Great sage Patanjali after having given the prerequisites of a yoga posture now explains how to understand the essence of a yoga posture. In Chapter 2 of patanjali yoga sutra aphorism -47 TH master talk of efforts moving into a state of effortlessness and mind established on infinite as the way to understand the sthiram sukham asanam (please refer to previous article to understand this definition).Perseverance is the very idea that has been given by the master. By continuous practice of asana over a period of time efforts become effortless and Sadhaka (practitioner) is able to understand the deeper aspect of the postures. However as is the wont of the master he has given another view on the same subject and i.e. fixation of the mind on the infinite. What exactly would infinite be and how to fix the mind on infinite? To understand infinite we would have to think of finite first and by reason it can be inferred that absence of finite could give us a glimpse of infinite. Mind when engaged in thoughts is a finite mind as it has been associated with finite phenomena and on the contrary a mind without thought not engaged by any material object can be thought of an infinite mind which is a meditative state. Also in Ashtanga yoga of patanjali the path to infinite mind has only been prescribed by first following the Dharna (concentration) principle. For patanjali concentration is the only way to meditation and without concentration there simply cannot be any meditation. It means there would have to be an element of concentration in yoga asana that would have to be carefully thought of. I like to see it as two simultaneous actions in a yoga posture. These actions are physical (Sharirik) action and mental (mansik) action. Sharirik (physical) and mansik (mental) asana must be done together. We can easily understand the movement of limbs to be Sharirik asana however what would be mental asana or mansik asana? Movement when done unconsciously is only physical however the same movement when done with full awareness transforms that action. Urdhvahastasana (arms overhead in mountain posture) is a very easy asana to understand this idea. Just lifting the arms up is merely a physical asana with no mental asana incorporated. However same Urdhvahastasana can be done by becoming aware of the root of the movement i.e. shoulder joint and by externally rotating the arm from shoulder joint with least movement happening in elbow and wrist joints. If this is not easily grasped I would recommend doing sputa tadasana (reclining mountain posture) with feet fixed against the wall and lifting arms over head with back of the hands touching mat. Now trying to stretch the arms without letting your shoulders lift up to ears and rotating upper arms inside out. This will definitely incorporate the mental asana. Staying in this state and becoming aware of breath is an effort and master points out a need to makecontinuous efforts till the time they posture becomes effortless and that can only be done with practice. Having tried it you may experience that this simple action has the ability to bring you to an aware state where mind is not engaged in finite however it transcends to another realm where in breath and body movements can be perceived as a drishta (seer) and not as a karta (doer). Salamba yoga tries to throw light on practicing yoga asanas and other limbs of yoga by contemplating deeply on Patanjali Yoga Sutras so as to understand the essence of the ideas presented by the master.

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