Asana (Limb 3)

Asana, the third limb of yoga, is the most familiar and tangible limb.  It is the practice of the physical postures that are in almost every yoga class. 

The word asana literally means “seat”. Traditionally this was a seated posture that was used for meditation.  Other postures were then designed to prepare the body to sit in meditation.

Asana practice is the foundation and starting point for the path of Hatha Yoga .

Only three of the sutras in The Yoga Sutra focus on asana.  They are found towards the end of Chapter 2:

    II:46 “Asana is a steady, comfortable posture” (trans. Sri Swami Satchidananda)
    II:47  “Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached” (trans. B.K.S. Iyengar)

    II:48  “Thereafter, one is undisturbed by dualities” (trans. Sri Swami Satchidananda)

Practice Tips:
Breakdown of the 3 points on
asana from The Yoga Sutra.

1. Steady and comfortable: This goes for the breath, body and mind. If the breath stays steady and comfortable then so will the body and mind. Don't force your body past it's edge into pain.

2. Effortlessness:  No need to force the pose, rather soften into it.

3. non-duality: Beyond opposites, when the mind stops passing judgement and stops labeling everything as good or bad.