Asanas Guide – Align With the Divine from The Isha Foundation

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10401402_10152370135939947_298364314231132679_n-1This Guide from Sadhguru shares the”powerful possibility that asanas represent, and explains that they are a means of creating a body that can download the cosmos.” Thanks again to Sadhguru and the Isha Volunteers for sharing this authentic information about classical hatha yoga from India that is so much missing in the West.  It is my hope on this Most Auspicious Day and Night of Mahashivrathri that more yoga practitioners find their way to appreciate and honor the real yoga from India with a humble approach of surrender, Shambo, OM Namah Shivaya OM Shanti Shanti Shanti OM. [Do click the link to find the guide]

Source: Asanas Guide – Align With the Divine | Sadhguru

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177 responses »

  1. This was a very interesting read and covered so many topics that it is hard to summarize it as simply being about the disconnect that humans face between the mind and the body. It was all about asanas and yogasana, with the focal point being that in order to unlock a higher possibility or way of thinking we must figure out the correct postures- and to do this correctly we must bind the bridge between our minds and bodies. To do an asana correctly is for your body to be at ease, and only when your body is at ease will your mind be at ease, and vice versa. If you are very stressed out or angry, you will never be able to meditate. If you experience discomfort while trying to practice, your mind will never be clear.
    The article mentions that through yogasana, “the body becomes a passage, not a block”. This was particularly interesting to me because so many times we view our bodies as obstacles that stand in our way- “I can’t practice yoga because of my body, I am insecure because of my body”, etc etc- when our bodies serve a far greater purpose than to look good and be flexible. Yoga, especially the hatha practice, is not about molding your body to some sort of “perfection”, but about bringing the opposites within you together, therefore giving you a peace of mind and a balance that you will not achieve through any other means. With yoga, you are conquering both your body and your mind, because those opposites are all coming together. We close our eyes to block off 50% of the world, and focus on one thing- our breathing- to block out any other 50% of distractions and that which keeps us from achieving a higher state of being.
    Breathing is such a crucial part in practicing yoga and without control of your breathing you will never master the asana or feel complete ease. When doing hatha yoga everything is focused in one direction, so your energy is flowing towards that direction and only that direction. When you let your mind become consumed by distractions in your life, you will never be able to practice yoga the correct way; the ways in which you handle both your mind and body must be harmonious, and yet people do not pay attention to their breathing and focus on this one direction.

  2. I have to admit that this is interesting to find out that your emotions actually factor what posture you take when you sit. Like how you sit one way when you’re peaceful and how you sit another way when you’re angry. I have to ask what emotion you are feeling when you get all fidgety, because I can get fidgety all so I must be feeling something or I may be feeling uncomfortable. It is nice to have this article to use as a step-by-step guide to help with breathing and posing and I hope that this will help me to preform better at yoga and be more flexible while doing it.

  3. I honestly kind of knew that your emotions factor into your posture. So it wasn’t necessarily interesting for me. It was extremely informative though. It did elaborate on what I already knew though. I could and definitely see myself going back to this reading to help with my breathing and posture. I feel like those two things you can always improve on so I will use this to help me for the future even after I’m out of this class.

  4. I think one of the most important things I have learned since taking this class is that yoga is all about finding balance both within ourselves and in our lives. And it makes sense that when our emotions or one aspect of our lives are out of balance, then everything else or other things may also come out of balance as a result of that. I think we all have a deeper inner power within us that we so easily and often ignore and don’t tend to because we are uncomfortable or don’t even know about it. And we end up in situations sometimes that seem like we have no say or we aren’t strong enough to overcome whatever we are faced with.

    But I think that we sell ourselves short by making it seem to troublesome or difficult to properly take care of ourselves on a daily basis. Many people don’t take care of their spiritual, mental and emotional health and society has been and is suffering because of it. Only recently has mainstream culture been acknowledging spiritual, mental and emotional self-care. And though I think it is a step in the right direction, I feel like many people, both older and younger, don’t know how to or that they should be looking after these parts of themselves.

    Only recently have I prioritized these things in my life, and after having done this, it has put a lot into perspective for me as a young woman and an adult this past year.

  5. Learning about the asana, I did not realize the importance of posture. I agree body language is important and you can tell a lot about a person by their use of posture. It was interesting to learn there is about 84 different asana used throughout the practice of yoga an there is different yoga depending on the purpose you want to portray in your body. Furthermore, practicing posture was definitely hard in the beginning of the practice however, I find myself increasing the strength in my back and gaining energy to hold these positions for an extended amount of time.

