Updated: Nov 12, 2022
You have probably heared this word before. Asana.
It is mostly translated into body posture. But to really understand the magic of Asana, we need to look a little deeper, into its original meaning.
So originally Asana translates into seated posture and was referred to as the correct way to sit in meditation. Because back in the days Asanas as we use them now where only practiced in preparation for long meditation. So from the correct way to sit they turned into the practice that will help the body to sit still and erect in meditation, which is the practice of body postures as we know it now.
But this means that Asanas are practiced not only to be able to sit still and up right but also to quieten the mind and to help the energies to flow in the centre of the spiritual being, the spine, as it is needed for deep meditation. So body postures do have the aspect of physical body work but more importantly they also carry aspects of energetic and mental work.
And this is where the magic meets the Asana. When we start to work not only with the body in yoga but also with the mind and our energies, Asana turns into a practice that unites three important aspects that will help us to heal and to establish great ease and concentration in life.
Physical. Mental. Energetic.
The physical practice is the one you are most likely to know. You practice yoga, you move from one Asana to the next or hold them for a while. You know how your body feels in these asanas, you know which ones feel easy to your body and which ones are hard work and in which you made progress.
But now…Have you ever observes your mind while working through and in body postures? Do you know what thoughts and emotions appear in what position and have you held an asana long enough to be able to quieten your mind here and release whatever comes up?
This aspect of asanas is a little more unlikely to be taught in general yoga classes. Because to be able to work with your mind in body postures, you need to have a routine that is consistent and contains mostly long held asanas and that is easier to find in your personal practice then in classes.
Non the less, we can gain great growth on the mental level here. Because if we manage to let go of resistance and negative feelings in a chellenging Asana then we open up for what it can teach us. Like in Cobra pose with gently bend arms. Its so hard to hold for long but if we manage to do so and quieten our mind, our "suffering" will turn into willpower and motivation. Our mind strengthens and turns shaddow into light.
And then the energetic level, the level that for most people is placed in the realms of magic and mystics. Well…If you are here now, still reading this, then I think you have come across energies and know that you have an energetic body, with chakras etc… (Don’t worry if not, there will very certainly be a blog post about that at some point, or if you cant wait, have a look on my insta feed, there you will find detailed explanations)
So the chakras and the energy body, your whole energetic being, strive towards balance. Unfortunately, this balance is not naturally given to most of us. So we practice asanas to achieve it. Every asana works with a certain or a few chakras and thus the energy body. For example your classic camel pose is an asana that works with the heart chakra and the throat chakra, aktivates and balances their energies.
So if we manage to combine these three aspects of Asana in our practice, great heling and deep concentration will find their way into our lives.