Can you have Yoga Without Asana?

What asana means, and how I yoga without it

Four years ago I completed my yoga teacher training.

It changed me too.

Midway through it, I went into existential crisis and, to be brutally honest, I’m not sure if I’m truly out of it.

But worse, I found out beyond a shadow of a doubt that my chakras were well and truly fucked.

Of particular significance was my root chakra — which obviously represented my home, and my finances. That explained a lot.

Simultaneously I started to gain hope — and it — that yoga could fix me.

Then there was the stuff about myself that I actually did know about already — like fear of public speaking.

Yoga helped me see myself in all my glorious layers — and it showed me what needed work.

Suffice to say, it could all do with some attention.

Yoga became my own personal practice while I project managed my own transformation.

T-h-i-s was the tool that I came for.

We can do it hot, we can do it fast, we can do it slow, we can do it with partners, we can do it to music, and we can do it in the air.

In classes today, you can literally practice yoga in every single way, but — with the rare exception — in its true, traditional sense.

  • In the early 20th century, Ashtanga and Iyengar branched off, giving us a heap more postures (see the excellent Light on Yoga, in which BKS Iyengar sets out 200 postures)
  • Then in the 21st century…. Well.

We’ve had an asana revolution — this is what globalisation has done to yoga.

Before this though, in the 4,500 or so years that came before, asana literally translated as “seat”.

Not jump, hop, balance, and throw shapes like a contortionist.

So the yoga that we think of today is really very modern.

So … Can you practice yoga without asana?

Yoga Sutra 1.2:

The physical practice grounds us.

It’s the bridge back to the human body, to the earth — to life.

As I feel my life starting to gear back up, the daily habit of both meditation and a physical practice creates a framework for me to hold my shit together as I continue on in my new direction.

I’m back to the Ashtanga primary series with a vengeance, after our little break. (Undeniably, we were on a break).

Yoga is both the journey and the destination.

Yoga without asana is a thing. It’s probably the main show, but you wouldn’t know that from social media and gym timetables.

Founder, feminist, entrepreneur, coffee + self care

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