Asana is the physical practice of yoga. It is the postures that we take to strengthen the body, activate and detoxify our internal systems and prepare us for moving deeper into the practice and study of yoga. It is what most of us think of when we think of yoga, and often the first element of yoga that we are introduced to.
As the mind becomes more calmed through the physical practice, the desire to learn more about yoga and travel deeper along the 8 limb path happens naturally. When we practice asana, we quiet the mind and control the body to open our consciousness and break down the walls of separation we’ve built between ourselves and others. We take an internal gaze and approach the postures with humility and grace as an act of purification, transformation and devotion.
The asana practice can be physically demanding and vigorous like the late, great Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught, or restorative and completely relaxing. I like to think of my asana practice as a daily practice… it keeps me coming and reminds me that it doesn’t have to be the same experience every time.