We saw the first limb of Ashtanga Yoga, i.e Yamas-the principles in our article “Lifestyle management through Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, part 1” and the second limb, i.e Niyamas-the rules in our article "Lifestyle management through Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, part 2"
In this article we will study the next step of the Ashtanga Yoga, “Asanas”. After understanding & practicing the Yama-Niyamas, an aspirant starts focusing on the clarity of the physical body with Asanas. In the journey of Yoga, physical body is a medium to realise the access to energies.
Sage Patanjali quotes,
“Sthira Sukham Asanam”
Sthira means steadiness or feeling grounded which goes hand in hand with consistency.
Sukham, our second word, means “in a space of ease” or ‘good’ or ‘centered’. It is contentment with what we have, also a gentleness, a kind of “effortless effort”.
Asanam is the state of grace and firmness that lead to balance.
This verse stresses on the point that the Sadhak-aspirant is said to achieve the desired posture only after his mind & body both attain a state of ease & steadiness.
When an aspirant focuses on his breath while steadily getting into the posture and is able to stay in the pose without his mind & body getting distracted, then he starts getting the real results of Asanas.
When we are participating in a marathon race, we practice for few months prior with smaller distances, strengthen our bodies and slowly reach the limit of distance of actual race. Similarly, for an aspirant who envisions to reach Samadhi-Salvation or the ultimate peace, Asanas prove to be the first building blocks towards disciplining the body and creating a rhythm within ourselves.
Nowadays, many aspirants treat Asanas as a method of achieving a flexible, toned and fit body. Though, these are initial results of practising Asanas, its long-term results are far more than these.
Sage Patanjali has propagated Asanas as a means of achieving perfect balance in one’s thoughts, words and actions. Asanas prove to be a very useful way to achieve peace of mind and clarity of thoughts, increasing over all alertness of the aspirant. They create a perfect rhythm of mind, body & heart.
They are used as therapy to cure ailments, illnesses and body issues. Asanas invigorate the Ashta Chakras – the energy centres in the body which are associated with functioning of our body systems. They make a person more focused, strong, flexible, physically fit and also ease their journey of Yoga.
Let us all embark on this blissful journey of Yoga and make our mark of the canvas of the society!
Be special, be a modern Yogi.
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