Yoga Basics

Asana

Asanas 0 8 limbs of yoga

Movement is the center of our world and the center of our being.  It’s what creates action and in turn produces change and growth within society. Movement within the yoga practice is referred to as Asana; it is the third petal of the eight limbs of yoga. For many people, the physical postures are their first glimpse into yoga and why this ancient practice has become one of the most popular forms of exercise.

Millions of people have found yoga through a physical fitness journey. The intricate postures, the beautiful people, and the image of what yoga is, have made a profound effect on present society.  Whether the practice was introduced at a gym, by a friend, or by purchasing a Groupon, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the relationship cultivated between yourself and the yoga practice. For yoga’s benefits to take effect it requires constant nourishment; nourishment in the form of a loving attitude, a daily commitment to move the body, to only digest pure nutrients, to shed layers that no longer serve you, and to practice wholehearted truthfulness.

Ironically, ancient yoga tradition only practiced four seated postures and all were in preparation for meditation. This is a drastic change from our modern yoga practices that are filled with creative sequences, trendy music, heated rooms, and designer yoga apparel. While the setting and context of our Asana practice has changed, the end goal has not: to be free from suffering and experience bliss.

Experience bliss – say what? Yes, that’s right. All yogis and yoginis of the world can glimpse into a world of bliss: a world that is filled with kind, generous, and like-minded people; a world where gossip and judgment are foreign; and a world where peace and love are the only answers. You might not experience this every moment BUT you will experience this within the yoga community and within yourself. The physical practice is a means to turn inward, to dim the exterior, to reconnect with our true nature, and to ultimately achieve that beautiful state of bliss.

So how do we do this? How can you or I feel the yoga high? The answer lies within the physical asana practice. Do the work and the rest will come. Make time everyday to step onto the mat, whether it’s five minutes or ninety minutes, simply drop into the moment. Allow the moment to be filled with breath and movement. Let the mind become quiet, let the skin begin to soften, let your inhibitions and fears drip away like rain falling from the sky. LET YOGA DO YOU!

A yoga practice can mean whatever it needs to be. Some days it will consist of a sweaty, heart pumping, creative sequence with inversions and backbends. Other days it will be gentle with longer holds, deeper breathing, and an airy softness to it. Regardless of the movement, the outcome will remain the same: a glimpse into bliss.

There’s that word again – bliss.

Upon first reaction, this word conjures up far-fetched images that seem impossible to experience. But that’s the beauty of yoga, bliss can have 1,00 different meanings and yet still be a state that everyone achieves. A friendship that comes from joining a yoga studio, a peaceful savasana at the end of practice, a handstand hold for five breaths, a moment where the mind is completely still, and a realization that our purpose in life is greater than it appears – this is all bliss.

With this understanding of what the yoga practice can offer, now is the time to step onto your mat. Join a local yoga studio, pair up with a friend and practice outdoors, enroll in one of the many online yoga communities, go on a yoga retreat somewhere beautiful, or simply practice in the comfort of your home. The how doesn’t matter; it’s the quality of the movements and the intention that is put forth Make a commitment to better yourself and start practicing yoga. One breath, one movement, and bliss will be around the corner shining brightly.

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