Asanas and Caring
When it comes to Asanas, the definition is very simple, Asana is a posture, of course, but which type of posture? It is a posture where you are steady and comfortable, happy, and peaceful. If you are uncomfortable, if you are unsteady in a posture, then that would not be labelled as an Asana. Any fast movements would not be recommended nor considered as Asana.
But the question is, if the body is stiff or sick, any posture could be uncomfortable for that person. So for such conditions, we have a few derivatives out of the main Asanas to help that person; to add more flexibility, to see that muscles are toned up in these areas and so on. It will do some of these very simple derivatives of the main Asanas and understand their effect in different areas of our body.
Have you ever observed that your body is not in the same position all the time? Note that the body gets into a different state, in different situations. Which are those factors affecting your body's relaxed, peaceful state? Stress is the main factor, but stress happens in different conditions, like,
- If you're tired, or if you have not slept well.
- If you don't work at all, then the body becomes quite stiff.
- Mental agitation, emotions play a very big role.
- If you are suffering from some health condition like cardiac or diabetes or asthma or acidity, it affects you.
- Your diet which directly affects the system.
If you don't eat at regular intervals or you eat junk food, your body situation is different. So, we want that people should start observing these things to develop that awareness, which is the aim of every Asana.
Actually the purpose of Asana is to get into that steadier state. Now, that is possible only if you watch yourself regularly throughout the day and find out what is the condition of your body. See to it that you don't overdo or do less of certain things. As far as possible, organize yourself to have a good state, to feel healthy and in a good condition. So this is like homework, that you have to start observing yourself every time you do anything in life. I always tell people that suppose you don't find time to do a particular Asana in a particular way, you don't have to feel bad about it, because doing an Asana doesn't mean taking out time and doing it systematically in a particular fashion.
The systematic Asana that is found in the traditional books isn't being done because modern man doesn't put that much effort into it. It is the idea behind Asanas that is to be carried out; to develop awareness, sensitivity of self, and to watch self. So, you didn't have time to do Asana but you did have time to eat your food, sleep, walk and go to work. Well, at that time, if you could develop a little awareness as to how you sit, how you stand, how you breathe, if just a little awareness is manifest, then the purpose of Asanas would be served. Asana is not something which is a physical culture. It needs your attention, it needs your emotion, it needs your caring.