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.

SanskritEnglishClassification
अधोमुखश्वानासनDownward-Facing Dog PoseStanding Asana
अधोमुखवृक्षासनDownward-Facing Tree (Full Arm Balance)Upside down Asana
आकर्णधनुरासनBow posture up to earLying down Asana
अनन्तासनAnanta’s pose. Ananta was a beast that would transport lord VishnuLying down Asana
अञ्जनेयरासनHonorable Pose, Crescent Moon, Crescent LungeStanding asana
अर्धचन्द्रासनHalf moonStanding asana
अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासनHalf lord of the fishes poseSitting Asana
अर्धनावासनHalf boat postureLying down Asana
बद्धकोणसनBound angleSitting asana
बकासनCraneSitting Asana
बालासनChild’s PoseSitting Asana
भरद्वाजासनBharadvaja’s twistSitting Asana
भेकासनFrogLying down Asana
भुजङ्गासनCobraLying down Asana
भुजपीडासनArm-pressing postureSitting Asana
चतुरङ्गदण्डासनFour-Limbed StaffLying down Asana
दण्डासनStaff poseSitting asana
धनुरासनBowLying down Asana
द्विपदविपरीतदन्डासनTwo-Legged Inverted Staff PoseLying down Asana
एकपादकौन्दिन्यासनTwisted one legged arm balance / Koundiya was the name of a sageLying down Asana
एकपादराजकपोतासनOne-Legged King PigeonSitting asana
एकपादशीर्षासनOne legged supported head balanceUpside down asana
गर्भासनFetusSitting asana
गरुडासनEagle poseStanding asana
गोमुखासनCow faced poseSitting asana
हलासनPloughUpside down asana
हनुमनासनMonkey PoseSitting asana
जानुशीर्षासनHead-to-Knee Forward BendSitting asana
कपोतासनEar-pressingUpside down asana
कुक्कुटासनCockerelSitting asana
कूर्मासनTortoiseSitting asana
मकरासनCrocodileLying asana
मत्स्यासनFishSitting asana
मत्स्येन्द्रासनLord of the FishesSitting asana
मयूरासनPeacockLying asana
मुक्तहस्तशीर्षासनHead standUpside down asana
नटराजासनDancer or Lord of the DanceStanding asana
नावासनBoatSitting asana
निरालम्बसर्वाङ्गासनUnsupported shoulder standUpside down asana
पादहस्तासनStanding Forward BendStanding asana
पद्मासनLotusSitting asana
परिपूर्णनावासनFull BoatLying down asana
परिवृत्तपार्श्वकोणासनRevolved Side AngleStanding asana
परिवृत्तत्रिकोणासनRevolved TriangleStanding asana
पर्यङ्कासनCouch PoseSitting asana
पाशासनNooseSitting asana
पश्चिमोत्तानासनExtension of the posterior (western) part of the bodySitting asana
प्रसारितपादोत्तानासनWide Stance Forward BendStanding asana
कपोतासनKing PigeonLying down asana
शलभासनLocustLying down asana
सर्वाङ्गासनShoulder StandUpside down asana
शीर्षासनSupported HeadstandUpside down asana
समकोणासनStraight angleStanding asana
समस्थितिःEqual StandingStanding asana
शसांगासनाRabbitSitting asana
शवासनCorpse PoseLying down asana
सेतुबन्धसनBridge PoseLying down asana
सेतुबन्धसर्वाङ्गासनShoulder supported BridgeLying down asana
सिद्धासनSiddhi’s PoseSitting asana
सिंहासनLionSitting asana
सुखासनAuspicious (Easy) PoseSitting asana
सुप्तभदकोणासनReclining Bound AngleLying down asana
सुप्तकोणासनAngleLying down asana
सुप्तवज्रासनThunderboltSitting asana
सुप्तवीरासनReclining HeroSitting asana
स्वस्तिकासनCross PoseSitting asana
ताडासनMountain PoseStanding asana
त्रिकोणासनTriangleStanding asana
तुलासनBalance postureSitting asana
चक्रासनUpwards-facing bowLying down asana
ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासनUpward-Facing DogLying down asana
उष्ठासनCamelSitting asana
उत्कटासनAwkward Pose/Powerful poseStanding asana
उत्तानासनStanding Forward BendStanding asana
उत्थितहस्तपादाङ्गुष्ठासनStanding Big Toe HoldStanding asana
उत्थितपार्श्वकोणासनExtended Side AngleStanding asana
वज्रासनThunderboltSitting asana
वसिष्ठासनVasista’s pose/Vasista is the name of a sageLying down asana
वातायनासनHorseStanding asana
विपरीतकरणिLegs-up-the-WallUpside down asana
वीरभद्रासनWarrior IStanding asana
वीरभद्रासन IIWarrior IIStanding asana
वीरभद्रासन IIIWarrior IIIStanding asana
वीरासनHeroSitting asana
वृक्षासनTreeStanding asana
वृश्चिकासनscorpionSitting 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
AsanaCounter Asana
UttanpadasanPawanmuktasan
ChakrasanPashchimottanasan
MayurasanUshtrasan
PashchimottanasanDhanurasana
HalasanMatsyasan
MatsyasanSarvangasan
ShirshasanTadasan
VajrasanSuptvajrasan

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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