Asana is defined as “posture;” its literal meaning is “seat.” Originally, the asanas served as stable postures for prolonged meditation. More than just stretching, asanas open the energy channels, chakras and psychic centers of the body. Asanas purify and strengthen the body and control and focus the mind. Asana is one of the eight limbs of classical Yoga, which states that asana should be steady and comfortable, firm yet relaxed.
When holding a yoga posture, make sure you can breathe slowly and deeply, using Dirga or Ujjiayi Pranayama. Go to your edge in the posture, holding where you feel a good stretch and/or your body working, but don’t feel pain, strain or fatigue. If you have not practiced yoga postures before, please read our beginner’s guide.