What is Yoga Asana?
“While you are disturbed by your body, your nerves will become disturbed and you cannot concentrate the mind” (Vivekananda Patanjali Sutras, 2: 46-48)
Yoga Asana forms one part of the 8 limbs of Yoga. In the practice of Yoga Asana, the body becomes a doorway to the present, a tool for focusing and releasing ´past impressions´ stored in the mind and body (4:26). As students focus upon the minute details of each pose the Vrittri of the mind quiets, the nervous system begins to relax, physical pain starts to dissipate while the past and future disappear into the the here and now of internal observation (Pratyhara) of each pose.
Asana literally means ´stable seat´. The practice of Asana should be a focused upon stability NOT complete execution of a pose. In the practice of Yoga Asana and Pranayama, even the most minute adjustments can help a student more fully enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of Yoga. Pain and discomfort should be communicated and modified. Remember, the very name ASANA means stable seat NOT nose to toes.
The purpose of Asana is to prepare the body for Pranayama and the experience of Dharana, Dhyana and Samahdi. At first there might be great resistance as the mind and body are forced to create new neuronal pathways and clean up past tension and pain stored in the body. Nonetheless, as a student perseveres in their practice, stability in the body will increase and consequently greater stability in breath (Pranayama) and mind (Dhyana, Dharana, Samahdi) will manifest.
How is the stability of Yoga Asana achieved?
The strongest and most stable form found both in nature and architecture is the arch. It achieves strength and STABILITY by creating a perfect balance between two opposing tensions. In all her great engineering wisdom, nature created the human body with 6 main arches that sit one on top of another and support each other. Via her her powerful Body Logic and Body rolling technique, Yamuka Zake teaches how the following arches are accomplished via spiral action.
- Foot Arches
- Pelvic Arch
- Inferior Thoracic Cage
- Superior Thoracic Cage
- Occipital and Pallette
The arches of support begin in the feet. The stability in the feet will create stability in the pelvis, the fulcrum of our movement and balance. Stability in the inferior arches of the feet and pelvis will then translate into fluid and stable movement in the superior arches of the thoracic spine, occipital lobe and the cranium. The strength of these arches is achieved through internal spiral movement, creating a perfect balance between two opposing tensions:
Spirals: The building blocks of nature
“There is no such thing as motion in a straight line” (Vivekananda Patanjali Sutras)
Spirals form the basis of stable movement and is a pattern that is repeated throughout all of nature from the golden ratio found in flowers and shells to our very DNA. Prana moves up along the shushuma (spine energy channel) in spirals along the negatively charged energy channels of the ida and positively charged pingala. The serpent of Kundalini sits spiraled up at the base of the spine, waiting to unwind via the practice of Yoga.
In Yoga Asana the concept of opposing tensions to create both flexibility and stability is found in all poses with the main goal being to create more length and extension along the spine, most commonly around the sacrum. For example in Uttita (EXTENDED) Trikonasana (Three angles) the feet press down and out in opposing directions to bring the energy up into the pelvis. This opening of the pelvis opens the sacrum to allow the student to then lengthen up along the spine through the ribcage then the skull. It is this lengthening of the spine that removes tension, improves breath and creates clarity in the mind. The practicing Yogi should always be looking for and adjusting for stability and extension of the spine rather than perfection or what appears to be complete pose execution. Never forget that the very name ASANA means stable seat. NOT nose to toes.
Come and feel for yourself and in your own body the power of internal spiral activation via the Karmuka Yoga and Yamuna Zake method by signing up for the Octubre 19th workshop or go further by reserving your spot in the Karmuka Yoga Training 100h /200h.