Keys of the practice of asana-s in Hatha Yoga
By Advaita Mihai Stoian / mihaistoian.net

Millenary wisdom revealed that: “what is here (in the inner universe) can be found anywhere outside of us (in Macrocosm) and what is not here cannot be found anywhere else”.

Therefore, it was noticed that, for example, if a person is upset, this inner state can be easily noticed, by somebody who has the necessary experience, in the bodily attitude of the respective person.

Practically, all our inner states manifest specifically through our bodily attitudes. In the same way when somebody is happy, that person’s body is relaxed and the attitude reflects this state. This observation becomes useful in order to be able to “read” somebody’s inner state by their bodily attitude.

Starting from this observation, and from the fact that our structure constantly maintains processes of occult resonance, spiritual seekers discovered something amazingly easy and of an exceptional practical importance: the attitude creates the aptitude or the skill. That means the bodily attitude creates, by the resonance corresponding to that bodily attitude, a skill or an aptitude manifested by the energies accumulated in the being due to the resonances triggered by the respective attitude. Therefore, it is not only our inner states that are reflected in our bodily attitude. In its turn, according to the principle of correspondence, our bodily attitude triggers specific states in our consciousness.Millenary wisdom revealed that: “what is here (in the inner universe) can be found anywhere outside of us (in Macrocosm) and what is not here cannot be found anywhere else”. Therefore, it was noticed that, for example, if a person is upset, this inner state can be easily noticed, by somebody who has the necessary experience, in the bodily attitude of the respective person. Practically, all our inner states manifest specifically through our bodily attitudes. In the same way when somebody is happy, that person’s body is relaxed and the attitude reflects this state. This observation becomes useful in order to be able to “read” somebody’s inner state by their bodily attitude.

In time, as a consequence of this fundamental observation, great wise tantrics and yogis developed a methodology based on assuming bodily attitudes in order to trigger in the inner universe of the practitioner controlled specific processes of resonance. This gives the possibility to be able to have at will and precisely those resonances we aspire towards. And it will happen irrespective to our momentarily energetic predominance, should we assume the right body attitude.

Considering how the resonance processes are triggered and controlled it comes with no surprise that in the case of bodily attitudes, our inner state can be generated or influenced by the position of the body and by the attention we focus upon this position.

An asana is a position of the body or an attitude that tune our system in resonance with very precise Macrocosmic energies. With other words, an asana is a resonating energetic configuration that we create by arranging the body – and implicitly positioning the energetic structure – in a specific position. In this way, the asana becomes an expression of our aspiration to merge by resonance into the energetic ambiance, specifically with the frequency of the energies that the asana-s is in resonance with.

When practicing the asana the bodily posture is firmly maintained, but without tension. The attention is entirely focused to perceive the phenomena of resonance with the specific universal energies. In the same way in which mental focus maintains the mind focused upon only one object of perception, the asana maintains the body still and and the attention firmly focused upon only one state of resonance. One of the great advantages from the practice of the asanas from Hatha Yoga is coming exactly from this easiness on taming the mind into one position when is aligned with the position of the body.

Due to a misunderstanding of these fundamental aspects, nowadays many mistake the asana with a physical exercise, something practiced in sports class if the teacher has some eastern inclinations or a gymnastic with some psychosomatic effects. Yet, there are fundamental differences between asana and physical exercises or even psychosomatic gymnastics.

In order to make this aspect even more clear here are some of these differences:

- The asana always implies an operating key that will give efficiency to the method. This key consist of the indications regarding the way of focusing the attention during the exercise upon the energetic resonating center (chakra) as well as upon the flow if the energies through the energetic body. Sport exercises imply only the attention focus generally on the body and particularly on its dynamics, in such a way that the exercise is performed very well.

- The purpose of a sport exercise is to energize especially our physical structure and in this way to indirectly induce a state of well-being in us. The purpose of an asana is to align our physical structure with our subtle structures, in a sublime aspiration to become aware as much as possible of the supreme state of Divine unity. The inner state that appear while performing the asana is precisely in accordance with the resonances that are facilitated by that asana.

