Let’s look at what may be considered the very basic unit of Hata Yoga: the asana. People today think of asanas as impressive body-twisting postures that are essentially about fitness, flexibility or building muscle. Whereas “yoga,” by its very definition, means “that which takes you on to a higher dimension or higher perception of life. Hata yoga demands a certain involvement of body, mind, energy and the inner-most core. Unfortunately something this profound is often reduced to a physical exercise.

“Asana” quite simply means “a posture.” Any way that we may sit, stand or position our hands is an asana. And so, innumerable asanas are possible. However, a particular posture that leads you to a higher possibility is called a yogasana. There are eighty-four basic yogasanas through which one can elevate one’s consciousness. Sadhguru says, “When we say eighty-four asanas, do not think of them as just eighty-four postures. These are eighty-four systems, eighty-four ways of attaining.”

It’s All About Ease

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says: Sukham sthiram asanam. That which is absolutely comfortable and stable is your asana. What does it mean? Sadhguru explains: “It simply means that your body is at ease, your mind is at ease, and your energy is at full vibrance and balance. Now you are naturally meditative.” The asana is a preparatory step to come to a state of naturally being meditative. So in a way, asanas are a dynamic way of meditating.

It is very important to understand that asanas are not exercises. Yogis have always understood that the physical body has a whole memory structure. Everything – from how this cosmos evolved from nothingness up to this point – is just written into this body. So when we do asanas, we are opening up that memory and trying to restructure this life towards an ultimate possibility. It is a very subtle and scientific process – and it can become an explosive experience.

Just One Asana

Usually, Hata Yoga involves the practice of many asanas that together offer a range of holistic benefits. However, this is not to underrate the power of a single asana. Many yogis master only one asana. Known as asana siddhi, this is a gradual process where the body becomes absolutely at ease. This, Sadhguru says, is the attempt “to get this body geometrically in line with the cosmic geometry. If you learn to just hold it right, you can download the whole cosmos. This is yoga. If you simply sit right, everything that’s worth knowing can be known to you from within.”

The 2nd Isha Hata Yoga Teacher Training Program has been announced! The 21-week program  starting from July 22nd to Dec 16th, 2013 is an unparalleled possibility to acquire a complete understanding of the yogic system, and the proficiency to teach Hata Yoga. For more information, visit www.ishahatayoga.com or mail info@ishahatayoga.com.
POSTED IN:Yoga & Meditation, Demystifying Yoga
TAGS: Asana, Classical Yoga, Hata Yoga, Well-Being
  • http://softwarebuzzer.com/ Suresh Kumar

    Links are not linked properly, check it out

  • Nikole

    this is really enlightening especially with the fact that most people see yoga as a form of physical exercise so with asanas as well. thank you for this Sadhguru, another good read.

  • shankar

    of course u can do that in sukhasana or siddhasana or padmasana. But the important thing there should not be any shaking of the body or head. Lock ur body by keeping the hands close to ur body and do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565961190 Tina Jabr

      Please do not make such suggestions without being sure. At Isha we teach Kapalabhathis ONLY in vajrasana.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565961190 Tina Jabr

    Namaskaram Jack, you can use cushions to make the vajrasana posture more comfortable for you, or you can rest in between each cycle (as they taught you in the program). As you practice, the numbness in your legs will reduce, and you can go for 150-300 Kapalabhathis per cycle, engage the locks then rest (with eyes closed of course). I would suggest you attend the local Sathsang and ask the teacher there to guide you further if you have doubts.

    • Jack

      thank u for answering have another question also if cant able to do within this one cycle can we increase the cycle of kapalbhathi like we doing three rounds(cycle including lock) instead can we do four or five rounds ????

      • Tina Jabr

        no Jack, please do not make any changes to the way the kriya was taught to you. it is a 10,000 year old science…with our limited understanding of how the human system functions we should not tread there :)

  • http://twitter.com/OathBoundAmazon Oath Bound Amazon

    That is fascinating! Thank you for sharing that clear and illuminating explanation. I do yoga at the moment as a means of regaining and retaining the fullest use of my body possible, I was sent to a yoga instructor as a means of self care and recovery after an injury. I know I need to learn more, as I don’t truly understand why I’m doing what I’m doing–but even doing yoga for the wrong reasons is useful, right? It certainly has helped me recover and regain some of my lost abilities, and led me to a better partnership with my body.
    What you say above caused me to relate the asanas to the ogham, an Irish system of knowledge. On the surface, it is an alphabet, but on a deeper level each letter is a set of related concepts, a way of seeing one aspect of the universe. The runes are similar, but they come with postures as well. I don’t work with runes, but the associations between those two systems are interesting and useful to me. Thinking of yoga through that lens is something I’m looking forward to. Someday I hope to be in the right place at the right time to take some of your classes.

    • ishahatayogi

      Even Sadhguru tells of how he started yoga for the “wrong” reasons. When he was a small boy, he saw how a 70 year old man could climb out of a well faster than he could, and wanted to know his secret!

      So, whatever brings you to yoga is OK. What it can bring to you if you do it properly is far beyond your imagination. It has changed my life in so many ways! Whatever brings you to yoga is fine, but it’s how you approach it that makes the difference.

      You don’t need to go to India to learn classical Hata Yoga. There are trained Isha Yoga teachers across Europe, in America and in Africa now, so contact your local centre for more information. The classes are really quite accessible now :)

      All the best,


  • Barbara Goehl

    How do I find a teacher in my area?