Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Third Limb - Asana

This month we contemplate the third of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga:  Asana.

Sloka II.46  Sthira Sukha Asanam

May the posture be steady and comfortable.

  Some translate this to mean only the seated posture for meditation.  Others translate it to mean all of the physical postures (asana) we practice that strengthen, stretch, and open our bodies to the highest vibration which brings us health, well-being, and peace.  Once we practice warming up the body and doing our asana practice to invite subtle body awareness - the ignition of prana, then we are ready physically and mentally to sit for deeper meditation practice.

   We included in our contemplation of asana the following alignment tool from Anusara Yoga.  Below is a picture with the link of the loops to help remind us of their placement and direction so we can continue to practice them on the mat  and off.

Here are the directions to travel the loops as you look at the picture below and some of the cues we use to bring the alignment into the body building from the ground up:

ankle loop - counterclockwise;
shin loop - clockwise - "top of the shin bone forward" ;
thigh loop-counterclockwise - "top of the thigh bone back" ;
pelvic loop- counterclockwise - "root tailbone and draw lower abs up and in" or "draw the waistline back";
kidney loop - clockwise - "puff out the kidneys, draw lower ribs into the back" or "draw the waistline back";
shoulder loop - counterclockwise - "pierce bottom tips of the shoulder blades forward to open the heart and relax shoulders down";
skull loop - clockwise - "draw the sides of the throat back."

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