When we think about the term "yoga", the physical exercises often come to our mind first. However, it has been elaborated in many scriptures that yoga encompasses much more than just the asana practice. According to sage Patanjali, yoga can be described as an "eight-limbed path" that consists of the following eight aspects that must be mastered:
Yama: attitude toward the environment
Niyama: attitude towards ourselves
Asana: physical exercises
Pranayama: breathing exercises
Pratyahara: The inward drawing of the senses
Yoga Asana thus is the third stage of the eight-limbed path and just one of many essential parts of one's yoga practice. Asanas (the word comes from Sanskrit 'the seat') are predominantly resting body positions, especially in Hatha Yoga. Yoga asanas should always contain two qualities in their execution: Stability and well-being. Practically, this means that one should never strain or go beyond their body's limits while practicing yoga asana. Every practitioner must only do the asanas as well and accurately as feels comfortable. It is fundamentally not about performance or wanting to achieve. Instead, important in the practice is the conscious going in, the right breath (inhale, exhale), deliberate holding, and the conscious dissolving of the asana. One of the intended effects is to quiet the flow of thought and create internal balance within the practitioner.
Photo 1: Examples of arm-balance asanas.
A continuous yoga asana practice quickly provides noticeable effects affecting all body systems. Optimized lung volume, good body control, focus, stamina, balance, and grounding. Flexibility, coordination, and mindfulness. Strengthening of the spine, muscles, joints, and overall stabilization of body statics. Inner peace, mentally as well as physically. And the medical effects of yoga asana practice are not even mentioned there: hormone balance, lower asthma complications, healthy blood pressure and digestion, a more stable immune system, fewer back problems, or better sleep can be mentioned, among others.
Photo 2: Asana practice is beneficial for children, too.
Photo 3: Madan Yoga teaching Hatha Yoga Sun Salutations.
At Madan Yoga, we focus on teaching classical Hatha Yoga. Classes are designed in a way that students learn asana practice alongside pranayama (breathwork) and meditation. In addition, Madan Yoga's classes are designed depending on the possibilities and needs of the individual student. This can vary between easier asanas, therapeutic asanas, or the possibility to practice intermediate or advanced asanas.
Madan Yoga offers individual guidance for beginners, older or movement-impaired practitioners, as well as to more advanced, agile yogis with an established practice already. In group classes, modifications and options for asana are given to all practitioners.
In this way, a yoga asana practice with Madan Yoga can be geared in such a way that all kinds of participants can benefit from the class at the same time.
Feel free to browse further on our website if you are interested to join Madan Yoga retreats at beautiful locations surrounding Pokhara, Nepal, see here. If you are interested in private sessions or courses, please contact us via email@example.com.
Photo 4: Yoga asana practice with Madan Yoga in the Himalayas, Nepal.