stillpoint yoga

yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn Fraser
in the Himalayan Tradition of H.H. Sri Swami Rama


What’s New?

Himalayan Tradition

Swami Rama

What Is Yoga?




Off The Mat

Daily Practice

Children’s Yoga



Click here to print.

From an Asana as Meditation Workshop by Ashutosh Sharma.
Written up by Michael Smith.

At the end of Hatha session, you should feel still, relaxed, energized – not wanting to talk or move or do anything but meditate. 

The aim of Asana is not to get physically flexible.  It is to get mentally flexible.

There is no need to do complicated postures.  Physically advanced does not mean advanced.  You can all the benefits you need from simple postures done mindfully with the breath and relaxation.  Not a lot of complex postures are needed.  We only need to open the nadis (energy channels).  Postures are not that important.  Sequence is important.  The sequence is designed according to energy flow.  Do not keep changing postures; go to the depth of the postures with intensity and awareness.  You can live without complicated postures, but you cannot life without the joints and glands exercises. 

 People would come to Swami Rama and say, “Teach me to stand on my head,” and he would say, “Do you know how to stand on your feet?”  People would say, “Teach me advanced Pranayamas,” and he would say, “Do you know how to breathe properly?”      

“Ha” yoga is very popular nowadays, but “Tha” yoga is neglected.  “Ha” means the active part of doing a posture.  “Tha” means the passive relaxed part of doing a posture.  Most of us have been trained in “Ha” Yoga, but we need to balance “Ha” and “Tha.”  To do Hatha Yoga properly we need both “Ha” and “Tha.”  Then there is balance between active and passive, ida and pingala.  There is balance between vata, pitta and kapha.  There is balance of the five pranas.

The Importance of the Breath

Swami Veda once said that Hatha Yoga is to enjoy each breath fully.  How to enjoy each breath fully?  Observation!

To balance “Ha” and “Tha,” work with the main core thing: breath.  If we ignore the breath, we are not doing Asana; we are merely exercising.  Breathe throughout the postures.  Stay “inside,” throughout the entire session and sequences with breath-awareness.  The breath is pauseless.  The breath is continuous.      

In our lives, instead of calming down the drunken monkey of the mind, we usually give it more wine through random thoughts.  We do this even during our Hatha practice.   Try to observe the breath constantly to calm the fluctuating mind.  Do not let the mind fluctuate and spin off at the end of a posture.  Continue to breathe through the postures.  Posture is not just the holding stage.  It is going into and coming out.  It is the transitions also.  Maintain the constant breath-awareness and body-awareness from head to toe for an entire hour-and-a-half session.  It is continuous awareness.  Regulate the breath.  The breath is kept deep, smooth and calm.  As soon as you see your mind begin to fluctuate, bring your awareness back to the breath.  Do not think of the next posture.  Pay attention to this present moment and be here now.  The breathing is the important part, not the physical movement and the repetitions.  De-emphasize physical movement, and emphasize awareness of the breath.     

Work with the breath and movement.  Let the breath move the body.  Let the breath begin, and then halfway through the inhalation or exhalation, move the body accordingly.  The basis of movement is the breath.  Breathe and then move.  Coordinate the breath with the movement.  The breath helps us move. 

Throughout all the Ashutosh’s guidance the phrase most used by him is “Let your breath flow.”