Many Westerners think of yoga as the physical postures that allow us to keep the body healthy and younger looking. While yoga is an excellent system of exercise and benefits certainly do include improving our physical health, asana is only one of the 8 rungs of yoga.
Swami Veda Bharati (formerly Dr. Usharbudh Arya) outlines the 5,000 year old Philosophy of Hatha Yoga. Yoga postures were traditionally practiced to prepare the body for meditation and as a form of worship with the body.
SWAMI VEDA has said about doing Yoga postures: “There is still not sufficient awareness. There is not sufficient breath-flow along the asanas. People are still not following the right sequences. And there is not sufficient mention yet of the principle of that brings an asana to success, and that is relaxation during the asana. If these four things are not emphasized, there is no point. Hatha is not doing advanced postures, it is doing simple postures in an advanced way. It is the subtleties. In your teaching and your practice, don’t go for the advanced. Go for the subtler; THAT is the advanced. The practice that you are doing, go into the subtleties of that practice and refine them. There is so much to refine.”
Ashutosh Sharma – principles of hatha yoga.
The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, by Dr David Coulter is a comprehensive reference book that covers the body and breath in a clear systematic manner. It is an excellent resource for every serious yoga practitioner or teacher.
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