Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Asanas are postures that are held. Asana practice is the most popular form of yoga and that is what most people know as ‘yoga practice’. But in the classical sense, yoga is the means of finding liberation from suffering, which is present on all levels of our human being's experience: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Therefore, there are many ways of practicing yoga as each level requires a different way of dealing with the different issues/sufferings.
Asana practice is the best way to address the suffering that comes from using our bodies unskilfully. Usually it is unintentional and we don't realise it until we develop something such as stiffness, poor mobility, lack of balance, feeling of heaviness or even pain! The postures exercise every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and mobilising the joints, spine and the entire skeletal system. Asanas also stimulate the internal organs and glands and tone the nerves keeping all systems in good health.
Asana is a wonderful way to get us back to better body awareness, to work with our physical issues. All the different positions/asanas we put our bodies in this practice, combined with the mindful breathing and mental focus, help us to feel better, not only physically, but also enable us to find mental and emotional balance. And suffer less!