In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Asana is translated into ‘to be seated in a position that is steady but relaxed.’ Most of the time, Asana is translated as a posture, position, or seat, and today is mostly related to the physical Hatha Yoga practices— which many of us have come to know as ‘Yoga.’
The Asana practice is the third limb of Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Path, and is the physical practice that many of us have come to recognize as yoga. The original intention for the Asana practice was to purify the body, which in turn, purifies the mind— which then creates the space for us to sit comfortably in meditation and do our spiritual work.
In the West, because our minds are so stimulated and we are constantly learning how to slow down, the Asana practice is something we heavily focus on. For good reason, because with a heavily stimulated mind, stillness within becomes very difficult. Though with a regular Asana practice, we bring more spaciousness and stillness into our bodies which then, in turn, brings more space in-between the thoughts and more stillness into the mind.
Asana is a body posture that is either seated, standing, reclining, inverted, twisting, and balancing.
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