The Asanas and Samkya Philosophy

The asanas (the poses in yoga) designate varieties of forms for the body so that the body can incrementally make more and more room for the breath and to open up pathways for the breath to move and flow throughout the entire body. In samkya yoga philosophy, the force that allows for all life to occur and to flourish is called Prana. Prana is often represented metaphorically as the sun, thus discerning Prana’s power to bring fourth and sustain healthy life and growth. With each inhale, we draw in Prana and fill up our lungs with this vital life force. From a biological standpoint, Prana is like oxygen. The asanas are a chance for us to use the mind to connect with the entire body. In a really strenuous and concentrated yoga practice, the mind flows out to all parts of the body with equal attention and awareness. The body is reawakened from its normally unexamined state and the yogi has the ability to once again feel his or her most vital aspects of being alive – the breath, the heart beat pulsing throughout the body, the tension of ligaments, the contraction and stretching of the muscles, the spinal column bending and twisting, etc. As the yogi develops his or her practice, this awareness of the body becomes increasingly attuned so that more and more subtle aspects can be detected, observed, and experienced.

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