What is an Asana?

How does one define an Asana. I have started struggling with this question. It certainly not is a pose for me anymore. The deeper I delve into my practise the practise becomes more about an innumerable number of transitions, thinking points, co-ordinations, that it simply cannot be defined as pose.

And each day the definition changes, accompanied by a new realizations, days when it all seems to be about surrendering, days when it’s a lot about engaging, muscles, joints, sometimes relaxing joints and engaging muscles, other days when it is just a flow, one long line running from the feet up until the head, then points when you want to break it all and just focus on the core. And the funny thing is, all of these work. I don’t plan on them, I don’t pre-empt my body into thinking a certain way, in fact I have tried it and the body automatically follows its own path, rather the mind follows its own path. I was reading about how the body and mind are not different, but one. The body is also thinking continuously, it is a complex and big machine and some researchers suggest that it has been wrong to just attribute thinking to the brain. For example, there is a belly brain as well which holds so many sensory organs and so many thoughts and feelings which the brain can’t think of, or rather if the brain can think of them, it thinks of them later than the belly brain.

The asana thus is the entire practise, it is one fluid practise which is defined by these sequence of balances and combinations of movements to give it a structure, but the journey is the asana, pretty much like a long walking trail that you take every day but figure out new experiences and observations every day. Krishna says in the Gita- the more you know something, the more deeply you love it. To know something means spending time with it, on it, learning its good and bad , accepting everything. This could hold for a skill you want to develop, this could be work, could be the hours one spends painting and learning it, or understanding dance , you’ve  got to be totally immersed in something  to actually know it, and then you fall in love, the same can be extended to relationships as well. You love the person you know the best.

The practise is a surrendering to this process of knowing, surrendering to the existence of this balance which you trust and let it lead you to a new experience every day, each day the practise is different, although it constitutes the same poses. Although everything may seem the same, but it is different. A lot of times I have wondered if the sun, the moon, the earth have a soul. Do they not get bored doing the same thing again and again, following the same cycle, the same patterns. What if they were to somehow change their cycles? How much depends on it? How much patience is needed if you are the sun or the moon? And how much strength is needed for this patience. With great power, comes great responsibility, to quote “spiderman”, And I believe that is a reason they were considered gods in ancient cultures. Some cultures still pray to them, our calendars and time are defined by them, and what is time for us but not the most sacred of things, we all run on time, worship time and are defined by it. It is the strength to have such patience to do the same thing again and again, that everyone worships. We worship a strength, a patience, which we possibly cannot attain. And that is my most important learning from Yoga practise- to keep increasing the limits of my patience, to allow time to be not a factor at all, to stop worrying about it. You are never too late, or too soon, you are when you are supposed to be. It is difficult, it is almost revolting, it is what almost everyone around you is telling you not to do, because it is sacred, too sacred in fact to be blasphemous. And it is the final attainment, you get glimpses of it, you experience it in visions and flashes , sometimes sleeping, sometimes awake, in hidden corners of your brain, this redefinition of time, but I believe it is the final attainment. When past, present and future, all fuse into each other, when you are one with all your different avatars, when you are immortal. This immortality is not visible to others, it cannot be defined by others, it cannot be seen by anyone else, but you. But you live with it, you love it, you don’t even try to explain it, because it is sacred, also you know it so well and understand that it is different for each person, each mortal has his own immortality. Each moment has its own eternity, each breath, each day, and each life –different.