1 April 2014

Anatomy Asana Alignment and Yoga


With this I begin my happy april blogging spree with good wishes to all my fellow bloggers and readers.
This is an offering of 26 pearls that are to me the very essence of life- yoga. Today we can start our little journey and look at anatomy, asanas and alignment in yoga.

Over the years many a yoga guru has taught me in person or through their writings and I thank all of them. My posts are distilled from this learning and the personal inquiry which is an outcome of it.

The subject of yoga is the self and this self resides in a physical body. Integration of mind, body and breath is its core.. A key element that differentiates yoga practice from many an exercise regimen is the intentional integration of breath, posture and movement.

Many a session have I taught and when I gently invite the students to be aware of their anatomy, not just the flesh, bone, muscle, sinew but also the soft organs housed within, some take to it like a duck to water while some find it a little strange.
         Why should it be strange I wonder, yoga is not something airy, removed from reality. Not at all. For yoga practitioners, anatomical awareness is a powerful tool for keeping the body safe, our minds grounded in reality.

Asanas are perceived far and wide as a contortion of the physical body to achieve flexibility and even weight loss if undertaken at a faster pace with lesser interim resting periods. One out of the eight limbs of yoga, asana, literally means seat. Originally ascetics sat or stood long durations whilst engaged in meditation and this required the body to be nimble and fit. Having seen that animals abound in energy and natural fitness, the ascetics adopted postures imitating many a creature to be able to maintain an easy stillness. So asanas were a means to an end.

The yoga I practice and teach, involves awareness of the prime mover and shaker of our lives, the breath as it flows all through the body moving and energising each cell, if we allow it to flow unhindered. Moving into asanas, staying in the posture and finally moving out, all require us to stay constantly mindful of what is happening within us. As the base of a structure needs be strong so also the base of each asana. If the feet and legs are not firmly placed and connected to the ground the rest of the asana will be a house of cards, easily toppled.

Are the various limbs and torso aligned fluidly? Only if the entire body is aligned with its other parts is when we are allowing energy and prana to traverse us undeterred.

I could go on and on but this is enough for today.

The picture of the butterfly below is by an artist friend Humna Mustafa. The art emerges from her inner recesses and pours out beauty on any medium at hand, much to the delight of the people who know of and enjoy her work. Inner beauty spilling out in such perfection is yoga being lived out.In my posts you will see her art and others too.

Below link will take you to all the other blogs participating in the April blog challenge. There is a huge variety of theme and the bloggers have worked with great interest to bring you well written, interesting posts.

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