Asana is the third limb on your Eight-Limbed journey.
In Raja Yoga, or the “Royal” Path of Yoga, focused on the practical application of the Yoga Sutras and Yogic Sciences, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice for the sake of spiritual liberation (also sometimes called Eight-Limbed Yoga, the Eightfold Path of Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga, which is not to be confused with the Asana practice of the same name), Asanas are described by the revered Sage Patanjali as “steady, comfortable posture” in Sutra 2.46. This “steady, comfortable posture” is preparation for Meditation that leads to Samadhi/Self-Realization.
In Hatha Yoga (the most popular, common, and well-known form of Yoga practiced in modern times and in Western cultures, focused on the use of Asanas (as well as Pranayamas, Bandhas, Shatkarmas, and Mudras when practiced in full) to obtain higher states of being and consciousness after clearing the body’s energy channels, Asanas (which have now been synonymously equated with the word Yoga itself in colloquial language due to Hatha Yoga’s popularity) are practiced even before Yamas and Niyamas to open psychic and energetic channels before then graduating to the just mentioned preceding wisdom-based limbs on the Eight-Limbed Path and eventually moving to limbs 5-8 (for serious practitioners who go beyond basic physical exercise in their Yoga practice).
In Hatha Yoga (and the other physically focused Asana-based practices–that we will explore in this course), the use of Asanas and Pranayamas, etc, are well studied and performed as means by which to get the body’s energy systems regulated and unrestricted, as noted before. And it is this regulation of energy, according to Sutra 2.46’s implication, that prepares a practitioner’s body-mind to withdraw inwardly to sit for extended periods of time in meditation in order to obtain higher states of awareness and expression (once the necessary preparations have been made to master her/his use of her/his energy, of course).
Since Asana practice, therefore, is such an important part of any Yoga practice (Raja, Hatha, and almost all other paths, recognizing the physical nature of humans’ presence here on Earth, and how all aspects of one’s personal expression are inextricably connected as one full being), this course provides you with the foundational knowledge required to get started with safely crafting your own personal Asana routine and engaging with group Asana Classes in structured settings so that you can make the necessary preparations for success in Meditation that leads to Samadhi that then prepares you for Union/Liberation which is the goal of the Eight-Limbed path (if that is your goal for practicing…otherwise, you can simply approach this course as preparation for learning the foundations for effective stretching/movement that will support and empower you with the basic knowledge on how you to create, maintain, and promote health and stability in your physical body).
Grab your mat, and let’s get started!
- Commitment to practice.
- A clean, dry, spacious (as much as you can spare at any given moment), and distraction-free space to practice in is recommended.
- Yoga mat, rug, or body sized blanket.
- Optional materials/supplies as mentioned in this course.