Asanas are the yoga postures that most people think of when they hear the word yoga. The practice of asanas keeps the physical body flexable and healthy. The asanas help to massage the internal organs flex the musles and ligaments, and also helps to activate and to energize the chakras. The chakras are the bodies etheric energy power centres that generally collate to the bodies endocrine glandular system. From practicing asanas the spine stays supple, the energy flow in the body improves, and the unity between mind and body improves. From practicing asanas they have a far reaching effect on the psycho-physical aspect of our being, especially when combined with pranayama and meditation. In the words of Swami Ramdev “yoga asanas are the hardware and pranayamas the software” of our body computer. The Pranyog classes are based upon these principles.
variety of asanas have different affects upon various internal
organs, and many health conditions can improve. Even today
the UK government recommends 30 minutes moderate daily exercise
for everyone as keeping physically fit helps to keep illness
and disease at bay, and also helps to maintain weight. Asanas
can also not only help to keep the body flexable but also
helps to build stamina and to give a mild cardio-vascular
When many people think of yoga they may well think of complicated contortionist type postures. This is not the case with the yoga and the asanas as taught in the Nottingham yoga classes. The yoga is simple, suitable for all ages, and each individual is allowed to go at their own pace.
Following are a few health and safety pointers that Pranyog yoga teachers make their class aware of:
1.) DO NOT FORCE YOUR BODY under any circumstances. This is a great mistake which does more harm than you can imagine. Work slowly with your body. Respect its limits. These limits will gradually extend and your limits too. The body will get the message, and the tension which is preventing you from proceeding will gradually be released. Do not engage in negative dialogue with yourself as you explore the poses.
2.) BE REGULAR in you practice. (Daily.) A few times a week is not enough if you really want to heal, to transform, or develop your body.
3.) DO NOT CONTINUE ANY EXERCISE WHICH CAUSES PAIN. Checkwith your doctor or yoga instructor what you should do. Pain is a message from the body which must be listened to. In some cases it may simply be the body’s process of changing. In such cases, you simply need to bear with it and continue (without forcing) and it will gradually pass. In other cases you may be doing harm to some part of your body and may have to stop, and do some other preparatory exercises before returning to that one. If you feel dizzy or nauseous while practicing yoga, stop. If you feel any tingling or numbing sensation while practicing, stop.
4.) REMOVE ALL JEWELRY AND TIGHT CLOTHING. Let your body be free of any restrictions. Find some loose, comfortable clothing or dance tights for exercising.
5.) BE CONSCIOUS AND CONCENTRATE on what you are doing. Keep your mind on feeling what is happening in the body and concentrate on your breath and position. Do not think about other things or talk to anyone while exercising, just try to concentrate on yourself and ignore what is going on around you.
6.) GIVE IMPORTANCE TO YOUR BREATHING. Each exercise has a specific way of breathing. This is an extremely important aspect of the exercise. In many cases, it is even more important than the physical movements themselves. Be conscious of your breathing and breathe slowly and deeply, according to the instructions for each exercise. In general (with some exceptions) we inhale when we stretch upward or backward and exhale when we bend downward or forward.
7.) COMPLETE YOUR EXERCISE SERIES WITH DEEP BREATHING and if possible with deep relaxation.
8.) AVOID EXERCISING AT LEAST THREE MONTHS AFTER SURGERY unless you have specific permission from your doctor. Some exercises should be resumed only 6 months after surgery, unless you have your doctor’s permission to start earlier. Also, avoid all exercises at any time when you suspect internal bleeding or an inflamed appendix.
9.) ALLOW YOUR ATTENTION to flow through the body as you become aware of each muscle and the tension and energy stored there and allow that energy to flow and the muscle relax. © PYP (UK) TRUST
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali there are the eight limbs of yoga.
1.) yamas - restrictions. These relate to the external world, and self-control. Ahimsa being the main yamas, meaning harmlessless, non-injury to any living creature in action, word, or thought.
2.) niyamas - observances. These relate more to the internal world, surrender, study of scriptures, contentment and inner purification.
3.) asanas - yoga postures. Although asanas are achieved from movement into the posture, it is the holding the posture that possibly plays the important role, as stability of asana is needed for meditation.
4.) pranayama -breath/prana exercises
5.) pratyahara -sense withdrawal. This happens naturally from practicing the previous limbs, that from yama, niyamas, asana, being able to hold a posture, and pranayama aiding the consciousness of the individual to become internalized thus being able to withdraw the senses. As the senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell are naturally withdrawn the individual is taken to the next limb dharana – concentration, and then dhyana - meditation, and from continual practice eventually the absorption of deep comtemplation and then illumination – Samadhi, God-Realization.
6.) dharana - concentration
7.) dhyana- meditation
8.) samadhi - realization of the Self or Atman, unity with God