Saturday, March 4, 2017

INTRODUCTION TO ASANAS, Jack Wexler

The first task in doing asanas is to connect with your body.  You will need to be able to take your attention into your body, perceive the position and condition of each part, and then consciously take each part toward the position required by each asana.  You will also need to be able to allow an energy flow into and through each part.

You will not be able to do this immediately.  It takes considerable practice and persistence to accomplish the above.

Everyone wants to do asanas perfectly right away.  To do this we propel our bodies in the way of least resistence and try to throw ourselves into the position.  This will not bring the desired results and is about as reasonable as expecting oneself to evolve into a perfect being over night.  It is possible, but not likely.

It does not matter whether or not you can do the asana.  What matters is that you take time to reconnect with your body and work in a correct way toward doing the asana.  When you can move with complete consciousness and ease into an asana, then you will be able to do the asana perfectly and you will achieve the desired results of health and well-being.

Doing an asana is similar to aiming an arrow.  If the bow is drawn with consciousness and ease, the arrow automatically hits its target.

Most of us are out of touch with our bodies to a greater or lesser extent.  As soon as our bodies fully develop they start to die, or become less alive.  The life energy available to us at puberty, survival, relationships with others, work, environment, the inherent condition in which we arrived in life, and many other factors have shaped each body in its own particular way.  Our past and current mental and emotional states are also reflected in our bodies.  This is what we have to work through in order to perfect asanas.

However, each body has as its essence a divine form.  The divine form is not unlike the physical form which we know, but it is without the limitations which we ordinarily function with in life.

By practicing asanas we come closer and closer to reflecting various aspects of God or divinity.  Through this reflection, purification gradually takes place and we are able to live more in accordance with Truth.

Preparation for Doing Asanas

Have a set time and place that is quiet and undisturbed.  Wear clean, comfortable, free-moving clothing.

Do not eat before asana practice.  Allow 1-4 hours depending on what and how much was eaten.

After asana practice wait atleast one hour before eating.

As possible, empty bowels and bladder before practice.

Place yourself on a blanket, towel, or mat to practice asanas.

Do not wear contact lenses for practice if there is any irritation.

Do not practice asanas during the menstrual period.

Do not practice asanas while on heavy antibiotics.

Do not practice asanas after the fourth month of pregnancy or before three months after delivery.


Method of Practice

Begin each practice period by taking up Easy Pose and taking atleast three deep breaths to take your attention inside, relax your body, and steady your mind.  Then offer your practice to Guru or God.  At the end of your practice period give thanks to Guru or God.

Do each asana three or four times, or hold one to three minutes, depending on the asana and your ability.  Relax and breathe between asanas.

Keep a balance in your movements.  Do approximately two forward movements to one backward movement; one left to one right movement.  It takes slightly more forward bending than backward bending to bring about a balance.

Do asanas slowly and breathe as you move.  It is as if your breath moves your body.  Keep your attention in what you are doing.  It is as if the mind goes into the body and takes the shape of the body.  Allow your movement, mind, and breath to flow together.

Work thoroughly and correctly in each position, but do not strain.  If you are not breathing evenly, or if within three breaths your body does not begin to relax into the posture, then you are forcing.  By forcing positions no real progress is made, and injury is possible.  By breathing and relaxing into the postures, deeper, more beneficial progress will take place.

Body, mind, and spirit will all benefit from the practice of asanas.

Extend your practice of hatha yoga into your daily life by practicing awareness of body position, breathing, and relaxation in everything that you do.

Visualize each asana as you read about it.

ASANA means to be present, to abide, to remain.

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