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Asana as soul practice

by Ingrid Arnou juni 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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Loving my new FLXBL mat

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!

Heerlijke yogamat

Super Comfortabel en gemakkelijk voor op reis!
Hele fijne yogamat, ik gebruik deze als toplayer over een dikkere mat. Is ontzettend zacht en comfortabel.

Goede yoga mat, zacht en snel geleverd. Het is wel een beetje glad bij de handen maar met wat water prima op te lossen. De mat is wel zwaarder dan ik dacht. Ik gebruik het momenteel buiten (onderkant van de mat is prima voor buiten) maar het is een beetje onhandig om mee te nemen. Tip: Een touw of soort elastiek om de mat makkelijker te kunnen mee nemen zou handig zijn.

Beste Françoise, fijn dat de mat goed bevalt! :) De gladheid heeft te maken met kou en buiten/droge handen. Je moet goed opgewarmd zijn voor goede grip. Je hebt inderdaad de 'zwaardere' variant van ons gekregen, namelijk de 2mm ter promotie en dat is nog de oude collectie. Inmiddels hebben we de FLXBL geupgrade naar een lichtere versie van 1.5mm past net iets makkelijker in je tas. De kwaliteit is hetzelfde! Enjoy your practice!

Works like a charm!

I love my FLXBL yoga mat, I take it on holidays and weekends away. At home, I use it on top of my carpet for extra softness. Sometimes I have to spray the mat a bit to get some extra grip, but once you're sweaty from a workout, it works like a charm! Can't wait for the spring and summer weather: I'll bring my mat outside in the park to practice!

Prachtige, mega handige yogamat!

Ik ben helemaal verliefd op mijn flxbl yoga mat. Hij voelt zijdezacht en ziet er klassy uit. En ik heb hem al een paar maal meegenomen op korte tripjes en doordat hij zo dun is neemt hij nauwelijks plaats in in de valies. Ik ben er heel tevreden van!