Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights and Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) : Benefits of Yoga Asanas

January 13, 2018

 Benefits of Yoga Asanas

    One must train oneself to appreciate the benefits of yoga asanas and to be thankful. When I even sense a little improvement, I taste it, become aware of it, fall in love with it and thank God for it. If I do that then I am not likely to gamble it away. I see that it is the path to perfection. Then I will really and seriously avoid all that creates the problems again and go still further to see if the purification continues.

The yoga asanas themselves have been so framed that they work upon the inner systems of the body, not the muscles and bones and so on but the brain, the nervous system and the endocrine glands. The only purely physiological influence that the yoga asanas have is in the case of the digestive system. All the rest is almost psychic.

     The yogi’s theory is that if the flow of prana is clean and pure then both the mind and the body will function properly - not because of the food we eat and the tonics we take. What is prana? Nobody knows. We see one thing very clearly and that is that as long as the body lives, the body functions and the mind functions. When the life force leaves the body the mind is not able to think and the body is not able to function. That which makes the body and the mind function is prana, yet neither the body nor the mind can understand it. (This flow is not flow in the sense of a river or the current in the electric wires, but it is like the flow of radio waves in the room.) When the prana is obstructed, it will send out signals either of pain or of dullness.

     One should become sensitive to these two aspects of destruction: one brought about by wrong eating, wrong ways of living and wrong habits, and the other, dullness brought about by laziness. When these two are avoided then one communicates with this prana.  It is this prana that connects the body with the mind. What happens in the mind is reflected in the body and what happens in the body is reflected in the mind.

     When the body and the mind are pure, when the prana flows unobstructedly, there is great sense of well-being and there is purity. That is all the yoga asanas and pranayama are meant to achieve. This is really not an achievement or a goal because that is your natural state. The body continues to live, to exist as long as it is meant to live.

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