It's Yoga Sunday again, and this week I thought I'd explain a bit about the most popular of the 8 Limbs of Yoga in today's world -- asana. Asana means "posture" or "seat" in Sanskrit. The physical postures and movement practice are yoga asana. Nowadays almost every yoga class at every yoga studio is devoted to asana. But Asana is only 1 of the 8 Limbs of Yoga!
If we look back at the Yoga Sutras, the ancient yogic texts, we don't find descriptions of poses or very much information at all! That all came later. One of the only guidelines we find in the Sutras is the single sentence - "Sthira Sukham Asanam." which translates to "Seat should be steady and light." So really, the only description of a yoga posture in the ancient texts is about a seated meditation posture. Remember, meditation is really important! Scholars believe that the sequence of asana we practice nowadays originated as a means to stretch the body and prepare it to sit more comfortably ("steady and light") in meditation. That is the true purpose of yoga asana.
There are many other benefits, of course, but if you find yourself approaching your asana practice feeling competitive about it "not good enough" at challenging poses, remember that the classical purpose of moving this way is really so you can sit down and meditate!
We love a good invigorating yoga asana practice for many reasons, and Carrie is teaching 2 public classes this week at Yoga Revolution Flagstaff.
Friday at 2:30pm - Flow 60 minute
Friday at 6pm - Funky Friday 90 minute flow
Private classes in Northern Arizona and Skype classes are also available! Get in touch!