The Asanas are part of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of classical Yoga. This post will concur with the view that Yoga Asanas are valuable tools for wellness and wellbeing. For full disclosure, I am not a Yoga instructor. I am a surgeon. So, what gives me the nerve to write this post? For the answer, please see the post on this site titled “7 Reasons to add Yoga to your toolbox for wellbeing”. I am now a Yoga enthusiast after taking a semester course at one of the junior colleges in Montgomery county Maryland where I reside. Yoga is not part of the mainstream traditional Medical School curriculum. However, there is a large body of evidence that when practiced after receiving appropriate lessons and instructions from a certified professional Yogi or Yogini, and after consulting with your doctor about any contraindications, yoga is a very valuable tool for attaining and maintaining healthy living.
Asana, which literally translates to “seat”, is broadly defined as any of the yogic postures or movements. When performed appropriately, the poses should be rhythmic, steady, comfortable, solid, but also relaxed and refreshing. The movements and postures should help the practitioners to become more aware of not only their bodies, but of their mind and environment. Thus, the practitioners would realize that yoga Asanas are valuable tools for wellness and wellbeing. As in all yoga practices, the purpose of the Asanas is not simply to exercise the muscles by stretching and bending the limbs, torso and other parts of the body. Yes, yoga helps to develop flexibility, endurance, balance, improved muscle tone and even improved muscle strength. However, after all said and done, in addition to to the aforementioned features, the purpose of yoga is to produce mind-body balance, inner satisfaction and ultimately, wellness and wellbeing.
Pranayama is also one of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. Prana is the Sanskrit word for”life force”, “life energy” or “vital principle”. “Ayama” means control. Thus, “Pranayama” means control of breath. Breathing should be incorporated into yoga practice. The oxygen requirements for our body changes depending on the intensity of our activities. So, the breathing practices during the asanas not only energizes us, in the long run it improves lung function.
Meditation is a part of yoga, which according to many yoga practitioners should ideally be practiced after yoga asanas. There are several benefits of meditation. These include improved focus and concentration, improved resilience and hope, stress reduction and inner peace and calmness. Thus, the combination of asanas and meditation takes the notion that yoga Asanas are valuable tools for wellness and wellbeing to another level.
So, in the practice of Asanas, one should pay attention to the following:
Perform different types of movements the same sessions as to produce not just variety, but balance.
- As you increase the intensity of the practice, listen to your body and stop or pull back if discomfort sets in.
Be aware of stability and neutral position of the curves of the spine. Practice postures and movements whose yield would help elongation of the spine rather than collapse of the spin. The information contained in this blog post can contribute to the enhancement of your effort to avoid physical, mental and emotional rust and to maintain a sharp mind. The ads on the right side of this page deal with physical and mental fitness, exercise equipments and tools, healthy diets, books on healthy living, wellness and wellbeing. Please feel free to check them out. Also, I look forward to your comments about this post. So, eat healthy, keep moving, practice yoga asanas at least three times a week, 45 minutes to one hour per session, keep learning new things and you are on your way to wellness and you would avoid rust.