Yoga Asana Practice Is The Bridge To Subtler Levels

Yoga Asana Practice Is The Bridge To Subtler Levels

Hatha Yoga Asana

Practicing Yoga Asana, with its myriad benefits for the body, mind, and spirit, has stood the test of time and continues to be sought-after for holistic well-being.

Yoga, a spiritual, mental, and physical discipline, has its roots in ancient India. Over time, global cultures have evolved, spread, and embraced yoga. Within the vast world of yoga, ‘Asana’ signifies the physical postures and poses practiced to enhance one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

According to Sadhguru, every form in existence has a certain impact due to its alignment with the larger cosmic geometry. Asanas are a means to align the human system to this geometry, thereby becoming in sync with the entire cosmos. When one aligns their system to cosmic geometry, they can function effortlessly within themselves and with the external world.

Patanjali’s Definition of Yoga Asana

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offer profound insights into the philosophy and practice of yoga. Comprising 196 aphorisms or sutras, this scripture outlines the eightfold path of yoga, termed ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ (not to be confused with the modern Ashtanga Vinyasa style). Among these eight limbs, Asana (physical postures) is the third, following Yama (ethical disciplines) and Niyama (self-observances).

While an extensive treatise on the mind and meditation, the Yoga Sutras provide a concise definition of Asana. Patanjali defines Asana as ‘Sthira Sukham Asanam’ (Sutra 2.46), which translates to ‘A posture in which one is steady (Sthira) and comfortable (Sukha) is Asana.’

From this sutra, two core principles arise:

Stability (Sthira): The posture should be stable, physically and mentally grounding the practitioner. This stability is not just about physical strength but also about inner steadiness.

Comfort (Sukha): The posture should be comfortable, allowing the practitioner to remain in it for an extended period without distress.

Patanjali’s approach to Yoga Asana is more about the quality of one’s presence in the posture than the posture itself. The primary goal is to prepare the body and mind for deeper stages of concentration and meditation. A stable and comfortable body is essential to sit for prolonged periods of meditation without distraction.

In the Yoga Sutras, Yoga Asana bridges the external practices (Yama and Niyama) and the internal practices, starting with Pranayama (breath control). Following the practice of Asanas, the Yoga Sutras describe Pranayama, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (superconscious state or enlightenment). These practices become progressively subtler, leading the yogi from the tangible realm of the physical body to the intangible realm of pure consciousness.

Hatha Yoga

Sadhguru usually explains the word “Hatha” by breaking it down into its two syllables: “ha” stands for the sun, and “tha” stands for the moon. Therefore, Hatha Yoga is about balancing these two fundamental aspects or energies in a human being. It’s about aligning the system with cosmic geometry.

While Hatha Yoga involves the practice of Yoga Asanas (physical postures), Sadhguru emphasizes that it’s not merely a form of exercise. The asanas are a way of aligning the body with the universe to harness its energies. When the body is aligned, it becomes a stepping stone to transcend the physical body’s limitations and move towards one’s higher nature.

Hatha yoga focuses on activating and balancing the energies within the body, especially those associated with the seven major chakras. Sadhguru elaborates that the body is a possibility, and Hatha Yoga can transform it from a hurdle in one’s life to a stepping stone.

Hatha Yoga Asanas align the body to the cosmic geometry.

The modern versions of yoga have moved away from the original intention, becoming just physical exercises.

Regular practice can enhance strength, flexibility, and balance. It can also improve respiratory and cardiovascular functions, promote better digestion, and boost immunity. Asanas are known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The concentration required to hold a pose can help focus the mind and reduce distractions, improving mental clarity and calmness.

Only A Real Guru Can Imparts The Essence of Yoga

The ancient discipline of yoga has always emphasized the Guru-Shishya (teacher-student) tradition. Learning yoga from a genuine guru, as opposed to a casual instructor, is considered paramount.

To a true guru, yoga is not just a series of postures or breathing exercises but a profound science of inner transformation. A guru imparts the techniques and essence of yoga, ensuring a student imbibes the true spirit. Beyond the physical aspects, yoga deals with the subtle body and its energies. A guru can guide this energy, ensuring the student’s spiritual growth. Many nuances in yoga are about subtle energies, which can’t be conveyed through mere words but through the guru’s presence and touch. In the yogic tradition, a guru activates certain practices and mantras through initiation. This “transmission of power” empowers students to delve deeper into practices. 

When practiced without proper guidance, yoga can lead to injuries or unbalanced development. A guru ensures the student’s practice is aligned, safe, and tailored to their unique needs. Yoga is as much about inner exploration as it is about physical postures. A guru guides the student through the intricacies of this inner journey, helping them navigate challenges, doubts, and moments of deep insight.

A genuine guru ensures the student’s all-round development – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They provide comprehensive guidance on asanas, Pranayama, meditation, ethics, and philosophy.

Additionally, a guru holds the student accountable, ensuring consistent practice, discipline, and commitment. This accountability often helps students push through barriers and limitations. The Guru-Shishya relationship is sacred and deeply personal. This bond facilitates deeper learning, as a guru can often perceive the student’s unspoken challenges or needs.

The modern world is filled with myriad interpretations of yoga, some of which may not align with its true essence. A guru protects the student from misinterpretations, ensuring they receive authentic teachings.

While books and tutorials might provide knowledge, a guru imparts wisdom. A guru’s depth, experience, and energy cannot be replicated by casual instruction. A real guru’s guidance is invaluable for someone genuinely seeking the profound depths of yoga.