Asana, Pranayam, Dhyaana: 3 main parts of yoga to lead a meaningful life

Updated on May 28, 2021 10:35 AM IST  |  214.1K
Best yoga asanas, breathing exercise and meditation

Yoga is not about just moving and being flexible. The Yoga Sutras refer to 8 limbs of yoga or an 8-fold path in Yoga, each of which offers guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. These are the parts in the right order. So, Shreya Sethi, Health Coach and Yoga Expert, shows the three pain parts of yoga that are mostly talked about and practiced.

8 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yamas (5 ethics like non-violence, truthfulness, etc.).

Niyamas (5 Rules for self-discipline like contentment, cleanliness, self-study, etc.).

Asana (Physical postures).

Pranayama (Breathing exercises that help in awareness and expansion of our energy).

Pratyahara (Withdrawing the senses from the external to focus on the internal world).

Dharana (Sustained concentration).

Dhyana (Meditation).

Samadhi (Harmony of self with the universe).

If you look at the parts carefully, practicing yoga postures is actually a way to pranayama and meditation. So, here are the 3 limbs that are mostly talked about:

Asana/ Physical Postures:

The word asana here doesn’t refer to the ability to perform a handstand or an aesthetically an impressive backbend, it means ‘seat’ – specifically the seat you would take for the practice of meditation.

So, if you look at it this way, the reason we do the asanas is to be able to sit comfortably without getting distracted for a longer period of time during our meditation practice.

Pranayama / Breathing Techniques:

Pranayama literally translates to prana which means life force and ayama which means to control. With pranayama, we control the life force through the main action we do that keeps us alive i.e. breathing. It involves regulating the inhalations, exhalations, and retention of the breath in a cyclical manner. There are many types of Pranayama and one of the most common ones are anuloma viloma (alternate nostril breathing), bhramri (bee breath), sheetali (cooling breath), etc. Pranayama helps to increase blood circulation in the body, increases lung strength, regulates our thoughts and emotions.

Dhyaana / Meditation:

Meditation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, where dharana practices one-pointed attention, on the other hand, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus.

Also Read: 7 Yoga poses to stay healthy and fit post COVID 19 vaccination