Asana are dynamic posture that also facilitates an individual to bring harmony between body, mind and spirit. Yogasana awakens the subtle energies in the body. Yogasana not only confined to physical level only but also involve spiritual progress.
The objectives of practice of yoga postures or position (Asana) is to open and purify the energy centers (Chakras) and energy channels (Nadis). As we have seen, "Ha" stands for Ida nadi, and "tha" means Pingala Nadi. Nadi means psychic payway of energy. So, asana and pranayama balance the Ida and the Pingala Nadi, i.e. the balancing of mental energy of Ida and Vital energy of Pingala Nadi. At the subtle level, Ida nadi and Pngala nadi are compare with Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous Systems respectively. So, the practice of Hatha yoga balances whole nervous system. During the asana, every Chakra creates a connection to the corresponding subtle energies from the Universe.
The exercises (action) of Yoga are designed to put pressure on the Glandular Systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health. It strengthens the spinal cord, energizes the inner cells and activates the whole nervous system. It allows us to use the body as an instrument of higher awareness, so that we can receive wisdom and knowledge.
Right Channel. Positive force – flow of vital energy- Masculine- Hot-Represents the sun-Originating in Muladhara-Pingala ends up in the right nostril.
Central Channel- Neutral force – flow of spiritual energy.
Left Channel- Negative force – flow of consciousness- Feminine- Cold- Represents the moon- Originating in Muladhara- Ida ends up in the left nostril.
Principles and philosophy on which asana based
The inverted postures and the reverse posture take benefits of gravity to increase the flow of blood to the desired part of the body. e.g. in the headstand to the brain, in the shoulder stand to the thyroid gland and in the reverse posture to the sex glands.
The position of the asana causes a squeezing action on a specific organ or gland that ultimately results in the stimulation of that part of the body.
Stretching muscles and ligaments
Stretching has beneficial effects on the body. Stretching muscles and ligaments results to increase in blood supply to the muscles, ligaments and relax them by alleviating tension, pressure in the nerves of that area.
During retaining the yoga posture breathes is slow and deep. This increases the oxygen and prana supply to the target organ or gland.
During slowly and deeply breathing the attention is focused on the target organ or gland. This brings the mind into play, and greatly increases the circulation and prana supply to the organ or gland.
What is the secret of vitality and rejuvenation?
A healthy central nervous system (brain and spine), healthy glands and healthy internal organs are the secret of vitality and rejuvenation. The purpose of the yoga exercises is to recondition the system, both mind and body, and to develop the nervous and glandular systems.
Healthy Central Nervous System
C.N.S. Central Nervous System is consist of Brain and Spine.
weight of Human brain is about 1.5 kg.(3 pounds) and enclosed in the skull (cranial) cavity. It has 3 membranes covering it, called as meninges.
Dura Matter (Tough Matter):
The outer membrane, it is tough, protective covering. Archenoid (web like): the middle delicate membrane. Piamatter (Soft Matter): This innermost transparent membrane contains blood vessels (nutritive in function). Between the bony and membranous coverings, there is cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a protective internal cushion. The bony skull, meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain from external injury and shocks.
The spinal cord extends from the medulla or brain stem up to the second lumber vertebra, and is about 40 cm long. The spinal cord is a hollow oval shaped cylinder, tapering slightly as it descends.
Since the nerves from the spine go to all the organs and glands of the body, a healthy spine plays a crucial role in vitality and rejuvenation.
In our body brain is given protection by skull bone, but the spinal nerves do not have protection against mechanical insults as the brain has. At the intervertebral foramina the spinal nerves leave the spine, this is a very vulnerable area. If a vertebra is slightly out of place, it may pinch the nerves in the intervertebral foramina leading to the deterioration of spinal nerves and manifestation of the organic disease.
Yoga asana keeps the spine flexible and so, there would be much less chance of spinal misalignments. Even some asana has curative and correcting effects on vertebral misalignments. Since the root cause of a disease lies in the mistake of the individual, its cure also lies in correcting those mistakes by the same individual. Thus, it is an individual himself who is responsible for both causing as well as for curing the disease. If the diseases are the out come of our wrong posture, we need to correct the posture that improves the spine's flexibility. If we not improve the wrong posture the spine gets deteriorated leading the further deterioration of our organs and glands.
Healthy Endocrine Glands
In human body exocrine and endocrine glands produce chemical components called as Hormones. The most important glands in our body are the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, thyroid, thymus, adrenal, pancreas and sex glands. The hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands are situated in the brain, the thyroid is in the neck area, the thymus in the chest, the adrenals and pancreas in the solar plexus area and the sex glands in the pelvic region.
The function of these glands is so vital, it secretes hormones which control human growth, weight and size. They also determine metabolism, vitality, sexual vigor and emotional state in human. Since the hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands are situated in the brain, the asana like, headstand has a powerful effect on them.
The shoulder stand is specific for the thyroid gland and will prevent and help cure thyroid gland problems. The reverse posture stimulates the sex glands and therefore the production of the sex hormones.
The twist asana benefits the spine, adrenal glands, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
Healthy Internal Organs
As we have seen that the asana has the remarkable effects on the brain, spine and glands.
Asana also has great curative and corrective effects on internal organs by massaging and stimulating them.
The stretching of the joints in asana has good curative and corrective effects on arthritis.
It (stretching) causes the secretion of a lubricant called synovial fluid which reduces the stiffness.
During the asana skin is stretched and stimulated leads to the healthier skin and safeguards the skin from the wrinkles. Asana also massages the digestive organs by contracting and stretching them that sets its functioning at peak efficiency.
Don’t be discouraged by some initial mistakes, and don’t drop the practice in panic. You will learn slowly. consult yoga teacher/ expert before trying yoga asanas or pranayama for preventing injury.
Hatha Yoga Traditional Directions for Performing Yoga Asana
* Stomach should be empty.
* A glass of fresh water should be taken before performing asanas.
* Yoga Asanas can be performed 8 hours after a meal, 2 hours after a glass of milk and one hour after eating fruit.
* Always perform asanas early in the morning or in the evening.
* Don't streach too much while performing asanas.
* Don't go in the cold just after performing asanas.
* Lower the head and other parts of the body slowly; in particular, raised heels should be lowered slowly.
* If the body is stressed, perform Shavasana.
* Perform yoga asana in clean and ventilated room.
* Light physical exercises, followed by yoga asana, pranayama and meditation is the ideal sequence.
* inverted poses, are to be avoided during menstruation. In contrast, modern teachers do recommend Yogasana for relief from cramps during this period. Although it is traditionally taught not to invert against the flow.
* Yoga During Pregnancy- During pregnancy, after the first 3 months, exercises that require lying on stomach are to be avoided.