Preparation for asana
Asana are the common positions people stretch into during yoga classes. Beginners are advised to prepare the body correctly via systematic steps before undertaking more strenuous asana (for numerous reasons besides health & safety). This is done by:
- loosening the joints / limbs & muscles; removing digestive / abdominal ailments
- unblocking neuro-muscular tension in the spine & reproductive / pelvic area.
Eventually over a period of months, even years, the entire psycho-physiological structure is toned & then prepared for more challenging asana.
Progress in asana
Intermediate / advanced asana can be physically demanding (such as those taught in the Sivananda, Iynegar & other traditions); they have a more powerful & invigorating effect on the body & mind. It is essential to respect this & prepare correctly or these asana themselves can become detrimental to one’s health, as opposed to beneficial & holistic.
Benefits of asana
Dynamic asana (involving energetic movement) have effects on the body similar to exercise such as:
- increased strength / flexibility; releasing energy blocks & removing stagnant waste
- strengthening lungs / digestion & improved circulation / excretory systems.
Static asana (little or no movement with posture held in one position) ensure a more subtle but powerful effect on the body & mind:
- tone muscles / joints; gently massage internal organs & harmonise gland secretion
- relax the nervous system throughout the body, reducing stress & improving immunity.
Asana work similarly to Acupressure / Shiatsu / Thai Massage by stimulating various pressure points in the body, blockages within the nadis (meridians) are then gradually released.
“Yogasana have often been thought of as a form of exercise. They are not exercises but techniques which place the physical body in positions that cultivate awareness, relaxation, concentration and meditation. Part of this process is the development of good physical health by stretching, massaging and stimulating the pranic channels and internal organs, so that asana is complementary to exercise.” – Swami Satyananda