    The Hatha yoga, meaning balanced is very important to be aware of being balance brings stability into our lives. Practicing yoga will make us comfortable being uncomfortable, which is a very important aspect to learn in life. I am a very flexible person however, I have seen an increase in flexibility when I m practicing yoga, releasing all tensions from nerves and muscles. A quote that resonated with me includes, “Flexible mind, Flexible muscles” which I find very true. Additionally, I was aware that you should not speak during the practice because it can cause imbalances. Which is defeating the purpose of one of the points of the practice itself. It can also cause disturbed focus and concentration. I will continue to do my best and practice posture and retain my focus throughout the practice. OM.

  6. It’s always fascinating to read more in-depth about aspects of yoga. Reading about asanas is no exception. The relationship between asanas (or postures) and emotions makes complete sense. Our daily body language are like asanas, in a way. The way one expresses their body is directly tied to how they are feeling, and its no different when it comes to yoga.

    As I’ve practiced yoga, I have felt the mental and physical benefits that it can offer. Reading this article, I can see that I have much further to go. Tempering my karmic body is something that I’m looking forward to exploring. By inhabiting the ideologies and practices inherent in yoga, one can truly “transform” their body. The possibility of reaching this potential state is incredibly exciting to me, especially as a newcomer to the world of yoga.

  7. This was an incredibly long read, but one thing particularly stuck out to me. I am always confused when in class we do the nose breathing exercises. I didn’t understand why we hold our breath then hold one nostril then the other. However now I assume it is to purify our oxygen towards the end of our yoga. I have always been aware that the hairs in our nose purify our air, but I was completely unaware that it regulates the temperature of it. What in our nose does that, that our throats and mouth don’t? It reminds me about how water is bad if it’s too cold because it needs to be regulated to your body temperature.

    • The vibrational quality along with extra oxygen helps to regulate temperature. I hope you found value in this reading, as a novice this may have seemed like a long read but it really is a tiny drop in a simple bucket. Six thousand years of Indian Hatha yoga has football fields length of scientific data in libraries. It only seems reasonable that taking a class for college credit one should learn something about the basics. Namaste

  8. I found the introduction to be an interesting take on body language. I think one doesn’t necessarily have to be sitting to pick up on their mood. For example, my dad can always tell when I’m uncomfortable or in a bad mood because I tend to stand very upright with my arms folded. I also found the discussion of the lack of connection between many people’s body and mind to be an interesting read.

    I found this to be a great reinforcement of the subjects we have practiced in class such as the importance of breathing and keeping a clear mind. I find that my greatest source of disconnect has been my lack of resistance to keeping my mind present when I should be reflecting internally. Physically, I often appear to be doing the correct posture but mentally I am all over the place as it were. I’m spending time thinking about all the other responsibilities that pull at the back of my mind and it can become quite overwhelming to the point where I know I’m not getting the benefits that I should be out of the practice. It used the be at its worst at the start of the semester and improved since. However, I have not quite found that place where I would like to be.

  9. An asana is a posture. There are an incomprehensible amount of positions and postures that your body can take on. Out of all the postures, there are a specific set that are classified or identified as “yoga asanas” or yogasanas. Sadhguru’s explanation of yoga is that you some how transcend to a higher state of being. This higher state or dimension gives you a greater perception of life. The “yogasana” postures are meant to help you reach said states.

    As humans and living conscious beings in general, we experience great number of emotional states. And our postures can reflect our emotions at that time. An example from my own life, when i’m feeling down or drained i tend to curl up and hunch over more not allowing my face to be visible. My body position does correlate to my mood at the time. So i agree that you ca tell alot about a person based on their body language and their posture. Sadhguru said “by consciously getting your body into a certain posture, you can also elevate your consciousness. You can change the very way you feel, think, understand, and experience life by sitting in a particular way.” And this seems to be fact, based on my experiences.

    The study of the asanas is also known as hatha yoga, the “Ha” relating to sun and the “tha” relating to moon. An initial step when practicing yoga is finding a balance between the masculine and feminine aspects of yourself to achieve full consciousness. Sadhguru describes the deity “Shiva” as being Ardhanarishvara, and truly encompassing the perfect balance of the two sides. This is where the moon and sun aspect comes into play as they are both respective to the two genders roles. According to Sadhguru there are 84 basic asanas or systems through which an individual can obtain this balance.

  10. I think this article was very interesting and insightful. When reading about posture and how it is related to emotions i found that relating back to myself and other loved ones. When i am sitting in a class that I enjoy I tend to sit one way where as if I’m in a class I don’t enjoy as much or I am just having a bad day I typically sit with my arms crossed. I also can relate this to my Boyfriends brother. He was diagnosed at an early age with autism. He is now 18 and I have known him since he was 15. For him his posture is very obvious to the way he is feeling. When I first met him he was very closed off because he was nervous about meeting a new person and he also had a very hard time making eye contact while talking to me. Today he is very comfortable with me and you can tell that by the way he sits next to me or when he talks to me he is able to look me in the eyes.

