Asana is a Sanskrit word translated into English as a physical yoga position, posture, or pose. There is a difference though between the everyday usage of those words and asana.
Moving into an asana, the body moves consciously with fluid movement that is coordinated with the flow of breath. Asana is conscious movement into a traditional yoga pose. The movement is physically and mentally relaxed. Balanced equilibrium maintains the asana when it is held in a stable state. As the body and breath movements are synchronized in a relaxed way, a full awareness of both is developed. A steady asana is a portal to higher awareness of the body and mind.
A specific asana uses the movement to direct and infuse a particular part of the body with prana or vital energy. This can help relieve tension or tightness, heal, and create a much greater awareness of prana as blockages to its smooth flow are removed. As the awareness of the way the body moves deepens, bad habits and negative conditioning can be replaced with more conscious, positive movements of the body. Not all asana, or all styles, are suitable for everyone just as all medications are not for everyone.
Awareness is the heart of meditation and here the meditation object is the physical body.
We have described some simple hatha asanas here. It is often hard to differentiate between tight muscles (respond to stretching), tense muscles (respond to relaxation), and those that are both. It is hoped that these movements will be helpful. Repetitions help warm the joints and increase the range-of-motion. They may also help increase stamina. Holding an asana increases strength and endurance. It can also help increase stamina. The ones here are therapeutic and can be used as a complete practice, as warm-ups, or for flexibility.
As this is at a very gentle beginner's level, positions are not held. The purpose is to release tension, move slowly and fluidly, and to learn to synchronize physical movement (body) with breath awareness (mind). This synchronization is essential to release tension. Observing the body and mind as a spectator leads to a deeper understanding of both. The body and mind begin to learn to focus. More challenging physical positions should be done under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.
As with all physical activity, before you begin, please seek the advice of your doctor. This website and any person connected to it disclaims responsibility or liability for any injury or damage due to any activity described here.
For further information, please refer to the article What is Asana?.