In this fourth blog in a series on Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga we will have a look at ‘Āsana’. Of course we’ll have a look at how our well known fictional character, Ben, applies this limb of yoga in his normal daily live. After some time, Ben noticed how beautifully organized his life became because of the yamas and niyamas. The yamas gave him guidelines for external behavior and the niyamas for the internal.
Ben has realized that his body is easily in pain when he has to sit in one position for hours at the office or in the car. And then sometimes watching T.V., being too comfortable, he is also in pain. At some point he realized that he has to keep his body in regular movement and find a balance between this stiffness and comfort.
Besides going to the gym he once had a Yoga session focused on āsanas. He felt so much at ease that he did not feel any pain that night while sitting behind his laptop. This was pretty interesting to him compared to what he does in the gym. He noticed more flexibility and ease within his body. All the muscles seemed to be loose and he felt energized.
So he called Yoga Peetha Happiness Centre to know more about āsanas and what he found out was totally new to him. Ben came to know that doing āsanas, in contrast with his workout in the gym, is not physical exercise per sé. ‘Āsana’ literally means pose or posture that is both comfortable and stable at the same time. Within the systems of Yoga several main āsanas are developed to enhance our body and make it fit, strong and flexible to endure more in life with utmost ease.
Ben lets go of all his efforts when in an āsana, such that his muscles relax more and more. He notices that not only does his body expand and become more flexible, but his mind expands as well. This made sense since the mind is all around the body. Stretching the one means stretching the other as well. That expansion of awareness and finding balance between the extremes is the real purpose of āsanas within Yoga.
So, Ben has noticed the diversity of Yoga and wants to practice more and more on a daily basis because the results speak for themselves. He feels better at work and knows when to take a break because he is a bit more sensitive towards his own body. Next time in Ben’s journey through Ashtanga Yoga, we will have a look at the fourth limb, ‘Prānāyāma’.