Did you know that most of us are detached from our bodies? Take a second to think about that. It sounds ironic, doesn’t it? If our body and mind are separate entities, we’d be – well – six-feet under. But in reality, the majority of us are used to nurturing our minds and bodies separately. Through yoga asanas, the synchronization between the physical and psychological self leads to a well-balanced life.
The word asana means “pose” or “posture.” In its literal translation, it means “comfortable seat.” Early discoveries determined that posture is capable of expanding consciousness. Through an effective way of mastering yoga asanas, a person can remain “comfortably seated” regardless of where they find themselves.
Come to think of it, the average person isn’t aware of how many breaths they take, or notice how they sit. Whether you fold your legs while you sit, or lay on your stomach to unwind, you are determining your psychological reactions. Neat, huh?
General theories on the dichotomy between the physical and psychological self have often dictated that thoughts influence experience. Yet those who practice yoga have come to understand and accept postural influences on the body.
This stems from the belief that every aspect of our bodies is infused with consciousness. Asana, therefore, seeks to develop deep interior awareness and harmonize the body and mind. The practice of asana aims to focus the mind’s attention in the body so that we are able to perceive what our bodies have to tell us. The body leads us to a life of authenticity, where our perceptions are guided by our sensations.
This forces us to become more attuned to our physical and psychological sensations. This unification is the key to a balanced life – both as an individual, and a contributor.
Yoga asanas have come a long way. Originally there was only one pose for prolonged meditation. Today, there are hundreds. Yoga poses are said to open the “nadis,” or energy channels, as well as the “chakras,”which are the psychic centres of the mind.
Below is a list of some popular yoga asanas, along with their Sanskrit names:
1.) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
2.) Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
3.) Half lord of the fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Half-lord-of-fishes-pose by mryoga is licensed under CC BY 3.0
4.) Half-camel pose (Ardha ustrasana)
5.) Bound Hands Rising Standing Locust Pose (Baddha Hasta Utthita Sthiti Shalabhasana)
6.) Bound Pose Dedicated to Koormamuni (Baddha Pada Koormamunyasana)
7.) Reclined Abdominal Lift Eagle Pose (Supta Jathara Garudasana)
8.) Sun Salutation Pose (Surya Namaskarasana)
9.) Mountain Pose with Hands in Prayer (Tadasana Namaskara)
10.) Shiva’s Cycle of Life Dance Pose (Tandavasana)
Don’t expect to master these poses over night. In fact, it takes weeks to months (even years) of practice to be able to do some of the most intricate yoga asanas. It doesn’t mean that you won’t reap the benefits of your attempts. Yoga asanas put you in tune with your physical and mental self, allowing for deep reflection. This is the biggest goal of asanas.
The act of being aware of your body and knowing what causes reactions, feelings, and sensations will lead to ultimate liberation.