Asana

In the yoga sutra Patanjali says that asana should be steady, stable and motionless. Asana is also translated to mean a comfortable, seated posture. It is the third limb of Ashtanga, which is practiced worldwide. The physicality of asana has lent itself to become synonymous with yoga, and the terms are used interchangeably in the modern world. Doing asana is now part of many workout routines, and successfully executing asanas has become a benchmark of being athletic and fit.

In this pursuit of executing asanas, the meaning to find the comfortable seated posture can be lost. Through sheer will and athleticism, asanas can be achieved. However, if the breath and mind is fleeting while doing the asana, has the steady, stable and motionless been reached?

In asana practice, we should set aside our ego and practice mindfully to achieve that comfortable posture. Even if our body limits our practice, we should continue to work towards stability. A practice takes time and diligent effort. In working towards a steady and stable body, we are also working towards achieving a steady and stable mind.

When a posture is uncomfortable, the mind has space to introduce disruptive and negative thoughts. Engaging pranayama throughout our asana practice will help bring our focus back onto the mat, to prevent such interruptions to occur. When inhaling or exhaling, we should be mindful to create space where there once wasn’t. When focused on pranayama, we also let go of our pre-conceived notions of how a posture should look like and if we are successful or not. When our body & mind are ready, asana will then truly be steady, stable and motionless.

Keep practicing.

Gen