  11. Hello,

    I enjoyed how the source discusses at first, being aware with the build-up to creating happiness and joy. Throughout, perception and creation are large topics which I think is very interesting. I find that those two elements have a lot to do with shaping the base and roots of your life. Patanjali was an interesting part, is the third limb of yoga help to keep your mind at ease.

    They discuss to receive the divine, it is not about creating a fine specimen of yourself yet making your body one. An enjoyment I find while reading this was the discussion of flexibility. Each body can perform different tasks than the other rather than everyone having the same. They bring up emotions quite a bit when discussing yoga which I think is important. Having control of your emotions causes you to have a better life style and choices.

  12. I really enjoyed this article because of the way everything was explained. In high school, I took a yoga class here and there but it was never anything consistent. I remember my teacher mentioning asana and other yoga terms but she never really explained what they meant until now. I never thought about the poses of the body being a reflection of my mood and how they can be controlled. Whenever I’m in a bad mood, I just focus on whatever is causing me to feel down instead of paying attention to the way my body reacts to that. I used to think that the postures were something you only did during class but I think I’m beginning to understand the way yoga can be applied to life outside the practice. After reading this I want to take notice of the poses my body take when I feel happy or sad.

  13. Well this reading was quite packed and contained a complete overview for what we have been doing in class this whole time. This articular describes the impotence of Asana and all its inner ticking’s. Asana refers to the innumerable positions in yoga that offer you a higher possibility in life. These poses are effected by everything and requires a present sense of awareness to execute properly. Various levels of ones participation my vary depending on mode, environment, and their ability to regulate the inner working of the body such as breathing. Yoga it always attempting to find a balance in your life. This is why yoga such as hatya yoga focuses on merging the Masculine and Feminine. The union of the body is the most important thing in yoga. Its all about connecting you and the rest of existence. The inner with the outer. To be able to sit in your Asana and line up with the cosmos for an extensive download of everything that is important or meaningful in life.

  14. While reading the Asanas guide it is very powerful to learn all of the benefits given to you through different movements, stretches and poses. The fact that your emotions effect your body internally as well as physically, it really shows how yoga can be used to regulate and elevate your mind, body and spirit. Usually when I am anxious, stressed or upset i can feel it in my body, my shoulders go up, my chest gets tight and I feel wired up and low inside. From reading the article, it shows that yoga is a good way to refresh you and fill you with inner peace and coming back to your center; maybe even discovering a new one.

  15. I use to have terrible posture and I noticed it growing up I was very anxious and insecure and I have noticed even now as I am nearing turning 22, that internally insecurities do very much manifest physically. I also wanted to be invisible and and hide in the shadows and I was very conscious of how I presented my self physically to others and it was always and sometimes today is still something that I struggle with. However as I am older I became more confident in myself and being around others and letting others see me, I even embraced being taller and that sounds so insignificant but it helped and I realised like 5’8 isn’t even that tall and that there are obviously taller people, and it sounds so silly but it was one of the small insecurities that really hindered me. Now people have said that that I am very confident and that it is very intimidating and even some of my dancer friends have told me that I have good posture. And I am so conscious to how I am feeling by how I carry myself. When I am low and overwhelmed, I ind that my head is always down and I am hunched over and when I am feeling happy and healthy and positive I can walk with confidence or determination etc. The Asana guide goes into great depth to remind us of the benefits of movement, stretching etc. And I know how important all of this is. In yoga when we are told to reach upwards or outwards it’s amazing as this is also a mindset that we should try to adopt for ourselves. We should allow ourselves to be our full selves and embrace all that we are and once we learn to treat our body and take of our minds in that respect we will carry ourselves in the same regard and it is just one of the few things that can really shape our own perspectives and just allowing each day even during low times, just to be a little easier by looking up and forward and not down.

  16. There was a lot of information in this post but I really want to hone in on the one part about emotions and acidity. I think this part stuck out to me most because anybody who’s constantly angry tends to be constantly sick as well and those things go hand in hand. Healthy mind and healthy body lean on one another and are constantly an interchangeable cycle. So the second there’s any form of imbalance one can not prosper without the other being at its optimal state. This also reminds me of keeping people with bad attitudes and bad habits around is a toxic thing toward your own life. I’ve grown to realize even watching myself and taking care of my mental and physical health if those around me are not doing the same it still has an adverse affect on me.

  17. I found this read fascinating because I am constantly worrying about my posture, and I am constantly having to remind myself to straighten my back and not be so lazy when I go for long walks. In terms of how my emotions affect my posture, that is usually evident in the position of my shoulders. I feel as if the negative energy of a bad thought or experience could disrupt the body’s flow, dragging that energy down out of you, and literally pulling your shoulders down into a slouch in the process. That being said when your energy is positive and your outlook is bright, this energy lifts you up, throwing your shoulders back and holding your head up high, displaying your balance and confidence in your posture. Also interesting to note, as your shoulders move, so do your eyes with them. As the energy sweeps through your body it affects the areas of the body where there are multiple focal points required for balance (eyes, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, feet). This disrupts the balance of your mental and physical well being, and its negative energy is immediately cast from you.

