What is Asana?
It is popularly said that moving three limbs is asana and moving four limbs in Pranayama. The postures or poses that we do daily in our life are the asanas. Asanas are dynamic, non-stagnant, ever-changing and can do everything with your body, mind and spirit. Moreover, Asana is a state of mind in which one can remain physically and mentally steady, calm, quiet and comfortable.
Health Benefits from the Regular Practise of Asanas
- Increase in spine flexibility
- Mobilized joints
- Relaxed and toned muscles
- Receive plentiful supply of blood to every part
- Stimulated organ and glandular activity
- Stimulated lymphatic system
- Strengthen the immune system
- Stabilized blood pressure
- Fresh and clear skin
- Activates nervous system
Different Types of Asanas
There are different types of asanas like the sun salutation (Surya Namaskar), The plough (Halasana), the shoulder stand (Sarvangasana), the fish (Matsyasana), the bow (Dhanurasana), the lotus (padmasana), the bridge (Setu Bandhasana), the headstand (Shirshasana), forward bend (Paschimottanasana), cobra (Bhujangasana), the crow (Kakasana), the triangle (Trikonasana), the corpse (Savasana), the half-wheel (Ardha Chandrasana) and many more.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama goes hand in hand with asana. The word “Prana” means the energy of breathing and “Ayama” means to control or to extend. So combined, pranayama means breath control. Experts put forth that pranayama controls our breath and teaches us how to move our life under controlled manners. Pranayama has three main functions to perform – Inhalation, Exhalation and Retention of breath.
Benefits of Pranayama
There are three different kinds of benefits associated with Pranayama- physical benefits, mental benefits and the spiritual benefit.
Physical Benefits of Pranayama
- Maintains body health
- Purifies blood
- Improved oxygen diffusion in the blood
- Strengthens lungs and heart
- Stabilizes blood pressure
- Activates nervous system
- Activates the immune system and defence mechanism of our body
Mental Benefits of Pranayama
- Eliminates stress, anxiety and depression
- Maintains inner balance
- Balances emotions and thoughts
Spiritual Benefits of Pranayama
- Expanding consciousness
- Purification of energy centres (chakras)
- Deepening of meditation
Different Types of Pranayama
There are different types of Pranayama like quiet breathing, deep breathing, fast breathing, Tribandha in Pranayama, Nadi Suddhi Pranayama, Anuloma, Surya Bhedana Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama, Bhramari Pranayama and Hatha Yoga Pranayama.
What is Mudra?
Mudra means hand gestures that are performed along with breathing exercises. They tend to affect the body parts that are involved in breathing and the flow of energy. It also has an equal impact on one’s mood. These yoga mudras can be performed comfortably in Sukhasana. The use of mudras maintains the flow of energy in our body and balances the level of air, water, fire, earth and space.
- Air (Vayu) – Index finger
- Fire (Agni) – Thumb finger
- Water (Jal) – Little finger
- Earth (Prithvi) – Ring finger
- Space (Akash) – Middle finger
Health benefits of Mudra
- Cures Insomnia
- Improves concentration and memory power
- Eliminates anger, depression, anxiety
- Improves sleep pattern
- Increase energy
- Alleviates lower back pain
- Improves digestion
- Relaxes the nervous system
- Boosts metabolism
- Adds a natural glow to the face
Different Types of Mudra
The different types of Mudras include Vayu mudra, Agni Mudra, Gyan Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra, Adi Mudra, Varun Mudra, Prana mudra, Shunya Mudra, Surya Mudra, Prithvi Mudra, Linga Mudra, Apana Mudra and Dyana Mudra.
Asanas help our body by strengthening, lengthening and increasing flexibility whereas Pranayama gently focuses on our breath and controls the focus of our mind. On the other side, Mudra examines energy flow in our body. As we continue to explore yoga, pranayama and mudra add value to the already performing asanas, taking our body and mind to the next level thereby improving the control and focus of our body.