Hatha Yoga ~ Writings

on aasana

Yoga calls us to notice, ‘What part of the body am I feeling when I move in this way? Which part of the body is assuming a major role in this Aasana? Where is that body awareness that naturally supports, elongates, deepens and connects... where is the strength and ease in this experience?’ This conscious inquiry reveals where the body is stressed and/or empowered; this knowledge becomes a useful tool for effectively moving energy through the body.

It is this movement of energy that is the real happening of a Hatha Yoga practice. The significance of stretching, twisting, folding, holding, breathing, inverting, heating and sweating is that the organs, muscles, skin, blood, and bones come alive – the breath (air Tattwa), the heat (fire Tattwa), the foundation (earth Tattwa), the vibrating current (the water Tattwa), and the consciousness (the spirit Tattwa)1 massage the eloquence of life into the material form.

Yoga Aasana practice offers us this time to know the body and see the mind… watch it wander…become focused…and come alive to the inner self. As we inquire into how we move or remain still, how we breathe or retain breathlessness, we are drawn into the organic flow of the present moment. The body is responding energetically to the forms of Aasana that systematically prime us for the optimum receptivity of vital force in the body. The intelligence is permeating the body with this new awareness, and all the body parts can work and cooperate better all the time. The constancy of breath and fluid motion connects us to our infinite and blissful nature, where the power centers of the body are dynamically charged and the lake of the mind is smooth and settled, calm and deep. The ordinary grip of an external world has now given way to the deep inner experience.

  1. The ‘Tattwas‘ are the essences, the basic elements out of which all material forms appear. They are Prithwee (earth), Vaayu (air), Agni (fire), Jal (water), & Aakaash (space/ ether).