  18. Also I do the IK 5x per week. I have not needed a video guide since early October. I usually set a staggered alarm on my phone during my IK to mark the time between 12-15 minutes. Oddly enough I can sometimes tell when the alarm is about to go off just seconds before it actually does. This has improved my mental organization greatly, and my thought process when I’m alone.

  19. The phrase “download the cosmos” is a powerful one. It sums up what’s being talked about in connecting with something larger and strengthening that through yoga. I’ve heard people talk about yoga being appropriation in the west, and while I don’t entirely agree I do think it brings up a point on Westerners missing out of much of the spiritual aspects of yoga because it is simply not as culturally valued here as physical exercise is. The idea of aligning your body along with your mind is relatively new to me, and I find it encouraging in terms of what it means in taking care of my physical and mental wellbeing. I’d like to know what Sadhguru’s thoughts are on the more contemporary theories of collective consciousness. I like the way he describes it as almost instinctual.

  20. The passage broken down everything. When doing the assignments I get tripped up on all the information. I have never taken yoga class before and I was ignorant to what yoga actually is. I had an already made up concept that was completely different from what I had learn in this class. I had a lot of questions regarding certain things we did in class like: breathing in-and-out the nose instead of breathing in the nose and out the mouth, why do we always have to keep touching our body parts when we are lying down in Flapping Fish or Crocodile Pose. The passaged answered all my questions fully and in detail.

    I understood what the passage was saying.”…the biggest barrier is the limitations of your body. In fact, whatever human beings want to do, the biggest barrier is their body and mind.”, I related to that text because I limit myself to what my body and mind can truly do. Whenever I do my Isha Kriya my mind sometimes wonders unconsciously.I get irrupted at myself for not focusing instead of trying to reconcentrate and continue to practice. With my body, sometimes I feel I push myself to my fullest potential and other times I feel I am not trying hard enough or my body is incapable to doing the postures in class. I resigned with what the questioner was asking, like why do we have to keep our eyes close or why not eat before going Isha Kriya.

    -Saida Blair

    • Great you have had a breakthrough and now understand the fundamentals for Hatha Yoga. If you are still around for more semester s come back and take the Wednesday class with your new understanding you will blossom further, OM

  21. I wanted to wait to respond to this reading until after today’s class in order to put into practice this new understanding. My understanding of the reading has changed a little bit after putting into practice what I believed was my understanding. I went in with the focus of connecting my mind, body, and spirit. However, my understanding of what connection meant in this context shifted. I previously believed it to mean that by practicing the asanas, the end goal was to bring the mind, body, and spirit to become one being itself. After putting this into practice and during my Isha Kriya I came to a greater understanding of the text, as well as the mantra chanted during the Isha Kriya. The goal is not to become one with your body in a literal sense. The goal is to connect in a way that allows your spirit to be the guiding force wielding your mind and body as tools. The Asanas essential serve as a method of sharpening these tools gifted to our spirits to utilize to achieve the worldly goals we have been brought to this plane to achieve. This brings me to the Isha Kriya, the mind and the body, are not who we are, or more specifically, it is not who I am. The mind and the body are tools that my spirit has the ability to access in order to serve its higher purpose. In this sense, I now understand the mantra, “I am not this body, I am not even this mind” serves as a reference to the fact that “I” refers to “me”. What makes up the characteristics that truly define “me” as a being is my energy or my spirit. Both of these things are not attached to my shell or my mind. “I” transcends the physical plane and is strictly the spirit.

    • Exactly, I remember some of your classmates asking me to explain the meaning of the words uttered during IK and doubting it, and I think you were in this mindset at the beginning of the semester. But you have really applied yourself fully, gone inside deeply, listened sincerely and found your own valid answers ! I am so proud of you, I hope you will keep this writing and print it out for yourself and keep it with you for many years. Perhaps reading on your Birthday each year, you are now a true Yogi, Namaste OM

  22. I really enjoyed this reading. It helped pull together a lot of what we have been doing in class this semester as well as what I have been doing in my own yoga practice. When I started taking yoga classes, it was strictly for the exercise portion. I was not interested in the other parts (breathing, meditation, etc.) After going to classes for many years, I guess the other parts started to rub off on me. I began listening to the instructor when she challenged us to use our breathing through the poses, to be in the here and now, to set our intention for our practice, etc. I have to say, I definitely feel a difference when I pay attention to my breathing while moving through asanas, and clearing my mind and being in the here and now with my practice makes so much difference (in a good way) than when my mind is wandering. The asanas themselves seem to have so much more meaning and fluidity than they do when my mind is elsewhere. Meditation is still a challenge for me, but I am taking baby steps with the Isha Kriya practice. I am still a work in progress, as I guess I always will be.

