What Is An Asana And Why Is It Important
We’ve been introduced to a few words unfamiliar (check out our other posts on meditation on our dashboard if you haven’t yet). Meditation, its forms and branches came from countries whose native tongue isn’t English and the early pioneers of it had wanted to keep the integrity of some of these words to avoid losing their original meaning if translated to a different language.
Another word we will be introducing: Asana. So what is it exactly? It is a bodily posture and pose we adapt when doing meditation or yoga. Furthermore, it originally referred to a sitting position, but was later broadened to involve various positions such as standing, reclining, lying down, etc.
The Difference Between Asana And Plain Sitting Down
We understand that to sit down is something that you wouldn’t need any form of training to do. It happens naturally and for a lot of us, we had taught ourselves how to sit before learning how to walk.
In addition to that, It’s a very natural body movement. When we are tired, we sit. If we work in the corporate world and spend our office hours on our desks, we’re seated for most of the time. During moments when we feel like taking a break, having a cup of coffee, of eating good food, we sit. It’s so ordinary, we may not feel like it is something we need to give time to in study, when it comes to meditation.
We Forget The Good It Does Us
Sitting down is so frequently done during any part of the day, we often forget how it is so crucially beneficial to us. Imagine standing the entire day, running errands, shopping, or being upright in the subway, and then comes the instant when you can finally get yourself propped on a chair (or couch, whatever it may be), to sit down. You always immediately feel relief from a long, hard day of work and errands once you’re seated.
The Different Types Of Asana
(for the purpose of the blog alone, we’d like to focus on the Five Basic Types Of Asana)
Also known as a pleasant and decent pose, its Sanskit root word “sukha” means “comfort”. It may look like a simple cross-legged sitting posture, but if we break it down, it is sitting while your left leg is folded to touch your right thigh, and your thigh is folded to touch your left. One leg on top of the other. Your spine is benefitted from this pose because it opens it up and stretches it out. You will not feel any tension in your lower back, and will find that even if you tilt your head backward or forward, you will still feel very comfortable in this pose.
This is also known as The Accomplished Pose, the word “siddha” meaning “adept”. This is done by folding one leg inward towards your thigh and putting your foot under your perineum (right under the crotch area). Do the same with the opposite leg and foot. It has been said that Siddhasana should be practiced regularly because of its inner cleansing effect.
“Each Asana vibrates at a specific frequency” – Sharon Gannon, The Art Of Yoga
Things are getting a bit more heated up now. Called The Thunderbolt Pose, “vajra” meaning “firm” or “diamond-like”, you might need to consult your doctor first before doing this, especially if you have a history of back injury or knee and joint problems. Start by kneeling on the floor with your back straight and comfortable. Both knees and legs should be side by side. Let your core pull you up and keep you alert. Fold and tuck your feet in and under your buttocks.
4. Ardha Padmasana
“Ardha” means “half” and “Padma” means “lotus”. Let one leg fold inside and set your foot on top of the opposite thigh. Do the same with the other leg. Now place your right hand on your right knee, your left hand on your left knee. Put your right hand over your right knee, and your left hand over your left knee.
This is called the “full lotus” position. Further, when you do the Adha Padmasana, fold you leg and let your foot rest on the opposite, and do the same for the other. Now let the tip of your forefinger and thumb touch each other (forming a number 3 or an inverted “okay” sign). It’s said that this position allows one to be in such for long periods without feeling tired.