Types of Asanas
The practice of Asanas has a beneficial impact on the whole body. Asanas not only tone the muscles, tissues, ligaments, joints, and nerves, but also maintain the smooth functioning and health of all the body’s systems. They relax the body and mind allowing both to recover from fatigue or weakness and the stress of daily life. Asanas also boost metabolism, lymphatic circulation, and hormonal secretions, and bring about a chemical balance in the body.
It is important to keep practicing until you are absolutely comfortable in the final pose. It is only then that you experience the full benefits of the asana. The sage Patanjali observes in yoga sutra Ch-ii, V-47, “Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless, and the infinite being within is reached.
All sitting Asanas bring elasticity to the hips, knees, ankles, and muscles of the groin. These poses remove tension and hardness in the diaphragm and throat. Making breathing smoother and easier. They keep the spine steady, pacifying the mind and stretching the muscles of the heart. Blood circulation increases to all parts of the body.
Standing Asanas strengthen the leg muscles and joints, and increase the suppleness and strength of the spine. Owing to their rotational and flexing movements, the spinal muscles and inter-vertebral joints are kept mobile and well aligned. The arteries of the legs are stretched, increasing the blood supply to the lower limbs, and preventing thrombosis in the call muscles. These Asanas also tone the cardio-vascular system. The lateral wall of the heart is fully stretched, increasing the supply of fresh blood to the heart.
In forward bends, the abdominal organs are compressed. This has a unique effect on the nervous system as these organs relax, the frontal brain is cooled, and the flow of blood to the entire brain is regulated. The sympathetic nervous blood pressure. Stress is removed from the organs of perception and the senses relax. The adrenal glands are also soothed and function more efficiently. Since the body is in a horizontal position in forward bends. The heart is relieved of the strain of pumping blood against gravity and blood circulates through all parts of the body easily. Forward bends also strengthen the Para spinal muscles, inter-vertebral joints and ligaments.
These Asanas teach us the importance of a healthy spine and inner body in twists, the pelvic and abdominal organs are squeezed and flushed with blood. They improve the suppleness of the diaphragm, the relieve spinal, hip and groin disorders. The spine also becomes suppler and this improves the flow of blood to the spinal nerves and increases energy levels.
Some people fear that if they practice inverted poses, their blood pressure will rise or their bloods vessels burst. These are complete misconceptions. After al, standing for long periods can lead to thrombosis and varicose veins, but no one is going to stop standing up! Standing upright is a result of evolution, just as the human body has adjusted to an upright position it can also learn to perform inversions without any risk or harm. In contrast to the twisting Asanas, inverted Asanas have a drying effect on the pelvic and abdominal organs, while vital organs like the brain, heart and lungs are flushed with blood. According to the third chapter of the sage Svatmarama’s Hathayoga Pradipika, king of Asanas, and Salamba Sarvangasana the queen of asanas. The health of your body and mind is greatly enhanced by the practice of these two Asanas.
All back bends stimulate the central nervous system and increase its ability to bear stress. They help to relieve and prevent headaches, hypertension and nervous exhaustion. These Asanas stimulate and energize the body and are invaluable to people suffering from depression. In Urdhva Dhanurasana and Vipartia Dandasana the liver and spleen are fully stretched and can therefore function more effectively. Yoga can help solve the problems of any receptive individual, whether these problems be of a physical, mental or spiritual nature and thereby, eventually, also help solve the problems of a group, society and even a nation.