In this month’s newsletter I introduce the third of the 8 limbs of yoga described by Patanjali.
With best wishes from Sharon and all the yoga teachers and therapists.
Asana: more commonly translated as posture, is derived from the Sanskrit root “to stay” “to be” or ”to sit”.
Last month we looked at the first two limbs of yoga, yamas and niyamas, would it not be enough to be compassionate, truthful and content? Surely we should work at these? Why do we need to stretch our bodies?
Through observations of nature, yogis discovered a vast repertoire of energetic expressions that had a physical and psychological effect on the body and these remain the basis of our asana practice of today. What distinguishes asana from a stretch or exercise is that in asana we focus our mind’s attention completely in the body, and in doing so we are better able to listen to our body. Therefore asana practice is a reunion between the usually separated body and mind.
Yoga in the west is often “asana” focused and can be seen to forget the other limbs of yoga but we live in an age of disassociation from our bodily experiences. This limb of yoga practice reattaches us to our body. The purpose of asana practice is not to achieve perfection in the pose or achieve perfection of the body. Asana practice is simply the most direct way to meet yourself, to feel your stiffness and discomfort and observe your jumbled mind. When we are not in our bodies, we are disconnected from our instincts, intuitions and feelings and from other people’s as well.
For many asana practice is a good place to start yoga.
Patanjali talks about asana as having two important qualities: sthira and sukha.
- Sthira: steadiness and alertness
- Sukha: comfort
Both qualities should be present in equal amounts when practising any posture.
If we want to consider these principles of asana in our practice, we have to accept ourselves as we are, to notice our breath, to notice our thoughts and where our mind is and to notice how we feel in the asana; thus we are uniting body, mind and breath. Practicing asanas also begins to cultivate habits and mental abilities that are needed for the other limbs of yoga.
Classes, courses and workshops for June
Breathing and Yoga Nidra with Sharon Cox-Button
- Friday 2nd June 7-8.00pm
- More about Breathing and Yoga Nidra
Yoga Sutras with Sarah Ryan
- Saturday 3rd June 10:45 – 12:15pm
- More about Yoga Sutras
Silent Yoga with Leanne Jones and SHUSH events
- Saturday 3rd June 5:00 – 6:30pm
- More about Silent Yoga
Moving Into Stillness with Yogi Lea
- Sunday 4th June 10:00am – 12:00pm
- (N.B. This event was moved from 28th May due to the Dorchester Marathon)
- More about Moving into Stillness
Mother and Baby Yoga Course with Sharon Cox-Button
- 5 Week course starting
- Thursday 8th June 1:30 – 2:45pm
- More about Mother and Baby Yoga
Baby Massage Drop-in with Sharon Cox-Button
- Thursday 8th June 1:30 – 2:45pm
- More about Baby Massage Drop-in
Mindfulness Drop-In with Jem Shackleford
- Thursday 8th June 7:00 – 8:30pm
- More about Mindfulness Drop-in
Gong Bath with Arianna Moretti
- Saturday 10th June 6:00 – 8:00pm
- More about Gong Bath
Yin and Classical Asana with Isabelle Taylor
- Sunday 11th June 10:00am – 1:00pm
- More about Yin and Classical Asana
Baby Massage Course with Sharon Cox-Button
- 6 week course starting
- Thursday 15th June 1:30 – 2:45pm
- More about Baby Massage
Charity Yoga Class with Victoria Boast
- All payments donated to Julia’s House Hospice
- Sunday 18th June 10:00 – 11:30am
- More about Charity Yoga Class
Gentle Yoga with Sandy Tubby
- New weekly class starting Tuesday 20th 1:30 – 2:45pm
- More about Gentle Yoga
International Yoga Day: Free classes all day
- Wednesday 21st June
- More about International Yoga Day
Shakti Dance with Magdalena Atkinson
- Friday 23rd June 7:30 – 9:30pm
- More about Shakti Dance
Alignment Flow with Victoria Boast
- Sunday 25th June 10:00 – 11:30am
- More about Alignment Flow
Mini First Aid with Sue Fisher
- Thursday 29th June 11.00am – 1.00pm
- More about Mini First Aid
Japanese Martial Arts: Ninjutsu
- Friday evening classes coming soon
- Contact DYTC or keep an eye on the website