The benefits of Yoga Asana
Given the central importance of the yamas and niyamas (Moral codes of behaviour), one might wonder why it would be necessary to practice the other limbs of yoga? Would it not be enough to be compassionate, truthful, and loving? Why would it be important to take the time to stretch our backs or to listen to our breath?
The word asana is usually translated as “pose” or “posture,” but its more literal meaning is “comfortable seat.” Through their observations of nature, the yogis discovered a vast repertoire of energetic expressions, strong physical effect on the body but also a harmonising psychological effect. Each movement demands that we improve some aspect of our mind and use ourselves in a new way. The vast diversity of asanas is no accident, for through exploring both familiar and unfamiliar postures we are also expanding our consciousness, so that regardless of the situation or form we find ourselves in, we can remain calm and grounded. Intrinsic to this practice is the uncompromising belief that every aspect of the body is pervaded by min and consciousness. Asana practice is a way to develop this interior awareness and a way to reunite the usually separated body-mind.
Apart from the vibrant health, flexibility, and stamina this unified body-mind brings us, living in the body is also an integral aspect of spiritual life. The most tangible way that we can know what it means to be compassionate, open minded, positive and loving is directly through the body.
The main purpose aspirants practice yoga postures is to help create a healthy, supple and strong body ready for deeper meditative and energetic practices like Atma Kriya Yoga. It is hard to concentrate on breathing techniques or a mantra when the body is experiencing pain or discomfort. In Bhakti Marga Ireland we are running introductory yoga classes over the summer which will lead up to us learning the complete dynamic flow called Sun Salutation.
You do not have to be flexible or super fit to take part, we will be building up the intensity of the classes over the summer, so just come along with an open mind and heart and experience the benefits first hand.