Asanas : Asana is an old method of Yoga which makes the base of Pranayam, Dhyan and Smadhi. Asana word has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ass’ that means the art of sitting. According to the scripture ‘Yoga Sutra’ written by Patanjli, Asana is that situation of a person in which he can sit maximum for time comfortably.
Types of Asanas : Asanas are of many types. There is a great importance of asanas in Yoga. It can be classified into three groups on the basis of usefulness of different asanas-
1. Cultural Asana : Asanas which are performed to strengthen body are called Cultural Asana. Cultural Asana helps in making body strong, flaxible, active and more powerful because if body is not strong we shall not be able to perform any physical activity in an efficent manner. Chakra Asana, Hal Asana, Bhujang Asana, are some of the examples of Cultural Asanas.
2. Meditative Asana : These type of asana is used to do ‘smadhi’ or meditation. Body is kept in that situation under these asanas, in which it is comfortable for a long time and mind can be concentrated. Mind concentration can be increased with the help of these asanas and brain gets sharpened e.g. ‘Padam’ asana and ‘Vajra’ asana.
3. Relaxative Asana : These asanas are done in lying position. The objective of these asanas is to give relaxation to the body. These asanas remove bodily and mental fatigue e.g. ‘Shava’ asana and ‘Makra’ asana. Principles of Asanas : A person who does asanas, has to follow certain rules. We can avail full benefits of asanas, if we follow these rules. Some of the main rules of doing asanas are as following :
1. It is necessary to bring stretch in muscles while doing asanas. Flexibility is produced along with stretching of
the muscles. There is no use of doing asanas , if no stretch is produced while doing asanas.
2. It is necessary to consider the sex and age while doing asanas. Children should not do such difficult asanas
which should hamper their physical growth. Girls should not practise ‘mayur’ asana much as it puts a lot of pressure on stomach.
3. Do not exert much force while doing asanas. Body should be in a static and comfortable position.
4. Body should be bent slowly while doing asanas. Do not give jerks while doing asanas.
5. Asanas should be done according to progress. Simple asanas should be practiced first and difficult asanas afterwards.
6. Heart patients and pregnant women should not do difficult asanas.
7. The place for doing the practice of asanas should be clean and peaceful. Morning is the best time for doing asanas.
8. Asanas should be done empty stomach or four hours after taking meals.