If you have a regular home yoga practice, you probably pick a yoga sequence on how you feel that day – or at that time of day. It might be a short sequence of vigorous yoga poses in the morning to start the day or a calming, restorative sequence during the evening. Most of the time, that’s a good approach, but it doesn’t provide a full picture of the power or capability of a particular poses or sequence of poses.
Working with an Asana
Pick a particular pose or short series of poses to work with. This should not be your usual “go to” pose, such as downward facing dog, but rather one you do not practice every day. It could be one of the warrior poses, wide leg forward extension or a seated twist. This will be your pose to work with several days in a row, regardless of how you feel or whether you “want” to do the pose. The idea is to explore that asana or sequence of asanas from different perspectives.
Try your “study pose” early in the morning when you are feeling alert and energized. Also try it late in the day when you want to settle down for the evening. What happens if you do that asana right before you go to bed or as the first pose when you get up in the morning?
Your Impact on the Pose
Observe how your physical and mental state affects the asana practice. Are you giving it your best effort in each situation or just going through the motions? Stay tuned in and assess whether the body and mind are coming together, even when one of them is not interested! What is the result in the pose when you practice at a time that does not seem to fit with what that asana demands?
The Effects of an Asana
Also observe how the asana impacts you in different situations. Does it bring you additional energy when you need it or help to relax you when you feel stressed? Does it impact your mental state or physical state more? Watch whether the results and effects of the poses change at different times of day or when you start with a particular mood or attitude.
This type of asana study may seem vague or unclear. There is not one specific method or approach that must be used. Rather, it is the idea of working with the same pose over different days, times and states of mind to see how the pose affects you. At the same time, you are observing how you impact the pose.
The potential result is you gain a better understanding of how to work with poses for your benefit. Yoga affects our body, mind, breath and spirit and each of these affects how we practice yoga. Studying asanas thoroughly – in this way – brings unity to yoga.