•Day 6• What is Asana?

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•Day 6 of 365•
Do you want to know a secret?
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Yoga is more than just the physical practice you find at a yoga studio. You may have heard about the 8 Limbs of classical Yoga outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The development of the physical body in a yoga class is the practice of the third of eight limbs, which in Sanskrit is called "Asana". Aside from the physical benefits, the essence of these postures is to cultivate steadiness and ease.

You may be wondering, "but doesn't every yoga class have a bunch of poses that are difficult, unsteady, and anything but easeful?"
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It is true asanas have physical, anatomical characteristics. When you lift your arms up above your head, as in Utthita Tadasana (Extended Mountain Pose), you will notice your shoulder blades lift slightly, your lower back lengthen, and your abdominal muscles engage. But this is only what is perceivable from the outside. Something unique and interesting happens on the inside. Have you felt it before? That experience of freedom and spaciousness; a release of boundaries that otherwise restrict us? This is the deeper meaning of the intention behind Asana.
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Asanas are magical shapes, the holders-of-secrets, made only accessible to those curious and humble enough to explore. With eyes closed the internal world of the practitioner lights up, and you can see what is beneath the shape itself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What's to be found is completely up to the practitioner. Sometimes what we see or feel brings emotions that we categorize as positive, and other times it is brings the opposite. The trick is to find a place of steadiness and ease, no matter what you are doing, where you are one step closer to knowing the secret it has to reveal.
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Photo by: @brianacerezophoto
Yogini: @gaba_lucy
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