In this article you’ll find Swami Vivekananda‘s quotations and comments on Asana(Sanskrit/Hindi: आसन, Bengali: আসন). Asana is the third stage or limb of Raja Yoga. It is generally associated with the practice of Yoga.
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Swami Vivekananda told—[Source]
The next step is Asana, posture. A series of exercises, physical and mental, is to be gone through every day, until certain higher states are reached. Therefore it is quite necessary that we should find a posture in which we can remain long. That posture which is the easiest for one should be the one chosen. For thinking, a certain posture may be very easy for one man, while to another it may be very difficult. We will find later on that during the study of these psychological matters a good deal of activity goes on in the body. Nerve currents will have to be displaced and given a new channel. New sorts of vibrations will begin, the whole constitution will be remodelled as it were. But the main part of the activity will lie along the spinal column, so that the one thing necessary for the posture is to hold the spinal column free, sitting erect, holding the three parts — the chest, neck, and head — in a straight line. Let the whole weight of the body be supported by the ribs, and then you have an easy natural postures with the spine straight. You will easily see that you cannot think very high thoughts with the chest in. This portion of the Yoga is a little similar to the Hatha-Yoga which deals entirely with the physical body, its aim being to make the physical body very strong. We have nothing to do with it here, because its practices are very difficult, and cannot be learned in a day, and, after all, do not lead to much spiritual growth. Many of these practices you will find in Delsarte and other teachers, such as placing the body in different postures, but the object in these is physical, not psychological. There is not one muscle in the body over which a man cannot establish a perfect control. The heart can be made to stop or go on at his bidding, and each part of the organism can be similarly controlled.
Swami Vivekananda described—[Source]
The seat must be firm, the head, ribs, and body in a straight line, erect. Say to yourself that you are firmly seated, and that nothing can move you. Then mention the perfection of the body, bit by bit, from head to foot. Think of it as being clear as crystal, and as a perfect vessel to sail over the sea of life.
From Swami Vivekananda’s lecture Concentration—[Source]
Then Asana, posture. There are eighty-four postures: but the best is that most natural to each one; that is, which can be kept longest with the greatest ease.
According to Vivekananda—[Source]
The only thing to understand about it is leaving the body free, holding the chest, shoulders, and head straight.
He also told, in Asana—[Source]
posture. hips, shoulders, and head must be held straight, leaving the spine free.
Swamiji commented on Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, Chapter: II, Concentration: Its Practice, verse: 46—[Source]
Posture is that which is firm and pleasant.
Now comes Asana, posture. Until you can get a firm seat you cannot practise the breathing and other exercises. Firmness of seat means that you do not feel the body at all. In the ordinary way, you will find that as soon as you sit for a few minutes all sorts of disturbances come into the body; but when you have got beyond the idea of a concrete body, you will lose all sense of the body. You will feel neither pleasure nor pain. And when you take your body up again, it will feel so rested. It is the only perfect rest that you can give to the body. When you have succeeded in conquering the body and keeping it firm, your practice will remain firm, but while you are disturbed by the body, your nerves become disturbed, and you cannot concentrate the mind.
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