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Asana as soul practice

by Ingrid Arnou June 30, 2020

Asana as soul practice

Why we practice yoga poses

Yoga is essentially a practice for your soul, working through the medium of your body.– Tara Fraser

When many of us think of yoga, we are more specifically referring to an asana practice, a practice of yoga postures on the mat. But what keeps us coming back to our mats and what is the true purpose of these asanas?

We all know the physical benefits from our yoga practice. Practicing postures improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength, circulation and posture. Our asana practice also has emotional benefits. When we get on our mat to move our body, breathe consciously and focus our attention inwards, we release tension, feel calmer and have a sense of well-being. These benefits are so profound that many people practice yoga for these reasons. 

So some of us are looking for improved physical well-being, while others are more interested in the emotional benefits that the practice brings. To get a better understanding of the purpose of yoga postures, we might want to take a closer look at the role that asanas played in the history of yoga.

Asana is the third limb in the Eight Limbs of Yoga from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The word asana literally means ‘seat’. The seat that is referred to, is the seat you take for meditation. Most of the first asanas described in yoga scriptures were simply that, seated postures for meditation. In the Yoga Sutras, asana is only mentioned once. The description given by Patanjali is “sthira sukham asanam”, meaning that every asana should be steady and comfortable. So the reason asanas were practiced, was to be able to sit steady and comfortably in meditation for long periods of time. 

But that is not the only reason that postures had a prominent place within the practice of yoga. Yoga postures also purify and create lightness within us. The Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā (Sanskrit:हठयोगप्रदीपिका) mentions this purpose of asanas: it explains we practice asana to create steadiness, freedom of disease and lightness of body. So we are healthy, joyful and grounded, not only to meditate but also when we step off our mat into our daily lives. 

Asana practice supports the connection between our mind and our body. In our physical practice we use the body as a tool to be aware in the now, that is unfolding in the present moment. We start our yoga journey with practicing postures, because our body is visible and tangible. Our bodies are always in the present moment, regardless of where our mind wanders. So by practicing yoga postures, we go on an inward journey, a journey towards harmony and wholeness from the inside out. 



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I just received my FLXBL Uplifting Orange Yoga Mat, and loving it so far!
In my practice at home, I use it on top of my regular yoga mat. I'm excited for the summer to come and to be able to take it outside with me!
Thanks FLXBL!

Positieve verrassing!

Op aanraden van een andere yogi vol verwachting de FLXBL yoga mat besteld. Binnen no time werd de mat bezorgd. Wat mij positief heeft verrast is de zachtheid en flexibiliteit van de mat, terwijl dit in mijn ervaring niet afdoet aan de kwaliteit van mat. De mat kan opgevouwen worden zonder dat dit ten koste gaat van het gebruik tijdens je practice!

"Oops I did it again"

I had been eyeing this luscious Soft Yellow FLXBL mat forever since it came out. I am weird like that: I cannot always use the same mat for everything. Sometimes I need to pick a mat based on colour to suit my mood, the day, the moment, the energy, the space around me... So: sorry, but not sorry, lol, for buying a 3rd FLXBL mat!! I think this is my second favourite after Very Berry! Just as light and fresh. I love my Deep Petrol mat too, but the 2mm version was just a tad too 'heavy' for my taste and though I use it around the house and in the park, I rarely bring it with me on location. I guess I love the lightness of the 1,5mm versions!! Get your own in one of the crazy gorgeous colours and prepare to never ever want to get up from your mat ever again.🥰

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Love this mat! Good grip, but soft at the same time. Light and flexible. Can’t wait to use him the studio or outside!

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This mat is so beautiful! Soft for YIN & surprising grip at the same time for yang styles. I have been hooked on Manduka but i'm happy to add this beauty to my practice!!