What do you think of when someone says the word “Yoga”? Most likely you have an image of someone doing some sort of stretch. That stretch, in Yoga language (Sanskrit) is called an asana, which means posture, pose or position.
Asanas are incredibly good for you. If you look at how popular Yoga is all around the world, you can trace most of that back to people getting the benefits from practicing simple Yoga poses. Do them regularly and you will feel better. Do them more and some sort of positive transformation will happen. It’s just how it works. More and more people are figuring this out.
So what makes these Yoga poses so magical? Diversity.
Each Yoga pose conditions the body from a specific angle, but when you practice these individual poses together they have a cumulative effect. That means you feel awesome, and this is honestly what you hear when happy yogis are strolling out of classes, “I feel so good”. Yoga does have a kind of magical effect because no matter who you are or what your problems happen to be, if you do the right Yoga poses correctly, you’ll feel better.
Yoga postures fit into specific categories depending on the effect they have on the body. There are Forward Bends, Backbends, Standing Poses, Twists, Inversions (being upside down), Restoratives, etc. Now if you stop and think about what each of those categories means, you’ll see that Yoga has the unique effect of conditioning the body from every possible angle. That’s huge.
When you’re a total beginner to Yoga you learn the poses you learn, however you learn them. Over time as you practice more, understand how the Yoga postures fall into specific categories, and always strive to practice postures from as many categories as possible. That way you have a well-rounded, balanced Yoga practice, which will always have the best leverage for balancing issues in the body and giving you the overall best result from your practice.
There are many different styles of Yoga today, and whatever you’re into is fine. Take a look at the postures you practice, put them into the various categories I mentioned above, and see if you have any missing links. It doesn’t matter if you only practice fundamental, beginner-level Yoga poses, as long as you’re practicing postures from all of the categories.
In Yoga balance is the big deal, and understanding how to practice a well-balanced assortment of Yoga poses, asanas, will really help you get the best results from the time you put in.