Understanding Yoga and Asana

Yoga is one of the Indian Sciences of Liberation (moksha saastra)

Aim of Yoga:

Sage Patanjali is the founder of Yoga School. According to him the connection between Purusha and Prakriti is the cause of our suffering. Therefore, the aim of yoga is to separate (kaivalya) Purusha from Prakriti.

Objectives of Yoga:

Yoga says that Ignorance (avidya) is the cause of our suffering. Hence, it should be removed by gaining knowledge (vidya). According to Patanjali, the knowledge which is present in us is covered and inhibited by many impurities (assuddhi). Therefore, the objective of yoga is to remove or destroy the impurities present in the body. There are many types of impurities. They are physical, mental and spiritual.

In order to destroy the impurities sage Patanjali gave us the technique of Ashtaangayoga. It consists of :

  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana and
  8. Samadhi.

By their practice we improve physical strength, mental clarity and spiritual energy.

Let us know what is Asana and how many types of Asana are there and their benefits…

Asana means to sit or to place or to settle.

According to Patanjali, Asana is the third practice in the “Astangayoga”.

Definition:

Patanjali defined asana as “sthiram sukham aasanam”.

Benefits: Hatha Yogapradipika text says that asana is the first step in the yoga practice. Asana gives us physical strength and stability. It keeps the body healthy. Practice of asana relieves us from tensions and stress.

Types of Asana: According to Lord Siva there are 84 lakh asanas. Based on their name, nature and benefit we can divide them as follows: 
1. Meditative Asanas. 
2. Cultural Asanas. 
3. Relaxative Asanas.
 
 
Meditative Asanas: Meditative asanas are used during the practice of pranayama and dhyana. They keep the body steady in sitting position.

Example: Swastikasana, Padmasana, Siddhasana, vajrasana and others. 
 
Cultural Asanas: This type of asanas exercise deeper parts of the body. They maintain muscle tone and organic health. They are useful in the treatment of diseases.

Examples:Trikonasana,Paschimottanasana, Ardamatsyendrasana, Ustrasana, Sirshasana and others. 
 
Relaxative Asanas: They are special type of asanas which do not have physical movement in the body. They give greater relaxation to Body and mind.

Examples: Yoganidra.


The purpose of Yoga is to create harmony in the physical, vital, mental, psychological and spiritual aspects of the human being. Yoga is not mere practice for an hour or two in a day but it is the most scientific way of living all the twenty-four hours of the day. By regular practice, by using your presence of mind, skill and wisdom, you can enjoy happiness and peace, whatever be the circumstances and conditions in which you are placed.