Yogasan in ancient books

GHERANDA SAMHITA – late 17th century CE (32 Asan)

32 useful âsana in the world of mortals

Siddhâsana, Padmâsana, Bhadrâsana, Muktâsana, Vajrâsana, Swastikâsana, Simhâsana, Gomukhâsana, Veerâsana, Dhanurâsana, Mritâsana, Guptâsana, Matsyâsana, Matsyendrâsana, Paschimottanâsana, Gorakshâsana, Utkatâsana, Sankatâsana, Mayurâsana, Kukkutâsana, Kurmâsana, Uttanakurmâsana, Mandukâsana, Uttanamandukâsana, Vrikshâsana, Garudâsana, Vrsabhâsana, Salabhâsana, Makarâsana, Ushtrâsana, Bhujangâsana, Yogâsana

HATHA YOGA PRADEPIKA – 15th century CE (15 Asan)

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika specifies that of these 84, the first four are ...

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Asan – A Seat or A Posture?

The word Asan has been derived from Sanskrit root, literally had two distinct meaning.

Firstly, it denotes the “Seat” on which the practitioner (sadhaka) sits for his/her practice.

Secondly, it implies different bodily postures used during Yoga Sadhana (practice).

Asan is earth, the stability, grounding, and alignment. By grounding the body, our mind is also grounded and begins to quiet. Whatever touches the ground is solid and draws energy upwards (through rebounding and Bandha.

The number of asana equals to the number of species.

Almighty lord Shiva has described eighty-four ...

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Instructor should always design beginner classes keeping following points in mind.

  1. Beginner’s should always make sure that they always attend the class that include yoga warm-up for first 15 minutes or Sun Salutations where you exhibit fast movements and in all directions like bending forward, bending backward, bending sideways, rotation/twisting, and  include all the major joints mobilisation.
  2. Beginners should start up with asana require broader base to aid grounding. More contact points assist grounding such as sitting, supine, prone and standing (both feet) postures.
  3. Beginners should be told to contract the muscles that wrap around and insert in the joints this help to keep them taut and reinforce joint stability, preventing injury. This limits flexibility but over the years creates strong connective tissue and great awareness which will one day allow the experienced practitioners to relax the muscles safely. This allows greater awareness to grow as energy moves more efficiently in an open body.
  4. The weight of the spine must be supported by limbs (partially legs) or Bandha and pelvis (moves before spine). Sight and Head placement changes spinal shape and centre of gravity.
  5. Equal measures of strength and flexibility must be obtained that means strength must not be sacrificed or replaced by flexibility instead strength must be unrealised to gain flexibility. Example, in Utkatasana, it’s more important to stand still with knees translating over second toe and torso aligned close to vertical instead of attempting to lower the pelvis with torso leaning forward.
  6. Co contraction around the joints improves joint stability and strength. Contraction of the opposite muscles to that you are stretching improves it’s elasticity through Reciprocal Inhibition.
  7. Engage the core muscles of your trunk and abdominal muscles in and up helps support your back and prevent injury, engaging them builds strength and helps prevent the kind of injuries that occur while you’re practicing an asana.
  8. Centre of balance: Head placement changes centre of gravity and spinal curves.
    • Standing/sitting poses: pelvis connection Mula Bandha
    • Hand balances: Floating ribs anchoring and connection, Uddiyana Bandha
    • Inversions: upper palate connection Jalandhara Bandha
    • Supine/prone: pelvis connection Mula Bandha
    • Forward Bends: Sternum and pelvis connection Uddiyana Bandha.
    • Back Bends: sacrum connection Mula Bandha
  9. Breathe: Breath is invigorating and allows fresh prana (energy) to enter the system. Breath should be smooth never laboured. Breathing in asana relaxes your body and bring much-needed oxygen to your muscles, which is important in every Yogasana. 
    • Inhalation extend (straightens) the spine and expand the chest.
    • Exhalation flex (rounds) the spine, retracts the chest and draws in the abdomen (assisting in protecting the lumbar spine).
    • If the breath shortens or becomes raspy, change the intensity of the practice.
  10. Rules:
    • Practise before 30 mins or after 3 hours to your meal except Vajrasana that can be practiced immediately after meal to improve digestion.
    • Empty the bowel and bladder before practice of asana.

5 Keys to a Successful Yoga Practice

  1. Eat a small protein-based snack no-less than 45 minutes before your practice; You want to avoid feeling sluggish and uncomfortable during your practice but a little energy food such as protein powder blended with water, can be helpful for yoga teachers or students who follow strict vegetarian diet.
  2. Avoid over-stretching; Going for that extra inch in to an asana may compromise the integrity of your joints and ligaments.
  3. Harness your wandering mind; Even if you’re tired, focus on your body and breathing ...
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