What is Asana?
Asana doesn’t refer to the ability to perform a hand stand or a picturesque impressive backbend, the root of the word Asana means comfortable ‘seat’ – specifically the seat you would take for the practice of meditation. The most important posture is in fact “sthira sukham asanam” – meaning, ‘a posture the practitioner can hold comfortably and motionlessness’
Because asana means “seat” in Sanskrit, experts believe that the first yoga asanas were simple seated positions that were held for long periods of time in order to facilitate meditation.
As yoga developed and was influenced by other cultures, different asanas evolved so as to allow yoga practitioners to challenge themselves mentally, physically and spiritually.
WHY DO WE PRACTICE ASANA?
Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, Asana practice works the physical body so the mind has a healthy and peaceful place to reside. Yogasanas are different ways to shape our body, when we step into a pose we are creating a certain flow of energy. we call it “prana pumps.” Prana is awareness, and often equated with “energy” of life force.” Each shape has a different effect on our prana, and postures can be sequenced in a multitude ways to support the practitioner to concentrate and find a place of blissful connection. No matter how much we do asana practice. The body will not reach its optimum state of being without the support of the mind.
ORIGINS OF ASANA NAMES
The names of many classic asanas come from the animals, Hindu gods, religious figures, or mythological characters, through an ancient Indian writings. One of the first things people realize about Sanskrit name is when they begin to know about it, since Sanskrit is not written with the same characters as English, there are many ways to spell name. You might see different forms of spellings depending on who wrote it, such as SAVASANA versus SHAVASANA or DANURASANA versus DHANURASANA. So there’s no right or wrong version but it can get confusing when seeing a spelling other than the one you’re used to. Try to figure out the pronunciations and common spelling differences, most have a name that’s most commonly used and when in doubt you can always just describe it in English.
WHY DO SOME POSES HAVE MORE THAN ONE NAME?
There are a common name for each yoga pose, still we find different names for the same pose, and so from where did it come? Since there are many different yoga schools and different levels for the students, the teacher usually will try to apply a memorable name to be easier for the student. –as example the pose we call it “downward facing dog” has another name “ V shape pose or mountain pose” which make it easier for everyone to remember the pose according to how it shapes the body
BENEFITS OF ASANA PRACTICES
Asana practice reinforces the connection between the mind and the body, and we can use the asana as a body tool for getting into the present moment. The body is always in the present moment, regardless where the mind wanders.
Tuning into the body gives us a chance to tune into the moment, to quiet the mind, to use the breath and remind us of the alignment between the body and the mind. When we practice asana, we don’t just exercise the body on its own while engaging the mind elsewhere. Instead we are moving as one unified whole, trying to center the mind.
Therefore the most important alignment is not about your physical body, but how you experience yourself in the asana and what the asana do for your inner alignment. To find the balance between healthy challenge and comfort zone in order for us to grow
Asana practice is not about how you look, but how you feel.