Did you know that “asana” as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali literally means “seat”? So asana, in the early days, was the part of yoga practice (see my previous post on the eight limbs of yoga) which basically involved sitting to meditate, often for hours.
Asana yoga poses as we know them now evolved as a way to make the body limber enough and the mind focused enough to – once again – be able to sit in a crossed-legged position (easy pose, half lotus or lotus) to meditate for extended periods of time without feeling aches and pains or restlessness.
Knowing this has made the difference in my personal practice. And it has also allowed me to bring a yoga mindset to any kind of body movement. And a yoga mindset to life in general. And to actually SIT and meditate.
Asanas (the poses) without yogic awareness are just exercise. Which is fine. I love a good workout! I now also box and engage in HIIT workouts. But asanas with a yogic mindset can be life-changing. And you can be of any faith or none at all and still reap the benefits of yoga. All of yoga.
What is your experience with yoga, any aspect of it?