Holding an Asana

Holding a pose.

A question arose during the Thursday morning class whilst practising Kandarasna (shoulder bow).

How long to hold the posture?

A physiotherapist had advised to hold for 30 seconds and no more.

Whilst I have great respect for physiotherapy and understand that they are looking at very specific problems, it is important to appreciate that we are working in a very different space in Yoga practice which requires a Mindful approach and therefore each individual will hold the posture for different lengths of time.

It is in the holding of a posture that we can really begin to discover how habitual and unconscious most of our reactions are, and therefore it can be a very worthwhile and valuable experience as we learn about the interconnections of mind, body, and breath.

However according to our individual circumstances we will take the posture to a place where we experience a suitable challenge for the body and hold it within the limits of that challenge whilst maintaining the Mindful attitude which allows us to notice excess tension, and unnecessary strain and to gradually release these until we find a feeling of "aliveness" in the posture. (Not sure if that is a correct use of English but hopefully it explains what I mean?)
In this way the postures are suitably challenging whilst giving us a much deeper understanding of ourselves as a Whole, living and breathing within the posture and offering a more insightful experience.

The Yoga Sutras explain:
Yoga pose is mastered by relaxation of effort,
lessening the tendency for restless breathing,
and promoting an identification of oneself as
living within the infinite breath of life.
(11/47 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)

What is your experience?

I am not claiming to be right about everything and I am happy to hear from you about your own personal experiences and insights.

Please feel free to post up a reply to this if you would like to discuss it further.

Published by liz on Thursday, 14 November 2013, last updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 at 5:13PM
Categories: Yoga Practice

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