    When Sadhguru speaks of having different postures for different emotions, it is so true. It falls in with the whole idea of body language and being able to tell what someone is feeling just by their posture. It only makes sense that our body should react certain ways when we are feeling certain emotions. It is all connected. I also appreciated the section on flexibility (as I am not that flexible myself, with some asanas in particular). It was quite interesting how he brought up the idea of emotions and acidity affecting flexibility. I will have to pay more attention to my emotions before and after a class to see how it affects my movement. I wonder what he would say of someone (such as myself) who finds the restorative child’s pose, so difficult?!

    • I hope you keep your yoga and stay on the Path…it never matters what anyone including Sadhguru has to say about your yoga, it’s really a personal matter to you and your inner growth. All a teacher may do is provide you with is a safe environment and guidance to continue to evolve, a pleasure sharing yoga with you this semester, Namaste

  23. The reading discusses Sadhguru’s thoughts on asanas or postures. Because I am not incredibly well versed in yoga or Indian culture/religion, I was definitely confused at some points during the readings. Especially when he was discussing why there were 84 asanas and states of being. And if you perfected one of these states of beings it would open up the doors to perfect the other 83.

    I think it was interesting how the most common thread within all these readings is the dichotomy between the two planes of existing, the outward and inward worlds, the mind and the body. It brings further meaning to the mantra of the Isha Kriya.

    I also thought it was interesting how all of the “rules” of Hatha yoga were explained, as well as what hatha actually means, sun and moon, masculine and feminine. Sadhguru went over why to only breathe through the nose, how asanas should not be strenuous activities. How these positions affect the mind, and how they were developed through careful attention to how one holds the body when they are experiencing certain emotions.

  24. I found this read very insightful, especially since I have been practicing yoga since high school and was never really educated about the spiritual and emotional side we have uncovered in this class. Because this was a long read, I have chosen a few points that were particularly interesting:

    1. The way you sit can change your emotions.
    
This is very logical but I never really thought about. Naturally, we all have different postures when we are sad, excited or angry. These natural postures manifest the emotional energy in our body. Through our asanas we can manipulate our energy in a way that is positive and calming during yoga practice, just by the way we are sitting and holding our body. It reminds me of how if you smile when you are sad, you can still start to feel happy. Our physical movements greatly impact our emotions.


    2. Asanas allow you to take charge of your life.
    
In this reading, we learn that no astrologer will be able to predict the future of a yogi because yogis have taken charge of the cosmos through their practice. I found this very affirmative and encouraging.

    3. You become who you are because of what you perceive. 

    While we cannot ever experience life outside of our own consciousness, we can change our perceptions and attitudes on life. A negative event may affect someone much more who already perceives life in a negative way, than someone who remains truly positive and is emotionally strong.

    4. Flexibility is not always an indicator of spiritual growth.
    
It does not make sense to compare our flexibility to another yogi, as long as we are doing our best, because everyone’s body is different. I know on days where I feel stressed, my body is intensely rigid and I can really feel a difference in my practice. This used to make me feel really bad, and like I was not progressing at all but this reading has taught me otherwise. 


  25. Asanas seem to be an extremely important aspect of the yoga practice. For example, my emotions tend to impact who I am as a person greatly, including how I function in my day to day life. Sometimes I won’t feel as if I want to do anything, if I am depressed. This can affect my posture in different ways. My back will end up sore, I will hunch over a bit, and my head will hurt. But when my emotions are in order and aligned, I will get up and do the things I desire. If I do yoga, it helps me visualize the Asanas and better my emotions, in turn helping my posture. Aligning myself also helps me with my school work, as I am able to manage the workload better. It helps me in so many ways, and it is extremely beneficial to take a couple minutes out of my day to meditate, and do the things that the article spoke about. It is important we are one with ourselves, in order to understand what is going on around us.

    I have done Isha Kriya four times this week. I do it during the morning, because I feel the most at peace when I just wake up from a great night sleep. It helps me decompress before a long day, and it helps give me a lot of energy to be able to handle the challenges of a regular days work. It helps me relax a lot, and the chanting keeps me focused on relaxing and letting go of my ruminating thoughts.

  26. This post was a very intriguing read, it mostly talks about the disconnection between the human mind and body. This post made me more aware of the importance of body posture and body language. It was cool to hear about the the 84 different asanas that are used throughout the practice of yoga. Our everyday postures does have a relationship with the asanas, how we express our physical being is tied to how we are feeling as an entirety. To correctly do an asana our body has to be at ease and in order for that to happen our mind must be at ease too, for example if you are stressed and irritated meditation will be twice as hard. Something that really stood out to me was that the body is a passage not a block and this is particularly true in yoga because our body is our gateway to becoming a greater being, the only benefit is not only physical but mental. One reason we can think our body is a “block” is because our minds are telling us this and there is an unbalance. We can change the way we feel and think by our posture and I agree with this because when I start my IK practice and I sit up straight and let my muscles relax I feel more energized and collected after I finish my practice.

