Asana the First Limb of Ashtanga Yoga

Sri K Pattabhi Jois frequently made the statement 'weak body, weak mind', and similarly he liked to quote the yoga scripture that says: 'the Self cannot be attained by the weak'.

These statements are in keeping with his emphasis on the value of Ashtanga's third limb: asana practice. He taught that practicing asana makes you strong, not only physically but eventually in every way, and this includes learning to highly value and follow the ethical guidelines of the yamas and niyamas, limbs one and two. Asana can be thought of as the root limb that forms the foundation for all the other limbs. This is because working with your body in the postures puts you right in the center of the gritty details of what's inside of you in a 'hands on', physical and practical way that circumvents the static habit patterns of the mind.

One time this little exchange took place between Guruji and I when I was saying good bye to him after practice:

One time this little exchange took place between Guruji and I when I was saying good bye to him after practice:

Me: 'Oh today… my back stiff.'

Guruji (with riveting eyes and slightly mock seriousness): 'Much thinking'…..'Too much thinking is there!'

 

The rest of this article can be found in Maps and Musings book.

 



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