Off My Asanas

Rhonda M. Smith
Breast Cancer Partner

It is amazing to me how much I can tell about what’s going on with me, my life, and my body when I do yoga, especially when I do my asanas.

Asana is a Sanskrit word that means “to stay.” It is a body position, typically associated with the practice of Yoga, intended primarily to restore and maintain a practitioner’s well-being, improve the body’s flexibility and vitality, and promote the ability to remain in seated meditation for extended periods. These are widely known as Yoga postures or Yoga positions.

Asanas have specific physical functions, such as stretching the back of the body or opening the front of the chest. Many asanas are intended to support healthful deep breathing by stretching and releasing tight muscles around the respiratory system. Asanas have energetic functions as well. Some are very energizing, while others are deeply releasing postures.

In either case, I can tell through my yoga practice what my body needs, and if I am not eating well, sleeping well, or if I am not “centered”. If I am “off”, my ability to hold a pose and “stay”, or remain stable in a balancing posture is off.

It’s amazing what happens when you’re connected to your inner self and when there is synchronicity between the mind, body, and spirit. Or, when you just pay attention to what your body is telling you.

I have learned a lot through my yoga practice and how what happens on the mat is a reflection of my life “off the mat”.  And now I know this to be true:

“The goal of our asana practice is to put people in touch with Total Well-Being and allow that Total Well-Being to be expressed in their spirit, mind, body and the world around them.”

—Swami Chetanananda


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  1. […] gardens designed for serenity allow us to get in touch with nature. As we breathe in and out during asanas, we slow down and become more ‘present’. This stillness allows us to become more fully engaged […]


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