This week, the third of Patanjali’s 8 limbs –Asana, the physical yoga poses and postures we work with to give the mind something to focus on and also work the physical and subtle body. The asana are the most commonly known aspect of yoga however traditionally asana was only 1 aspect of yoga – and in the yoga sutras it’s simply referred to as ‘steady, easy seat’ which was used by yogis to sit, in padmasana or lotus pose, for long periods of meditation.
Today asana is what we associate yoga with, having evolved from a steady, easy seat to the many poses with many more variations, we know today… and while we may come to yoga for the physical benefits of the postures we soon find they provide us with a vehicle in which to become more aware of ourselves and also a point of focus to help us train our monkey minds to be familiar and comfortable with some stillness. So it can become a form of meditation as well as prepare us for quietening the mind in meditation.
Reflecting this week on how you utilise your yoga asana, the poses we work with, to train the mind towards focus and the ability to be still. Do you breathe with the pose, or focus on the feeling the pose bring to particular areas or muscle of the body, perhaps you breathe into the stretch or simply follow the breath.
Resolving this week to stay with your practice, use the asana as a vehicle for the mind to focus, on the pose, the sensations in the body or the breath.