What Are Yoga Asanas And Their Benefits To Your Body And Mind

woman who practices yoga

Anyone wanting to do Yoga must understand what are "asanas". The word "asana" comes from the Sanskrit word "aas" which means existence.

The first is taking position, the second is the position itself (that is the posture) and the third is the release of the position. All these three positions must flow seamlessly into each other. There should be no jerks or strains, and the person who is doing Yoga must enjoy the different stages of an "asana".

The cerebral cortex, which is the most evolved part of the brain, comes into play when performing "asanas". As an individual perfects an "asana" he gets more cortical control, which, in turn, leads to better health.

"Asanas" should not be compared to aerobics or gymnastics. In aerobics or gymnastics the body is trained to perform physical functions quickly. The stress is on developing individual muscles and skills. "Asanas", in contrast, focus on comfort of the body and not on stretching it to achieve short-term goals.

woman who practices yoga asanas

"Asanas" can be mastered by following four progression levels

  1. The first level in "asanas" involves achieving stability. This is achieved by holding the body in one position for a period of time.
  2. The next level requires you to feel comfortable in this position — that is you should be at ease while maintaining this "asana".
  3. The third step is to allow the muscles to relax. This gives greater comfort to the body and produces a calm and relaxed mind.
  4. The last level is to achieve higher levels of meditation with the help of a calm and relaxed mind.

Anyone who can master these four levels achieves a high degree of physical and mental control. The body feels relaxed, the mind becomes calm, the negative thoughts are driven away, and negative impulses released by stress are destroyed.

"Asanas" also increase physical stamina, the body"s immune capacity, and provides greater control over emotions. The "asanass" can be classified into the following categories:

  • Meditative "asanas" that bring peace of mind
  • Health-based asanas that are aimed to activate the digestive system, pancreas and endocrine glands
  • Relaxation "asanas" that help to fight fatigue and stress.

The asanas are conducted in different positions. These include the supine position, prone position, sitting position and standing position. Each "asana" produces its own effect on the body.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is "Asana"? [vid]

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