  27. This article made me learn more about the asana and the real importance of why it is believed in the yoga community. It also made me realize the importance of it when I, personally do yoga to find the balance in my body and lifestyle. I feel like this was a very descriptive way for anyone to understand because sometimes things and topics as important as this through a video or just from a person’s opinion. Now it is clear of why emotions and posture go hand in hand because one way to tell how someone is feeling is by their body movements and expression. After reading this I figured out I still have a lot of emotions to improve to really get the full experience of a good yoga session. Recently I thought my life is where I wanted it to be but for a quick second and I have been started to almost feel like nothing is in my control and not going as I planned. And I have definitely noticed in my aurora and posture have been impacted by me feeling down. But after having yoga as a part in my life now I feel like it has definitely helped mentally and physically. I learned that there are 84 asanas to attain to change more than just posture but also in the yoga system that helps people liberating and feel like they have a lot of internal energy.
    Having the right atmosphere helps with finding a good balance. The article says that a place can always be changed if it becomes a mess but with the body, the person can not change to another because it is part of their existence. For this week Isha Kriya’s experience I have been doing them regularly now and I still feel more than energized than before I started and it still helps me sleep at night easier when I do the IK before bed.

  28. While reading this I wished I was exposed to this material at the beginning of the semester, although I’m not sure I would have gotten nearly as much out of it. Much of this particular posture, breathing, and not speaking I have been paying attention to throughout the course. This explained them in a very simple, and relatable way. Not only clarifying questions I’ve had and reassuring things I have already learned in my yoga experience, but also expanding how I see the possibilities of yoga.
    I found the portion on flexibility to be the most interesting part of the reading. I have always lacked flexibility and this was one of my main reasons for taking this yoga course, although through this course I have learned the importance of the mind aspect of yoga. Our body being constructed to have different levels of flexibility. Through yoga, we are not simply trying to create new flexibility, but to reach the full flexibility our body naturally wants to have. This is something that is consistent in all aspects of hatha yoga.

    I have been more consistent with my IK practices, finding a bit more balance in my schedule. I am still going back and focusing on each individual part. I do feel like I am struggling to get the proper vibration or frequency in the second part of the practice.

    • Glad you found the information relatable and I understand that you could have benefited also at the beginning of the course but I know now you can really put it into perspective OM

  29. Yoga asanas has so many elements and meanings, from the inner science of our emotions to our posture and physical mechanics. We create our own limitations and reasons why we can’t conquer something. Our minds controls everything in our bodies, so we must train and practice healthy consciousness instead of being compulsive. For most people, they practice on themselves physically not mentally so their body’s posture is not relaxed because they’re not meditating or thinking about their mental health.

    One simple way of observing truth in our practice is by paying closer attention to the breath. The breath is such an important factor in asana practice because it’s the most reliable thing your mind can focus on in a silent room. Creating the link between body and breath will help your negative troubles end. We must take charge of ourselves by observing everything around us and balance our lives on the influences and atmosphere we put ourselves in. Yoga is connecting with ourselves mentally and physically, so each time we practice, it’s important to have complete honesty with what we actually need in that very moment. On a physical and emotional level, we change all the time, so fixating on one way of practising isn’t always going to work out. If we practice correctly, the right postures will create comfort and ease to our inner and outer self. When your asanas grow, you will grow so you must take care of your energy and prepare your system for asana activation which will create personal development and progress when handling a situation.

    -Melenie Warner

  30. From this reading on Asanas, I felt that Sadhguru tied all of the individual topics that were mentioned from the beginning of the course to present together. He explained everything from posture to breath to the importance of closing ones eyes in this article.

    Yoga is the practice of easing the body and the mind in order to maximize ones potential for life. It is a practice that strengthens one so that one is able to grasp that which is natural and to be able to live in total balance and unity with the rest of the world. The asanas allow one to align with cosmic energy and activate and channel that untapped energy so that we can find the balance in our universe. We focus on the breath in order to clear our minds and compensate for our inability to remain completely still and close our eyes to block out the external world and reflect, waiting for complete and utter stillness. Only through these practices can balance and harmony with oneself and the surrounding world be realized and fulfilled and the chaos become calm and at peace.

    Unfortunately, many people do not utilize these practices for the intended uses of humbling oneself in order to realize oneself and the world around. Many people in the West have exploited true yoga and replaced it with a hallowed out version used for the vain reason of body sculpting. From this, one is not able to reap the full benefits of yoga which is rounded and full and instead only gain the physical. One is not able to tap into the cosmos and be one with the universe without understanding the actual practice itself.

    I have continued to do the IK four times a week and feel as though it has become a regular practice for me. I have started to feel more organized in my life and hope to continue later on.

