Facing Tree (Full Arm Balance) Upside down Asana
आकर्णधनुरासन Bow posture up to ear Lying down Asana
अनन्तासन Ananta’s pose. Ananta was a beast that would transport lord Vishnu Lying down Asana
अञ्जनेयरासन Honorable Pose, Crescent Moon, Crescent Lunge Standing asana
अर्धचन्द्रासन Half moon Standing asana
अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासन Half lord of the fishes pose Sitting Asana
अर्धनावासन Half boat posture Lying down Asana
बद्धकोणसन Bound angle Sitting asana
बकासन Crane Sitting Asana
बालासन Child’s Pose Sitting Asana
भरद्वाजासन Bharadvaja’s twist Sitting Asana
भेकासन Frog Lying down Asana
भुजङ्गासन Cobra Lying down Asana
भुजपीडासन Arm-pressing posture Sitting Asana
चतुरङ्गदण्डासन Four-Limbed Staff Lying down Asana
दण्डासन Staff pose Sitting asana
धनुरासन Bow Lying down Asana
द्विपदविपरीतदन्डासन Two-Legged Inverted Staff Pose Lying down Asana
एकपादकौन्दिन्यासन Twisted one legged arm balance / Koundiya was the name of a sage Lying down Asana
एकपादराजकपोतासन One-Legged King Pigeon Sitting asana
एकपादशीर्षासन One legged supported head balance Upside down asana
गर्भासन Fetus Sitting asana
गरुडासन Eagle pose Standing asana
गोमुखासन Cow faced pose Sitting asana
हलासन Plough Upside down asana
हनुमनासन Monkey Pose Sitting asana
जानुशीर्षासन Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Sitting asana
कपोतासन Ear-pressing Upside down asana
कुक्कुटासन Cockerel Sitting asana
कूर्मासन Tortoise Sitting asana
मकरासन Crocodile Lying asana
मत्स्यासन Fish Sitting asana
मत्स्येन्द्रासन Lord of the Fishes Sitting asana
मयूरासन Peacock Lying asana
मुक्तहस्तशीर्षासन Head stand Upside down asana
नटराजासन Dancer or Lord of the Dance Standing asana
नावासन Boat Sitting asana
निरालम्बसर्वाङ्गासन Unsupported shoulder stand Upside down asana
पादहस्तासन Standing Forward Bend Standing asana
पद्मासन Lotus Sitting asana
परिपूर्णनावासन Full Boat Lying down asana
परिवृत्तपार्श्वकोणासन Revolved Side Angle Standing asana
परिवृत्तत्रिकोणासन Revolved Triangle Standing asana
पर्यङ्कासन Couch Pose Sitting asana
पाशासन Noose Sitting asana
पश्चिमोत्तानासन Extension of the posterior (western) part of the body Sitting asana
प्रसारितपादोत्तानासन Wide Stance Forward Bend Standing asana
कपोतासन King Pigeon Lying down asana
शलभासन Locust Lying down asana
सर्वाङ्गासन Shoulder Stand Upside down asana
शीर्षासन Supported Headstand Upside down asana
समकोणासन Straight angle Standing asana
समस्थितिः Equal Standing Standing asana
शसांगासना Rabbit Sitting asana
शवासन Corpse Pose Lying down asana
सेतुबन्धसन Bridge Pose Lying down asana
सेतुबन्धसर्वाङ्गासन Shoulder supported Bridge Lying down asana
सिद्धासन Siddhi’s Pose Sitting asana
सिंहासन Lion Sitting asana
सुखासन Auspicious (Easy) Pose Sitting asana
सुप्तभदकोणासन Reclining Bound Angle Lying down asana
सुप्तकोणासन Angle Lying down asana
सुप्तवज्रासन Thunderbolt Sitting asana
सुप्तवीरासन Reclining Hero Sitting asana
स्वस्तिकासन Cross Pose Sitting asana
ताडासन Mountain Pose Standing asana
त्रिकोणासन Triangle Standing asana
तुलासन Balance posture Sitting asana
चक्रासन Upwards-facing bow Lying down asana
ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासन Upward-Facing Dog Lying down asana
उष्ठासन Camel Sitting asana
उत्कटासन Awkward Pose/Powerful pose Standing asana
उत्तानासन Standing Forward Bend Standing asana
उत्थितहस्तपादाङ्गुष्ठासन Standing Big Toe Hold Standing asana
उत्थितपार्श्वकोणासन Extended Side Angle Standing asana
वज्रासन Thunderbolt Sitting asana
वसिष्ठासन Vasista’s pose/Vasista is the name of a sage Lying down asana
वातायनासन Horse Standing asana
विपरीतकरणि Legs-up-the-Wall Upside down asana
वीरभद्रासन Warrior I Standing asana
वीरभद्रासन II Warrior II Standing asana
वीरभद्रासन III Warrior III Standing asana
वीरासन Hero Sitting asana
वृक्षासन Tree Standing asana
वृश्चिकासन scorpion Sitting asana

