There’s More to it than Asana

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There's more to it than asana

Asana: One of Eight Limbs

I’ll admit – I have a bit of a bone to pick with Asana (anatomical pun intended). 

Why does Asana seemingly get a disproportionate amount of focus?

As listed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, there are 8 Branches comprising the tree of yoga: 

  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana
  8. Samadhi

Though, in any glance thru online articles, publications, & social media, one would reasonably assume that yoga is, mostly, comprised of Asana. 

Why might we limit our practice this way? 

Yoga is pretty! 

The postures & shapes that we have the potential to create with these physical forms we have created is truly a beautiful gift. The orchestration of all of our biological systems & processes (skeletal system, muscular system, respiratory system, circulatory system, reproductive system, endocrine system), the list goes on! The sheer ability of our physical form to not only move with any sort of coordinated rhythm but also adapt with us as we move through any type of yoga flow is, in part, how I experience God.  

Yoga is expensive. 

The true entry point to yoga is no more than a conscious awareness of the present moment. The limbs, as I understand them, are simply different routes to get there. Though perhaps persuaded by elements of consumerism, yoga has acquired many perceived necessary accessories along the way. Between yoga clothes, mats, blocks & other prop elements, & class fees, the financial “requirements” of yoga can quickly become a barrier to entry.

Yoga is pretty intimidating. 

Close your eyes for a moment. Take one BIG breath in thru your nose & pull it deep into your belly. Relax your jaw, clavicle, shoulders & chest as you exhale thru your mouth. Now, think back to your first yoga class. Your very first one. Remember how nervous you were? When your mat still smelled of plastic from the factory? Think back to when you didn’t know the names of the poses, as the teacher flowed thru each one with stitch-less fluency. 

Yoga can be pretty intimidating to those just starting a practice. It feels kinda scary at first. To be vulnerable. To care about something. To not know what you’re doing. To trust ourselves – our physical, mental, & emotional spirits – to go there. Please, be compassionate & kind to one another as we welcome “newbies” into the community. How do we create a safe space to practice yoga? As it relates to the Earth element, there seems to be a correlation between our perceived ability to surrender & how safe we perceive it to do so. 

Stress in the body
as expressed by the nervous system

An Elemental Practice

This is not a ‘down with yoga asana‘ type of post & my intention is not to belittle practices that solely focus on Asana. It is a vital & necessary component of any balanced practice! Rather, my intention is to re-approach asana by subsuming previously associated definitions of yoga with my own take on an elemental practice.

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Larissa Farrell

Ecosexual, environmentalist, rope switch, yogini, sex educator, & freelance writer. Like what you are reading & want to collaborate? Check out my freelance writing, design, & photography site.