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Everything You Need to Know About Asanas

Yoga asanas

When people talk about yoga, it’s not uncommon for the word ‘asanas’ to be used. But what exactly are they? To put it simply, an asana is a physical posture used within yoga to benefit the body in one way or another. Some yoga classes may refer to asanas as ‘yoga poses’ or ‘postures’, although ‘asana’ is the traditional Sanskrit term. In most circumstances, asanas are used purely for health purposes. Technically, they can be categorized as a form of exercise; however, they are designed to benefit the body in a different way to cardiovascular workouts. While most physical exercise focusses on physical being, asanas are designed to improve concentration, relaxation, and self-awareness, too. In this article, we explore asanas in more detail and discuss the benefits associated with some of the world’s most popular poses. To gain maximum benefit from each asana, it’s important to wear breathable yoga clothes throughout your workout.

What are Asanas?

As mentioned previously, asanas can be described as physical postures that are used to benefit the body. The exercises are often used to increase strength and endurance, though they also boast a range of other health benefits, too. For instance, certain asanas can improve energy flow and circulation, stretch out muscle groups, and even cleanse the body. Today, many people practice yoga for the aforementioned benefits; however, these benefits were not the original intention of asanas. Traditionally, the postures were held to encourage a healthier body and mind. It was believed that regular yoga practice could release stress, tension, and even illness from the body. In turn, they were able to achieve health and happiness.

Today, there are many different varieties of yoga. Some varieties focus on breathing techniques, while others concentrate on asanas. Hatha Yoga is famous for emphasizing the physical poses. Additionally, those practicing Hatha are encouraged to bring their goals and expectations into the asanas. This step is designed to connect students to the practice on a deeper level. Today, many Westerners incorporate yoga into their daily workout. Instead of using asanas for their traditional benefits, many people choose to focus on the benefits that yoga can bring to their physical appearance. Although the benefits of yoga can still be achieved this way, losing the holistic connection prevents people from achieving a sense of wholeness – the original intention of asanas.

Effects and Benefits

To gain maximum benefit from asanas, the mind and body should be encouraged to work together. Additionally, it’s important for individuals to perform at their own rate. Complete beginners may need to start off with a few simple stretches, while experienced yogis will benefit from more complex postures. An experienced instructor will advise you on how to gain maximum benefit from each asana without causing distress to your muscles. Like all forms of exercise, yoga is designed to have a positive effect on the body. With this in mind, it’s important for students to develop at their own rate and never push their body too far. If a certain asana begins to feel uncomfortable, your instructor will advise you to stop and move onto the next one. In Hatha, each posture is performed slowly; this allows students time to assess how each asana feels before pushing their muscles too far.

In yoga classes today, students are encouraged to practice a range of different asanas. With each posture boasting its own benefits, a varied routine will allow yogis to reap the benefits of each one. Typically, standing asanas are designed to improve flexibility within the muscles and joints. The simple nature of these exercises makes them ideal for novices. Forward and backward bending asanas are also popular. Unlike standing postures, these exercises are often complex in nature; because of this, bending asanas are ideal for more experienced yogis with a higher level of flexibility. For those flexible enough to attempt them, bending asanas bring a variety of great health benefits including increased mobility, stimulation of the internal organs, and even stress relief.

Yoga asanas

Popular Asanas and Their Benefits

Chair Pose

Particularly popular amongst athletes, Chair Pose helps to tone the muscles in your thighs, calves, and back. Additionally, the position is great for stretching out the chest and shoulders and also stimulating the heart, digestive organs, and diaphragm.

Tree Pose

Though simple in nature, Tree Pose boasts an array of great health benefits. For instance, the exercise improves the alignment of your spine, your sense of balance, and even your weight distribution.

Downward Dog

One of the most renowned asanas of all time, Downward Facing Dog supplies the brain with fresh, oxygenated blood. Additionally, the exercise works to decompress the spine. Practicing this asana for just a few minutes each day can help to calm both the body and mind.

Corpse Pose

A favorite of many yogis, corpse pose is perfect to end your routine with. The asana is thought to rejuvenate the body and mind after your workout, while also allowing you time to focus on your own self-awareness. Benefits of the pose include lowered blood pressure and high-level stress relief.

Childs Pose

Referred to as a resting pose, Childs Pose also great for relieving stress and anxiety. Loved for it’s restorative and calming nature, Childs Pose is often used to relax after a hectic day.

In Summary

Today, asanas remain one of the most important parts of any yoga practice. Whether you’re hoping to improve the function of your internal organs or interested in using the holistic treatment to achieve inner peace, practicing asanas regularly can help you to achieve your goal. For best results, it’s important to wear flexible yoga clothes when practicing. Regular sportswear may restrict your movement, preventing you from enjoying the full benefit of the alternative therapy.

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