 

Build Sequence 

Build a proper sequence of yoga positions or yoga poses for yourself depending on various factors like health condition, age, physical problems, weight,application. Below is the list of asanas which has to be followed by a particular asana.

Asana which has to be followed by a particular asana
Asana Counter Asana
Uttanpadasan Pawanmuktasan
Chakrasan Pashchimottanasan
Mayurasan Ushtrasan
Pashchimottanasan Dhanurasana
Halasan Matsyasan
Matsyasan Sarvangasan
Shirshasan Tadasan
Vajrasan Suptvajrasan

General practice guidelines 

  • Asanas should be done for at least 15 mins and at the most for 90 mins long and done 1-6 times per week, depending on your schedule, goals and ability.  Practising more frequently with shorter practice times will yield greater results that practising less frequently with longer practice times.
  • The best time for Asanas  is early morning. It can also be done in the evening.
  • Yoga Asanas should be done after going to toilet, cleaning the teeth and mouth and taking bath. It should be done on empty stomach.
  • Asanas can be done after prayer or meditation.
  • In winter and on mountains one may do Asanas in the sun.
  • While doing Asanas strong wind should not be felt on the body.
  • Asanas may be done 4-5 hrs after meals or 2 hrs after light food.
  • Asanas should be done for the duration it can be done easily. One can judge the time given to an Asana by counting. Its time may be increased by counting more numbers. There are three ways to increase the intensity of your practice: one, hold postures for longer and longer periods of time; two, slowly build your practice up to more advanced and challenging postures; three, move quickly between postures.
  • Those who are suffering from heart ailments or blood pressure, they should not do Asanas without consulting a doctor.
  • Women should not do mayurasana or siddhasana.
  • Yoga Asanas should always be performed in a clean environment and one should be peaceful and happy while doing Asanas.
  • Once a week one should fast or live on fruits while doing Asanas.
  • After doing Asanas one should do shavasana.
  • One should pay attention to the sequence of Asanas.
  • One should not exert while doing any Asana, it may be harmful.
  • After 2 or 3 Asanas one should take rest so that blood circulation may remain pure.
  • After doing Asanas one should take rest for half an hour and go for urination. Urination removes impurities from the body. Then only one should take milk and fruits.
  • Those who are suffering from colitis, they should not do those Asanas in which the spinal column is bent backward. One should not do Shirshasana if his eyes are red.
  • Loose, comfortable clothing work best. Its important to wear something that will not restrict your movement.
  • Do not wear spectacles when you do Asanas. They may be broken or they will injure your eyes.
  • Please read the contraindications for each posture before doing it. Menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure and injuries to the knees, shoulders, and neck are all conditions where certain postures must be avoided and special care must be taken in all postures. If you have any medical condition, you should check with your health care professional before starting a yoga practice.
  • One should get the habit of going to bed by 10:00 or 10:30 PM and getting up at 04:00 AM.

 

Benefits of Asanas

  1. By doing asanas the spinal column becomes flexible and remains in proper shape.  A person who does asanas does not become old soon.
  2. Because of asanas the glands are purified, that is, all foreign matter is removed from them, and they function effectively in fighting diseases. A person never falls ill when he does asanas and has a long life.
  3. The lungs remain alive and the blood is purified. Mind becomes calm and will power increases.
  4. The blood vessels are not hardened by doing asanas and heart remains strong.
  5. Asanas strengthen the muscles. A weak person becomes strong by doing asanas while a fat person becomes slim.
  6. Asanas helps in the waking of kundalini in the spinal column. The mind remains fresh and one becomes energetic.
  7. Asanas strengthen the digestive system and stomach and intestines are completely cleaned.
  8. Asanas can be done in a simple manner, without much expense or outside help.

 

 

 

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