- Physical exercises do not imply focus of the mind besides the few performance aspects upon which we need to focus in order to perform correctly. After the physical exercise was repeated several times, one can enter a state of automatism. Even on auto-pilot, the gymnastic exercise will provide its effects upon the physical body, without much focusing required. In case of an asana, even if we will repeat this exercise thousands of times, we need to focus each time in order to be able to enter in a state of resonance with the energetic macrocosmic center corresponding to that asana.

- Generally, an asana is a static position, in which the body stays still and relaxed and the attention is firmly focused only on the specific processes of resonance that take place in and beyond the physical body (with rare exceptions, which are special cases). Sport exercises are generally dynamic, with strong movements and with the attention focused only on the body in order to ensure a correct performance of the exercise.

- To better understand the difference, here is the analogy with the radio. If we take the radio set and we train by lifting it repeatedly to the ceiling and back to the floor, this is what means to practice sport. But if we place the radio in the best position in the room for receiving the signal of the radio station we want to listen to, and then we put on the radio and we pay attention to what the device transmits through resonance, we can say, analogically speaking, that we practice asana. After lifting the device to the ceiling for thousands of times, we can say that we know very well what means to lift the radio box and we can even do that gesture automatically. But even if we know the frequency of the favorite radio station, what comes on that frequency is extremely nuanced. Therefore, although the process of tuning in can be always be the same, what comes through this tuning is always different. Therefore the gesture of tuning of the radio might be the same every time, just like the gesture of lifting it, but every time we tune it we can listen something new and our attention is always needed.

Considering the above, for the asana to have the expected effect here are some fundamental conditions:

- The body attitude must be as relaxed as possible. As known in yoga, the more relaxed is the body the more it allows the energies to flow through and to be harmoniously distributed in the entire structure. Besides, the phenomena of resonance take place according to its rhythm and all we can do is to become aware about it and in this way to maintain it for a longer period of time. This secret is reflected in the famous treaty Yoga Sutras of the great sage Patanjali through the following explanation: “Asana-s are mastered through the disappearance of the physical effort and through the fusion with the Infinite.”

- While performing the bodily posture, the attention is firmly and effortlessly focused on the ineffable processes of complex resonance which are settled between the practitioner’s being and the Universe. More precise the connection through resonance is established between some of the universal energies and their correspondence within the being of the practitioner, making his/her being growing from individuality toward universality. This cosmic integrating awareness makes it so that a state of ecstatic euphoria establishes in the entire being of the practitioner, which cannot be associated to any superficial bodily cause. To illustrate this condition, here is a quotation from the famous spiritually yogi master Vyasa: “Asana becomes perfect through the intimate communion between the practitioner’s being and the Universe. Then, the effort to realize it disappears and the couple of opposites is balanced, generating an ecstatic state.”

- During the practice of an asana, a state of self-transfiguration transforms the being of the practitioner. Due to this state of exemplary self-transfiguration the entire being of the yogi becomes a manifestation of the universal “archetype” represented by that asana, a manifestation which constantly tends towards the perfection within itself. The mind and body of the yogi tend to align in order to make a unitary whole which vibrates in unison with the Divine Universal energies represented by that asana.

- After performing an asana, it is important to continue focusing on the specific processes of resonance for 1 – 2 minutes (this is the minimum recommended, and not the superior limit). In this way, the new attitude we started to gain through the resonance induced by the bodily posture – asana – is assimilated and will become available outside of the asana performance, in daily life. The new attitude and state becomes an integrated part of our inner nature.

When these conditions are fulfilled, the Consciousness transcends the world of senses and it becomes free, spontaneously able to express itself fully, beyond the limitations imposed by the body and in this way revealing the true ultimate nature of the yogi. In fact, this is the real purpose of an asana.

Performing asana in this spirit, the practice becomes effortless, the posture can be maintained for long periods of time and the benefits increase proportionally. The identifying communion which takes place then help us to maintain the asana without getting tired. In this way we succeed to stay still for long periods of time without the feeling of being tired.

Read more on Advaita Mihai Stoian’s website

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Keys of the practice of asana-s in Hatha Yoga