Posted by Sattva Yoga Academy on 19/01/2017

What is Difference between Yoga, Asanas and Exercises?

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Yoga is a way to introduce you to yourself. There is a great confusion these days between asana and yoga. Asana is not yoga, but yoga is more than asanas. In these days many people discuss about yoga and want to know more about yoga. What asana is only the physical aspect of yoga? Most of the western people adopt only these physical postures (asanas) only. So, they have a misconception, but if asanas are performed with the right breathing sequence (sometimes even a pranayama) and the right mantras then these can help us mentally and spiritually also.

Asanas is a part or subset of yoga. Yoga literally means "Union" and the path for union of finite with infinite. It can be learn with help of yoga gurus. Yoga has eight limbs:

*Yama: - It deals with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life.

*Niyama: - Niyama has to do with self-control or self-discipline. Niyama means self imposed rules for self discipline.

*Asana: - These are the physical postures practiced in yoga.

*Pranayama: - It is forth limb of yoga and consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, mind and the emotions.

*Pratyahara: - It means withdrawal or sensory transcendence.

*Dharana: - The practice of fifth limb prepares us for the sixth limb and creates the setting for dharana, or concentration.

*Dhyana: - Meditation or Dhyana is the uninterrupted flow of concentration.

*Samadhi: - Samadhi describes as a state of ecstasy.

Asana is yoga pose or posture or position of the body and it may be defines as steady and comfortable pose. Many people also believe that they could practice dhyana (meditation) even without any required knowledge of asanas and pranayamas which is essential. Dhyana or meditation is the seventh limb of yoga and requires experience and perfection in all previous six limbs then only one advance limb of yoga is ultimately Samadhi.

Yoga is a state where the person who meditate, meditated and the act of meditation all become one. Thus yoga is the entire spiritual way, science, art, and where as asana is just one of eight limb of Yoga.

There is also a difference between asanas and exercises. The main difference between asanas and exercises is awareness. When practice asanas one must be aware of the breath, physical and mental state. Asana are only one of eight limbs of yoga and performed slowly. There are many difference between these two like, asana can be performed anywhere with no need for additional equipments and in exercise may need for some equipments. Asanas stretch the body and lengthen the muscles where as exercises performed fast and generally shorten the muscles and Asanas contribute to emotional stability. When practicing asanas, blood goes to center of the body, and in exercises the blood goes to periphery. 

The asanas use less energy and one feels refreshed after performing asanas, while exercises use more energy and one feels tired after practicing the exercises. When practicing Asanas a great importance is given to the breath and concentration, while in exercise very little attention given to the breath and concentration. Oxygen consumption in asanas is reduced, while in exercises it is increased and body temperature too. Asanas develop inner awareness and exercises not necessarily develop inner awareness. Yoga teacher training class can improve your yoga and asanas postures.

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