21 May Asana and the Holistic Growth
Asana is not just the external form – the hands and legs arranged and the spine bent or the abdomen compressed. In performance of the Asana there is a lot of spirit also that is included. For example there are questions like, where is one’s attention? What is the resulting state of mind? Does one feel relaxation in the muscles of the body? Is there any expansion of consciousness that occurs?
Very often one is just interested in imitating the external appearance of the Asana gathered from a book or viewed in a pictorial form or observed during a demonstration of Asana. This method of doing Asanas and feeling satisfied may be compared to the ancient statement of a donkey carrying a load of scriptural books but learning nothing from it.
There are many a self-styled yoga experts who run through a whole series of tantalizing Asanas one after the other believing that what they did was the whole of Yoga.
Yoga has to do both with discipline and rise of superior consciousness. The essence of Yogic Asanas lies in steadiness, fixity, relaxation, introversion and subjective states of expanding consciousness.
For example, if we consider an Asana like Yoga Mudra, there is a fixity of the posture accompanied by the attitude of surrender. The one who gets into the Asana is internally involved in attending to slow bending, exhalations, release of muscle tension, concentration on the point of contact of the head with the floor and the continuation of the Asana in a static repose with slow inhalation exhalations going on. When an Asana is then done, the mood is of humility, relaxation and peace.The mind is set free and consciousness expands.
Article by Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra
in Yoga and Total Health, August 1989
The monthly journal of The Yoga Institute
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