Life begins and ends with a posture.
The way a baby lays in the mother’s womb in the embryonic phase of life is itself a posture ( Garbhasana, the womb posture), while at the end of the life the body lays in shavasana (Corpse posture). In our everyday life, in order to accomplish various tasks, we take actions and perform many postures, but these are different from the postures that a yogi practices with awareness. A steady and gentle posture generates mental equilibrium and prevents mental fickleness. In my own teaching experience carried out in numerous countries including India, I encountered many people who are strong but not flexible enough and many who are flexible but not strong. When they started practicing different postures, they began to feel their weakness and strength in their body. The practice of yogic postures brings balance not only to the body, but also to the mind and the inner self.
And here come some questions. Why should a person practice yoga? What are its advantages or the possible counter effects? When should one practice and where? Over centuries, Asanas (Postures) have evolved and are now able to exercise every single muscle, nerve, gland and every organ of the body. The practice of yogic postures secures a nice physique, which is strong and flexible without being muscle-bound, and it also protects the body from diseases. But the ultimate goal of practicing postures is to train and discipline the mind. To practice Asanas, all that a practitioner needs is a clean and airy place, a mat or a blanket, his own body and the determination to practice yoga.
A yogi sees his own body as a temple in which dwells his soul, the divine spark. Thus he keeps his body clean, pure and healthy. Health is not a commodity or a gift which can be purchased or received. It is an asset to be gained by hard work. By practicing Asanas, a yogi frees himself from physical problems and mental distractions, to achieve a state of complete balance of body, mind and soul. Body, mind and soul are interrelated and connected with each other. An effect to one will surely influence the others and vice a versa.
Patanjali wrote his work in Sanskrit. As a result, the names of the postures are in the original Sanskrit language, a language which was in use in ancient India but is now known only to a few. It is very interesting to analyze these terms and find out that each posture has its specific meaning. While some postures are nominated according to birds, animals, trees etc., others are named after some saints or Hindu gods according to their nature, personality and action. Thus, a practitioner should know the meaning of the postures. When he practices a posture, he must be aware of its qualities, characteristics, advantages and nature.
YOGA is several thousand years old Traditional knowledge. Practicing yoga harmonizes the body and mind. It’s brings a perfect synchronization of physical, mental and spiritual being.