Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: Asana & Pranayama

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: Asana & Pranayama

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello Yogis and welcome back to the exploration of the Eight Limb Path of Yoga! Moving on to limb three (asana) and limb four (pranayama), we are getting deeper into what we in the western world more commonly associate with the word Yoga. Asana translates directly to seat and we have, over time, come to describe asana as seat, pose or posture. What we practice in the classroom are a sequence of asanas, or postures, and this is what we most commonly consider Yoga. There are as many texts on the asanas and the history of the asanas as there are asanas, and we in the yoga practicing and instructing world are constantly elaborating on and creating new asanas. The beauty of the Yoga asanas is something that is as old as the practice itself (remember, it’s dated to nearly 6,000 years old); that it is a practice that is never stagnant, always changing, and has everything to do with your ability to listen to and have a conversation with yourself, your body and your teacher. Originally, the asana described a comfortable seat in which one could meditate with ease and without the distraction of suffering within the body. For centuries, the asana were a small list of seated postures used for meditation, and the teaching and passing on of the asanas was something very secretive and not documented. The body was believed to be both a vessel for the sacred/the Light/Brahma as well as a sack of meat and bones destined to suffer, fall...