  31. Yoga has become a new trend for young people trying to get in shape, but there is much more depth to the practice. To the average person, yoga is the formation of different postures to exercise the body. However, the postures, or yogasanas, mean much more, and most people cannot even begin to scratch the surface of their significance. Ha means sun, while THA means moon, indicating that yoga is meant to be practices to create balance in life. “Whatever your intelligence, whatever your competence, education, and qualifications – if you do not have the necessary balance, you will not succeed. You will not go very far in your life. Only if you have balance that is not disturbed by external situations, are you capable of making use of the competence and intelligence within you”. We subconsciously take certain postures depending on our mood, and choosing to take certain positions can affect the way we think, feel, understand, and experience life. By consciously taking certain poses, we can create balance between our mind and body. Yoga helps us to make our body a passage ad take control of our lives with determination, forcefulness, and adamancy. Essentially, yoga poses are merely a physical doorway which will allow us to make deeper discoveries within ourselves.

    In order to begin to master the 84 different asanas, we need to take many steps. First, we need to create a good atmosphere. The atmosphere should feel conducive, not compulsive. We need to set up a purpose, for this will help us obtain a goal. We must also decide the purpose of our bodies, so we can find the appropriate yoga to suit our needs. Once we create an appropriate atmosphere, we can find a life’s asana. This is a pose which we will practice so eventually we are able to sit with absolute ease. Many people wonder why you would want to sit a certain way your whole life. Yoga is not about six pack abs, it is about making your body a vessel for the divine. Once we realize this, we can advance in our yoga. We must also understand the limitations of our bodies, and how we can avoid some limitations. Not everyone is as flexible as others, and that is okay. However, we do have to see that sometimes our mind is affecting our ability to practice our yoga. When we are stressed, our brain will produce acid, which poisons the body, creating both a rigid mind and brain. We must prepare our mind as much as our body when doing yoga. We must not speak when doing yoga. Many think that since you move, you can speak. It is not as serene as meditating. However, asanas are an important type of meditation. Thus, since you are moving, you have to do something meditative, in this case, being silent. Speaking triggers, increased pulse and leads to decreased focus. We must strive to avoid this. We should also build up our abilities so we are able to breath properly. Yoga is not an aerobic exercise, and we should never breathe through the mouth. It may be difficult at first, but we must breathe deeply so that eventually, we can be at ease at any time and place. We focus on this breathing so much because our mind and emotions must focus on something. It is best that they focus on the same thing. Focusing on breathing is the best because it is always there. Next, we must also do yoga in sets of three. This is related to an Indian tale, but it also has meaning in anyone’s life. Life happens in threes. We have the sun, moon, and earth. We have past, present, and future. Three are internally one, so we must grasp them all. We must also close our eyes. Our eyes look outward into the world, and thus engage us with it. However, when we close them, we are able to internalize, helping us to enhance our experience of self discovery. Lastly, we must explore the mind and the body. We all have desires, and as we have learned from McAthee, it is impossible to curb them. We must understand the vehicle in whih we live, and use our yoga to get the mind and body to work together. The body postures can affect how our minds work, which will steer us away from worldly desires. Yoga is challenging, and it may take years to master, but it can lead to happiness and serenity.

    After months practicing yoga, I have definitely benefitted and learned so much. Coming into the class, I was unsure what to expect. Like most people, I assumed that the class was going to be mainly focused on the physical. However, I have learned it is a much richer experience which has helped me in multiple areas. We have done many postures in class, and each one has helped me to change my outlook. Practicing yoga daily, I have changed my mind to be more serene. As I start my day with yoga, I am able to block out stress. Overall, this has helped me to become less stressed and I have noticed that as a result I am more comfortable while practicing. The lack of mental rigidity has contributed to a more fluid body. At first, when I began practicing, it was very strange to sit in such silence. Now, I have become accustomed to the peace, and look forward to it. I am much more concentrated. My breathing has also definitely improved. I feel like my breathing passageways are much clearer and find it easier to breathe through my nose than ever before. I have cultivated many of the techniques mentioned in the article, and I did not even realize this. It is incredible how practice, dedication, and focus have changed my life. I am much less attached to the world, and more in tune with my own emotions. I definitely want to keep expanding my knowledge and practice of yoga. I feel like it is a very beneficial activity which can help me throughout my life.

  32. Humans face significant disconnection between the mind and the body. Correcting our postures plays a key role in our ability to get in touch with our higher selves. Meditating and practicing the asana correctly involves complete and utter relinquishing of ones mental and physical state. While this can be difficult, this is the way to properly practice and gain the associated benefits of yoga.

    One part of the reading that particularly stuck out to me was the one regarding thinking of the human body as a passage to higher being. I find it pretty difficult to meditate generally speaking just because I tend to feel a bit pressured to get to that higher state of consciousness. However, thinking about my body as a vessel to this state versus a prevention or a block that I needed to overcome might be something that helps me more if I focus on it whilst meditating.

