THE 8 LIMBS OF YOGA – PART 3 ASANA

8 limbs (2)

Asana
The third limb of Yoga comprises of the practice of Asana (or poses). Just as Christians, Yogic practitioners also view the body  as a temple of the spirit. Therefore, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth as well as our physical growth. Asanas help us to develop discipline habits and the ability to concentrate. The practice of both is necessary for meditation.

Funny story: I have been practicing Yoga for some 8-9 years and it wasn’t until my husband gave me a book on Yoga that I came to realize the Sanskrit meaning of Asana is pose and that each Sanskrit word in regards to pose ends with asana! Ha! That one really did go over my head for years.


Abdominal Asanas such as Boat Pose (Navasana) and Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) help to build core strength and stability, Improving Balance, Strengthening lower back over time, and developing sharper patience—Navasana is definitely one in which most people just want the pose to end. Patience indeed!

In addition, they are said to aid in digestion by raising the digestive fire. The naval center is known as the “third chakra”:

“The third chakra is called Manipura, which means “lustrous gem.” Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone, it is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation. The Manipura chakra also controls metabolism and digestion.

When you feel self-confident, have a strong sense of purpose, and are self-motivated, your third chakra is open and healthy. If your third chakra is out of balance, you can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. The element is fire and the color is yellow, bright like the sun.” [1]

Tree.jpg

Standing Poses – Tree Pose (Vrksasana) is good for strengthening thighs, calves, ankles, and spine. It stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders and relieves sciatica. Also known to give one an improved sense of balance.

Arm Balancing Asanas such as Crane or Crow Pose (Bakasana)
For building strength in both arm and core muscles, as well as helping sharpen your mental focus or Drishti.

Backbends – Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)
Heart opening asanas increase flexibility and stimulate the nervous system. These poses are highly recommended in the Winter and when one is experiencing a broken heart. Many of us close our hearts as a defense mechanism after heartbreak. The antidote for this would a back bending asana.

Forwardbends

Forward Bending Asanas like Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Child’s Pose (Balasana) help you to create length and space in the spine as well as focusing your attention inward.

Inversions – Forearm Balance (Pincha Mayurasana) and Shoulderstand Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana) are two good examples. These poses are a great way to reinvigorate circulation. You will establish self-trust and experience a new perspective (Drishti) of the world around you.

Squatting – Garland Pose (Malasana) is another one of my favorite poses. This pose stretches the ankles, groins, and back torso as well as tones the belly.

Stretching Asanas -(Veerabhadrasana or Virabhadrasana) Used for stretching the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas). Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back as well as the thighs, calves, and ankles. Improves balance in the body helps increase stamina.Highly beneficial for those with sedentary or deskbound jobs and those with frozen shoulders. Releases stress in the shoulders very effectively in a short span of time.Believed to bring on auspiciousness, courage, grace and peace.

Twisting Asanas – one of the most popular being Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) energizes the spine and stimulates the digestive fire.

Sitting Asanas – such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana) will open your hips and lengthen your spine. Boosts your state of groundedness and inner calm. Intensifies serenity, tranquility, and eradicates anxiety. It also relieves physical and mental exhaustion and tiredness.

seated pose

Resting – Corpse Pose (Savasana) is probably everyone’s favorite pose! Good for connecting to your breath, stress relief, peace, and self-acceptance. Usually done at the end of each sequence, many people actually struggle with lying down, essentially doing nothing. But this pose is most important for completing and solidifying one’s practice.

With all this goodness, your temple is in pretty good shape! Stay Blissful my friends!

 

1.http://www.chopra.com/ccl/find-power-and-warrior-energy-in-your-third-chakra

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