Karuna Yoga Vidya Peetham Bangalore

How does the Asanas work?

Asanas are based on five principles.

  1. i) The use of gravity. The inverted postures such as the headstand, shoulder stand and the reverse posture take advantage of gravity to increase the flow of blood to the desired part of the body; in the headstand to the brain, in the shoulder stand to the thyroid gland and in the reverse posture to the gonads (sex glands).
  2. ii) Organ massage. The position of the asanas causes a squeezing action on a specific organ or gland, resulting in the stimulation of that part of the body.

 iii) Stretching muscles and ligaments. This causes an increase in blood supply to the muscles and ligaments as well as relaxing them. It also takes pressure of nerves in the area. This stretching is involved in all the asanas, since it has such a beneficial effect on the body.

  1. iv) Deep breathing. While holding the yoga posture we breathe slowly and deeply, moving the abdomen only (abdominal or low breathing). This increases the oxygen and prana supply to the target organ or gland, thereby enhancing the effect of the asana
  2. v) Concentration. As well as breathing slowly and deeply, we also focus our attention on the target organ or gland. This brings the mind into play, and greatly increases the circulation and prana supply to the organ or gland.

This concentration has the second benefit of increasing your general powers of concentration through regular practise. This benefits every aspect of your life. Your mind is less distracted and swayed by external events and you are therefore calmer and worriless. You will be able to solve day-to-day problems better and have more success in whatever activity you undertake.

  1. Physical exercise draws the prana out. Asanas send the präëa in and distribution quite evenly throughout the body and different system. Asana are not physical but also spiritual, as they awaken the serpent power that is sleeping in Muladhara cakra. This is the third anga (limb) of the Astanga RajaYoga of Patanjali Maharsi .A particular asana removes the Particular disease.
  2. Asanas are not mere physical exercises alone. They are something more than that. They have spiritual basis. They help a long way in controlling senses, mind and body. Body nerve and muscle are purified (Sarira suddhi and Nadi suddhi) Kundalini is awakened which gives bliss, power and yogi Samadhi to the aspirant.
  3. If you develop vairagya, if you subdue your Indriya and sense enjoyment and pleasures of this world as dung and poison, as they are mixed with pain, sin, fear craving, miseries, disease old age and death, nothing can tempt you in this world. You will have eternal peace and infinite bliss.

 Asana and pranayama remove all sorts of disease, improve the health energetic digestion invigorate the nerves ,strength the Sushumna nadi, remove the Rajas and awaken the kundalini .  Practise  of  asana  and Pranayama bestows good health and steady mind.

  • Yogasanas are preliminarily aimed at improving the muscle tone (suppleness) and plasticity of muscle.
  • Activation of muscles that were once important at earlier evolutionary stages but have fallen into disuse.
  • Priming or activating the stretch reflexes at the level of spinal cord. The neural impulses that are needed to travel up the long sensory pathways up to the Ascending Reticular Formation (Mid Brain) and further through the thalamus to the cortex are rendered unnecessary. This automatically helps in maintaining the alpha activity of the E.E.G (Electrical recording of the brain waves) but not disturbing the thalamo-cortical pathways. This ensures a resting, relaxed activating at the level of cerebral cortex.
  • The static comfortable postures accompanied by a meditative state, dampens the inflow of sensory impulses to the brain. This is turn, causes less stimulation to the “Emotional Brain” (Limbic Cortex Hypothalamus Anterior Pituitary and their connections with the Adrenal gland). Therefore, there are less visceral gland disturbance to disturb attention and connection. Further more, the reduction of sensory input creates a reciprocal chain, relaxing the muscles. Inhabitation of synapses at the neuromuscular junctions, in turn, reduces the sensory input further.


  • Yoga is smooth graded exercises from the initial posture to the final state. This is achieved not through forcible jerky movements, but slow dynamic movements, gradually changing over to static states. The risk of over-straining or injuring muscle and ligaments are therefore reduced considerably. There is a little fatigue induced by asana.


  • The exercises are done with a few warm-up movements to improve the blood flow and body temperature and are done in a sequence that keeps at the rest certain group of muscles in one asana and brings into active operation the opposite group of muscles in the next asana For exercise, involves the flexion of the spine, those that extend the spinal muscle in the (Bhujangasana s) follow (Paschimottanasana). This is called “Vinyasa” the exercises are interspersed with the restful periods (Shavasana) to eliminate the factor of fatigue.


  • The Yogasanas do not require the use of extra calories 2-14 calories per minute (and a man resting on the bed spend about 0.9 to 1 calorie per minute). Yogasanas require only about 0.8 to 3 calories per minutes.


  • The sequential activation of agnostic (Prime mover muscles) and antagonistic (counter acting muscles) assures the muscles suppleness, plasticity and phenomenon of reciprocal inhabitation remains in efficient operation. Yoga asanas improves the perceptual motor co-ordination.


  • In yoga asanas, breathing is kept as natural as possible and at any state of hyperventilation, the person is supposed to restore to relax the postures (Shavasanas). This is the major reason why fatigue is not a usual phenomenon and the expenditure of calories remains minimum. That allows yoga asanas to be induced soon after a common illness or some asanas can be performed during early in the pregnancy.


  • Asanas are primarily involved with postural reflexes which are mediated by sub cortical centers-medulla, pons, cerebellum, basal ganglia etc. that are under the inhibitory control of cortical area of the brain. The greater the repetition and the habituation, lesser would be the involvement of the Thalamus-cortical circuits, through the Ascending Reticular System.


  • The Asanas are also to be seen as training for assumption for good relaxed postures that are the least expensive calorie wise. Our urban habits of sitting, sleeping, excretory habits etc. have distorted many movements of our joints and muscles, which we are using during the earlier centuries. One of the glaring examples is our lack of opportunities for being close to the ground for squatting, lying etc. the bed postures, due to the continual gravitational pull, lead to the accumulation of fat over the torso, buttocks, thighs, breasts etc. and drooping of shoulders, lordosis (“bulging out tummy”) double-chin (fat under the chin and around the neck) and cease and pouches around the eyes and or face etc. The relaxed postures of yoga practitioners free from such hazards.


  • The topsy-turvy postures not only relieve antigravity muscles and help drainage of venous blood towards the head but are also suppose to help in the proper positioning of the internal viscera which often show sign of Slackening, Prolepses or Hernization etc.


  • The relaxed state of skeletal muscles in some yoga Asana , when the intra abdominal pressures is continuously raised (by 10 to 80 mm/Hg) it is presumed to have good effect on the blood circulation to the viscera or to the remote internal areas of the body.


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