Why Do Yoga?
When you take a yoga class these days the primary thing you practice is Asana. While many people think of asana as Warrior 2, Tree Pose or Downward Dog, asana is actually referenced in the classical Indian texts of yoga as a word meaning "seat". Patanjali writes in The Yoga Sutras "sthira sukham asanam" meaning asana is a steady and comfortable seat. This seat was then the foundation for meditative practices like meditation, pranayam, chanting mantra, and mudra. The sutras go on to express that asana allows us to release all effort and tension from the body so we can merge with our limitless true self. Knowledge of this history of the roots of asana inspires us to present yoga classes as something far more meaningful than getting in a good workout. Staying grounded in the intention of asana, we share the practice not to get six pack abs or lean biceps, but we practice asana so that we may reconnect to the reservoir of peace already within each of us. Asana today looks a lot different than the asana of our yoga ancestors. It has evolved to include postures that are more known when we think about yoga. There is immense value in exploring the Asana we know today. It's benefits in health and healing for the body are extensive. Here are some highlights of our favorites.
CREATES A BALANCE OF STRENGTH, STABILITY, & FLEXIBILITY
Asana optimizes the function of bones, joints, muscles, and fascia into an integrated system, allowing for healthy movement at all ages. This is best seen in our spine where yoga helps maintain the integrity of the vertebra while nourishing the spinal discs.
OPTIMIZES FUNCTION OF HEART & CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Asana produces a "squeeze and soak" effect on all your arteries and veins by constricting them fully and relaxing them completely. Asana also exercises the heart by raising blood pressure quickly followed by complete relaxation, which improves heart rate variability.
SUPPORTS LYMPHATIC & IMMUNE SYSTEMS
Our lymphatic system filter bacteria out of our system and transports antibodies to fight disease. Depending on gravity and adjacent tissue contracting to squeeze fluid through its vessels, asana creates this squeeze around the lymph node clusters in the neck, armpits, and groin to support a healthy system and boost immunity.
STRENGTHENS SKELETAL SYSTEM BY PUTTING PRESSURE ON BONES
Our bones develop and maintain density through the stresses placed on them from various angles. Asana is unique in placing forces on the bones horizontally and vertically. This pressure helps support bone density over time and improves circulation to the bones.
OPTIMIZES FUNCTION OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Asasna provides a direct massage on the abdominal and pelvic areas, which promotes circulation and release muscular and psycho-emotional constrictions in these ares.
SUPPORT THE NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION
Balance of the 2 branches of the Nervous system is essential for health. Asana massages the vagus nerve which is what elicits our relaxation response in the body. This allows for stress hardiness in our systems, promotes vitality within and give us access to self-regulation.