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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136 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.

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