What Are Yoga Asanas?

Preparing The Body For Meditation

Yoga asanas are the postures or the physical part of yoga. Perhaps you’ve heard of downward dog, also known in sanskrit as adho mukha svanasana? It’s one of the movements in a variety of sequences that make up yoga asanas.

Me, downward dog-ing at one of the beautiful parks in Mexico City.

Yoga asanas are #3 of the 8 limbs of yoga, right after the Yamas and Niyamas. Moving the body is an important aspect of yoga and I’m going to list a few reasons why.

1. It prepares the body for meditation.

When we move the body, we open it up and become more aware of its existence. Maybe you’ve had a pain in your left shoulder that went unnoticed until you consciously started moving the body. Now you can tend to this physical need and use the breath to release it. This eliminates physical distractions during meditation.

2. It teaches you.

During our asana practice we are faced with challenges, set backs, reliefs, gratitude, and all types of emotions. We soon find that the lessons we need to learn in order to grow in our yoga practice are the same ones we can apply to our daily lives and GROW!

3. It keeps you strong.

As a result of the physical practice, your body gets strong, your breath gets strong, your heart gets strong, and your mind becomes strong. It’s a well-balanced physical practice that gets to the core of every aspect of you and keeps you ready for life.

Here’s a simple sequence you can learn and do at home to make yoga asanas part of your daily routine.

Sun Salutation A — Surya Namaskara