One relates to Yoga as an exercise. Some people imagine all type of stretchable postures as Yoga. They think various headstands or shoulder stand as advanced stage of Yoga. However Yoga is much beyond this. Asana just scratches the surface of the Yoga. Asana is one of the 8 limbs of Yoga as outlined by Patanajli. Now, if you are confused what limbs are or who Patanjali was, here is what I recommend you to read my old post : Origination and types of Yoga
Maharishi Patanjali is complier of Yoga Sutras (sutras mean threads) which is a collection of 195 statements, a kind of philosophical guidebook.The Sutra gives guidance on gaining mastery over mind and emotions. It is the framework on which today’s Yoga is based.
He had defined Yoga as ‘Chittavritti Nirodh’ which means cessation of fluctuations of mind. As controlling mind is not an easy task, Patanjali outlines eight limbs of Yoga as a solution.
More on 8 limbs
Literal Meaning: Ashta (Eight), Anga: Limb. Ashtanga refers to the eight limbs (branches) of Yoga. Patanjali outlined the following eight aspects of spiritual yogic practice in his Patanjali Yoga Sutra.
- Yama: Universal morality
- Niyama: Personal observances
- Asana: Body postures
- Pranayama: Breath control
- Pratyahara: Control of senses
- Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana: Meditation
- Samadhi: Union with the Divine
With the practice of Yoga with dedication and devotion one eliminates these negative moods and the mind finds solcate in merging with the soul. Hence Yoga is beyond Asana. It is a practice, if done regularly and properly, helps us to find balance and harmony in life.
According to Maharishi Vyas, on whose commentaries Yoga Sutra has been shaped, describes Yog as Samadhi. Samadhi is the final stage of meditation where a soul experience Divine.
According to Jain, Yoga helps to attain Moksha (salvation) – freedom from birth and death.
If you read Yoga Sutra, there will be very less mentioning of asana or the physical posture. You can start the journey of Yoga, with a below book which will strengthen your foundation.
Meanwhile, always try develop a discipline for your practice.It will not only help you to keep physically fit but will help you to develop mental strength.