asanas and breathing

Traditional words in yoga are derived from Sanskrit. Performing yogic postures is generically referred to do as “yoga”, but the postures are only a part of yoga. More accurately, yogic postures are called “asanas”; bhujang-asana=cobra pose, hal-asana=plow pose, etc.

“Asana” literally translates “way to sit”. Aasanas are intended to be a preparation for the meditation that are necessary to communicate with the “Atoman” in order to reach “samadhi”(nirvana), which is a main goal of yoga.

While it is noble to attempt a traditional yogic practice and I have great respect for this path, such a commitment is not necessary to enjoy some of the beauty of yoga, like a healthy and beautiful balance of body and mind.  All that is necessary are asanas with proper breathing.

Even without attention to your breathing, the postures will still improve muscle strength and flexibility, they become more effective by adding proper breathing.

With proper breathing, you will likely feel deeper, more relaxed stretch. Particularly interesting is finding how the expansion and contraction of muscles is affected by your breath, and then composing yourself even when you are doing an acrobatic pose.

I believe you will have more fun with yoga when you realize the connection of physical movement and your breath.