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The Reach and Depth of Yogasanas

As a well-known quote tells us: mostly, people suffer from poor health and disorders not because of what they eat but from what is eating them. (There are more than 330 million people around the world suffering from depression – this is more than those suffering from heart disease, even AIDS.) It is imperative that we must effectively learn to control and filter what we eat or absorb from all the five senses and their king, the mind.Yogic postures (or asanas) effectively purify the karmendriyas (organs of action) and the gyanendriyas (senses of perception), thus creating an effective filter which sieves impurities. This maintains the qualitative content of sattva (purity), rajas (dynamism) and tamas (inertia) in the human being.

People today exercise under the mistaken notion that burning calories is burning impurities. The main aim of practising yogasanas is not just burning calories but burning impurities, be they physical, mental or spiritual.

Fact is that when most of us do the asanas we are working unevenly and superficially. All of us while doing the asanas are busy ‘doing’ and hence our hearts are beating faster than it should or our limbs are getting tired, or our breath suffers. In short, we work our parts singly but not as a whole. Our hearts thus age faster (or if we are walking our knees are deteriorating) and we age and deteriorate unevenly as a whole.

We think that if we do many postures or exercises we might get a better circulation or increase the efficiency of our heart. However, just consider the amazing things happening inside of us even when we are ABSOLUTELY still:About eight million blood cells die in our body every second, and the same number are born each second,As you are sitting here reading this, you are making two million billion haemoglobin molecules,Every day, you circulate 1,000 billion particles of air through your lungs, Even during sleep, the heart pumps about 340 litres an hour, enough to fill an average car’s petrol tank every seven minutes,The body’s entire blood supply – about four and a half litres – washes through the lungs about once a minute,The flow of blood through the liver is so substantial that even at rest two and a half pints of blood move through this organ every minute,The brain remains active to some degree round the clock, and each day it triggers hundreds of millions of impulses – more connections than all the world’s telephone systems put together,Electrical activity (even at rest) in the brain is great enough to power a 10-watt light bulb.When we reflect on the above, we begin to understand that it is not merely ‘do-ing’ but ‘co-ordinating’ which holds the key to a perfect asana. We are constantly shaking in any pose, not remaining steady which in fact is the definition of an asana (meaning to hold steadfast). We have to learn to coordinate body with mind, mind with breath, body with breath and so on and in the process correct and mould the sheaths from the physical to the spiritual.

Armed with this intense body knowledge will come the wisdom that the body is the bow and the asanas arrows to hit the target, the inner self or soul. Thus, in the kurukshetra (or the battlefield) of the asana, we have a glorious chance to fight the impurities of mind and body.


Umesh said…
Dear Zubin:
This is great. You are now in the cyberspace. I am sure we shall get many more topics from you on this blog. Your articles are always very inspiring.
Good Luck!
Keshav said…
congrats !!! A very pleasant surprise to see your blog....There are so many articles written by you for Mid day and many other magazines available on the net. I suggest that you put up a link or upload all the articles on your blog. - Keshav
Sumit Sandhu said…
I read your post, which seems very informative...

Thanks for sharing

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