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What Are Yoga Asanas

Updated on November 11, 2012
Denise DuBarry 1989
Denise DuBarry 1989 | Source

Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise. There are many benefits that yoga can bring to you. To practice yoga, you need to learn the asanas, or poses. But, first, you may want to understand just what they are.

When you practice yoga, you will learn to recognize and observe the reactions and habitual patterns of the mind, body, and breath. Will awareness of these processes will come the ability to slowly exchange them for more balanced patterns of movement, breathing and thinking.

The asanas, or poses, are geometric. They each have their own form and shape, They each have a clear action, sense of direction and center of gravity. For the asanas to work properly, there must be proper alignment. The pelvic and shoulder girdles must be balanced, which will help with the symmetry of the spine.

Standing poses will help increase vitality. The feet are rooted down to the earth. This will allow the legs and spine to lengthen and extend away from the feet.

Seated poses will enhance your sense of calm. The bottom of the pelvis is the foundation for these asanas. The spine should lift and elongate.

Mental strength is increased when inverted asanas are performed. The foundation is formed by the head, hands, or forearms. The torso will provide stability. And, the legs should lengthen.

Twisting asanas will help your body cleanse itself of unwanted substances. A sense of restfulness is gained from supine asanas. Prone poses will increase energy. If you perform a balancing pose you will gain a sense of lightness. Any asana that involved backbends will be exhilarating. And, if there is jumping involved in the asana, this will help develop agility.

Every action, in every asana, will have an equal and apposing reaction. If you only move in one direction, you will not create positive change in your body. If you do not have foundation, there can not be extension. The foundation is what makes the extension possible. It creates stability and space in the joints. A firm foundation will help lengthen the muscles and, most importantly, will help with the correct placement of the internal organs.

Practicing yoga can be a wonderful activity. However, you should be sure that you are performing the asanas, or poses, correctly. For this, you may need to attend a few classes. But, once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy the many benefits of a regular yoga practice.


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