8 Limbs Yoga Centers was named after the 8 limbs, or aspects, of yoga, one of which is asana, the postures that make up much of a modern-day yoga class. At 8 Limbs we’ve always had a commitment to offering the full breadth of yoga, and starting in October we recommitted to teaching and discussing these 8 limbs in this blog, in our monthly newsletter, in our classes (teacher’s choice) and in the now monthly Many Paths Teacher Panel Series, first Sunday of each month at 6:30pm.
December is the month we’ll focus on Asana, the third limb of yoga.
Often defined as “posture,” asana means seat. Yogasanas are different ways to shape our body and take a seat, a position. When we step into a pose we are creating a certain flow of energy. One of my early teachers, Gary Kraftsow, called them “prana pumps.” Prana is awereness, and often equated with “energy” of life force.” Each shape has a different effect on our prana, and postures can be sequenced in a multitude of ways to support the practitioner in physical, energetic, mental, and emotional health.
Asanas come after the outward and inward guidelines of Yama and Niyama, and prepare us for Pranayama. They are a physical purification and a way to become calm and steady.
The only two sutras Patanjali wrote about them in The Yoga Sutras are:
II.46: Sthira sukham asanam – The posture is firm and soft.
II.47: Prayatna saithilya ananta samapattibhyam – The posture is attained by pacification through correct effort and contemplating the infinite.
What this says to me is that postures are a balancing act – strength and ease, between trying and not trying, between do and not do.
Join us on Sunday, December 1, 6:30pm at 8 Limbs Wedgwood for the next Many Paths Teacher Panel, free to our community. I am honored to moderate a panel of 8 Limbs Wedgwood teachers Megan Costello, Matt Nadler and Jen Yaros. The panel runs til 7:30, snack and chat til 8pm. We’d love to have you join the conversation and hear what Asana is to you!
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer