When we say the word yoga, it can be best explained through the 8 Limbs of Yoga. The 3rd limb, asana describes the physical postures of yoga which is what we will focus on in this post. Yoga asanas bring balance and equilibrium to not only the body, but also the mind. Ayurveda and Yoga are called sister sciences; Ayurveda deals with the physical health of a person while Yoga deals with a person’s the mental and spiritual health. The practice of yoga is considered a chikitsa or treatment used in Ayurveda. Thusly, yoga is considered both a preventative and curative practice.
Asanas or yoga postures are the union of body, mind and breath. When we practice asanas, our mind must focus on the physical action of the posture while also remaining steady so that we can hold the pose. Asanas strengthen as well as stretch the muscles of the body. They bring integrity to the spine and create suppleness in the joints. Asanas are simultaneously relaxing and energizing to the body and can tone, strengthen and add flexibility to the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
In Ayurveda, yoga asanas are used as a therapy or treatment. The physical postures can be used to address a variety of chronic ailments, structural body problems and specific dis-ease manifestations. Yoga has been studied for its effects on heart disease, asthma, hypertension, back and neck pain, stress, scoliosis, arthritis, diabetes, constipation and digestive problems, insomnia, fatigue, hypo and hyperthyroidism as well was emotional unrest. Ayurveda views yoga asanas as having the greatest impact on the glandular, nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems of the body. On a subtle level it increases prana or the life-force energy. In fact, one of the most important aspects of Ayurveda Yoga is the flow of prana or breath during asana practice.
Now asanas aren’t the only part of our yoga practice. In Ayurveda, the emphasis is to be placed more on the other limbs of yoga such as pranayama, meditation and mantra. It can be easy to focus too much the physical postures and thusly, the ego. This can lead to injury, imbalances, blockages and self-consciousness. It is important to perform asanas in an optimal way by enjoying the journey of learning asana and not the goal of the final “advanced” posture. Don’t worry about perfecting the pose. Worry more about feeling your body, focusing your mind, and expanding your breath/prana. If we practice asanas forcefully or with a sense of achievement and perfection, we create tension not only in the body but also the mind.
In Ayurveda, yoga asanas are tailored to each person just like all Ayurvedic practices and protocols are. What is right for one person will not necessarily be right for the next. It is important to practice yoga in a way that is considered balancing to your dosha. Schedule an Ayurvedic Yoga Class with us to discovered the most balancing yoga practice for your unique constitution.