    I was actually extremely anxious and having a panic attack before a performance last week, and my guitar player had me sit down and meditated with me. In the beginning of the meditation, I found it really unhelpful because I was thinking of the practice as a method to overcome the anxiety, versus letting it calm my body at its own pace. Once I relinquished the power I felt I needed to exert over my body, it became much more effective.

  33. For me, I have a hard time connecting with my body. I get pains in certain places in my body because I was so focused on things outside of myself that I forgot to check in within myself. From yoga practices to meditative practices, I’ve heard how important it is to be in alignment with your mind and body. I know and understand how keeping the two aligned an be difficult but it is something that I want to continue to practice.

    One thing I enjoyed about the classes was learning more about breathing, anytime I exercise, I have a tendency to breathe with my nose only and I’d be scolded but with Hatha yoga, it is important to breathe with your nose, building the strength from inside. It’s very refreshing, it makes me feel like Hatha yoga is something that I should continue.

    I enjoyed that the reading broke down the wors and the practices in a way that anyone can understand. There are words that confused me but soon after, there was an explanation to the word and it’s connection to the explanation which was nice.

  34. As I have stated previously I consider myself a very spirtual person and I believe mind, body, and spirt as something that should line up with one another. This article went into depth about how we need to be connected in the body and mind with meditation or else it will not be accurately performed. Emotional blockage can factor into our posture making it hard to focus and meditate.

    I also believe that the fact that we have everything at our fingertips and shorter attention spans than past generations factors into our connectiveness. We are so used to quick interactions with our world and always being plugged into our world that we struggle to clear it all away and remember that we should find a moment to be separate from it and to really connect with ourselves.

  35. The beginning where it talks about body positioning I think is true. You can tell how people are feeling at the moment depending on how they are sitting because people sit a certain depending if they happy, mad, sad, etc. I was also thinking about how when you have us doing the Isha Kryias and you have us sitting up sitting straight. I always asked to myself why can’t we do this laying down? but now I understand that laying down sends a different vibration to your body.

    The atmosphere you’re around also creates a different type of vibration in your body. If you’re around an atmosphere that is compulsive and does what they want without thinking of consequences or who it may hurt, you may start to act like that or behave like that because that’s what you’re used to. If you’re around a more conducive atmosphere where it benefits you or other people, that helps you make better decisions for yourself and others. You’re atmosphere should play an important factor in your life if you want to progress in life. You hang around the wrong crowd sometime because you want life to be easy and comfortable, but that’s not how you meet your goals. You get uncomfortable and put yourself in an area where you know you’re going to grow.

    • I also wanted to say that ever since coming to college I learned to get myself out of atmospheres that are detrimental to my growth. It isn’t about feeling bad, but it’s about what’s good for your health and what’s not. Learning this took a long time, but I’m glad I did because it saved me a lot of pain.

  36. This post reminded me of my childhood and my mother always expressing the importance of posture to me. As a child I was constantly slouching, face towards the ground, as if I was in search of diamond rings! I was beaver standing straight and if I was it was immediately after being reprimanded.
    As I got older I understood more why my mother was so persistent about this. I learned that body language or here referred to as “asanas” are crucial to your success. A person with a slouched appearance, terrible asana and a displeased look are visibly seen as disheveled or upset. In a job interview, conversation, etc. this individual would be less likely to be viewed in a positive light.
    Asana (positive posture) is the key to a good life. It evokes a body of confidence, opens the chest to deeper breathing and allows us to be positive individuals.
    I think now, if my mother had explained this in particularly long ago maybe I would’ve been more eager to enhance my posture!

  37. This reading was about the asanas and what yoga is overall. For yoga you have to start with the hatha yoga which has a meaning, ha sun, ta moon, this means a balance between the feminine and masculine side. I thought this was interesting because society doesn’t say that. If you’re a girl society tells to be more girly and if you’re a man then you have to “be a man”.

    Before taking this class I was one of those people that thought yoga was just a physical exercise, I knew there was some kind of meditation involve but I didn’t really know what yoga was. The 84 asanas are not just 84 postures, they are 84 systems where the body and mind work on. There was a quote on the reading that said “Rigid muscles and rigid brain are no good” and that’s why yoga works these too in a way to get closer to that higher force, to live a better life. But it also says that the body is an obstacle because the body needs too much.

    Life is complicated but it doesn’t have to be. Yoga has these simple rules that will make life better, that will make you a better person PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.

    • My IK is good, I’ve been doing it more in the afternoons lately like after school at home before doing some homework and I have found it really helpful, it helps me concentrate, it gives me energy and motivation. I’ve been having a lot of work lately so doing this in the middle of the day felt great and it also makes me sleep better at night.

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