Asana sequence impacts health and fitness

asana

Yogacharya S Sundaram

School of Yoga on asana, fitness and health- Introduction:

This site follows the Yogacharya Sundaram school of yoga asana routines for health, fitness and therapy. Yogacharya Sundaram, who started teaching asana for universal health and fitness in Bangalore, India, developed this successful format around 1921. Incidentally, Yogachrya Sundaram is one of Yoga’s oldest teachers and therapists.

The exercise routines focus on maximising the effect on the relevant portion of the body at a time. They are holistic and cover all parts of the body.

Asana – Patanjali Yoga Sutra defines asana as स्थिरसुखमासनम् ॥४६॥. sthira (static) + sukham (comfortable) + asanam (seat).

So, the practitioner should stay close to the state of homeostasis when practicing asana. Incidentally, homeostasis is a psychosomatic state where the body is in physical and psychological balance and equanimity.

Therefore, asana is a static exercise where the body movement is minimal and the focus is on holding the pose to maximise impact on a specific area of the body.

How asanas bring fitness and health

Asana therefore needs to comply with the following rules;

  1. It should be static, not vigorous or dynamic.
  2. The position should be easy to hold and not stressful.
  3. There should have minimum movement.
  4. While, there is no consensus, the Yogacharya Sundaram school recommends a breathing routine.

Kriya – Kriyas are dynamic exercises which increase flexibility of the body. Additionally, Surya Namaskar and Nauli fall under this category.

Banda – this is a holding exercise. In fact, this exercise is far more complex than the above two types and focuses on smooth flow of prana in and around that area of focus. For instance, uddiyana falls into this classification.

It is also important to take the following precautions before starting asana practice:

  • You know your body best. Practice to the limit your body allows only. As soon as there is discomfort, stop.
  • Before starting any asana practice, consult a physician. Practice only to the limits recommended by your physician.
  • If you are new to Yogic physical culture, take the help of a certified master and instructor. The recommendations in this book are meant to enhance your awareness and knowledge. Ultimately, they cannot and do not replace professional expertise.

Why Sanskrit words have been used in describing asanas for fitness and health

There is always a desire to make approximations of the Sanskrit words to make the subject more appealing and less forbidding. However, that has been avoided in this site. In face, we attempt to stay as close as possible to the classical aspects of yogasana. 

Many teachers get started with warm up asanas and beginner asanasHowever, Yogacharya Sundaram never really did that. In fact, he got people performing the below mentioned asanas as soon as he could get them to flex. We agree with the approach. Hence, we have recommended asanas which should be practiced regularly for overall health and fitness. 

School of Yoga recommendation of asana routines for health and fitness:

Sl. No.

Asana

Meaning/ translation

Reverse bending exercises: Focus on the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and spine.
1 Bhujangasana  Cobra Pose
2 Shalabasana Locust Pose
3 Dhanurasana Bow Pose
Forward bending exercises: Focus on lower abdomen and upper abdomen
4 Pavana Muktasana Air-relieving Pose
5 Paschimotanasana Torso stretch Pose
6 Halasana Plough Pose
7 Mayurasana Peacock Pose
Upper region exercises: Focus on the neck, shoulders, heart, lungs and head.
8 Sarvangasana Pan body pose
9 Matsyasana Fish Pose
10 Shirsasana Head Stand
11 Vipareetha Karani Inverted Triangle Pose
Abdominal exercises
12 Arda Matsyandarasana Half fish middle pose
13 Yoga Mudra Yoga seal
14 Uddiyana Abdominal Suction
15 Nauli Rectus Isolation
Standing  exercises
15 Tadasana Mountain Pose
16 Padahastasana Hand to Toe Pose
17 Trikonasana Triangle Pose
18 Ushtrasana Camel Pose
19 Veerabhadrasana Gracious warrior pose
Body Reset Exercise: Returning to the condition of homeostasis
20 Shavasana Corpse Pose

 Internal Links: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Prana,  Asana Overview 2, Drishti – Focus or gazing, PranayamaHatha Yoga Pradeepika

External Links: Pancha Tattva, Pancha Prana, Pancha Kosha

Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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[…] Asana – Behaviour without a healthy body is like a car without a good engine or a rusted body. It will fall apart when subjected to the stress of changes induced by yama and niYama. Asana aligns the various elements of the body to keep the body in a condition of homeostasis. This element removes illness and makes the body fit to take on the stress of everyday living. […]

[…] Asana – yoga for fitness and system health are related; […]

[…] Therapy Practice – asanas or postures: […]

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