Asana, a comfortable and steady state

In yoga sutra 2.46 says ~sthira sukham asanam.

Asana is to get steady and comfortable through regulated breathing rhythm. Staying motionless with regular breathing in a pose will lead to a still and quiet mind easing any pain or suffering.

Asanas helps to cleanse and polish the outer cover that protects our soul and that is our physical body. Our soul resides in it. Therefore, keeping the cover strong and immunized against the external environments is crucial. Holding a comfortable stance in an asana frees the mind from creating any clutters and “noises”, especially when we are in some form of discomfort. When the mind is clear, one will realize the true intention of its being in this world. This is why staying STILL is key! Every tiny movement by the body, excluding the movement of breathing affects your journey to finding your sole purpose in this life.

Now, we know that asana are poses or acts that has to be steady and comfortable. lets look at some factors of getting into an asana:

1. Breathing in an asana has to be of equal interval, depth and intensity. Every breath is a form of prana. Prana is energy, or rather the gravitational force that holds us together. It is a force that we cannot see or hear, but we can feel that it exists. Therefore, regulation of breath is very important as it helps in stabilizing the physical body, calming down the mind from any negative vibrations.

2. The correct alignment of the body allows prana to flow to where you want it to flow to. Our body has energy tubes known as the Nadis. They act as pathways for prana to travel through. Maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, keeps the pathways patent. You would rather get into the modified pose with the correct alignment then get into the full pose but with alignment all messed up!

3. Dristhi is the gazing point, when directly translated is known as vision. Gazing at one spot helps to keep the body still. It can be explained as a looking at an outward focal point for us to look inside of us. It is taking the attention away from your own or others’ physical images and look inside you. That is why most asanas are practiced with eyes open, as closing of eyes can get us lost in day dreaming or other unnecessary thoughts. There are 9 dristhi points in the asana practice. Different asanas will have differing dristhi point.

The message across asanas can be quite misleading. Many of us tend to push our body beyond our limits to perfect the asanas. Perfection of an asana is not about looking super fantastic with your physical body and struggling with the breathing consistency, disallowing the mind to come to a stillness state.

Ending off with a reinforcement that asanas are poses or acts that are comfortable and steady to hold in through regulated breathing, correct alignment and a gazing point that allows us to look inside of us.

Jasmine Yeo

200hr YTT

March 2015 (weekday) batch