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Yoga Poses + Meditation = Perfection in Spirit

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The third stage of the eight-fold Yoga Sutras of the great exponent of yoga Maharishi Patanjali is known as asana, meaning simply posture.

Every serious yogi must study and practice them if he or she wants to reach the ultimate goal of yoga - the perfect bliss in the spirit.

The third stage on the eightfold path is known as asana, which means, simply, posture. Some writers have tried to make the point that Patanjali refers here to the need for practicing the yoga pos- tures as a preparation for meditation. But Patanjali was talking, not of prac- tices, but of the different stages of spiri- tual development. Here, then, posture means no particular set of postures, but only the ability to hold the body still as a prerequisite for deep meditation.

Any comfortable posture will do, as long as the spine is kept erect and the body relaxed. A sign of perfection in asana is said to be the ability to sit still, without moving a muscle, for three hours. Many people meditate for years without achieving any notable results, simply because they have never trained their bodies to sit still. Until the body can be mastered, higher perceptions, so subtle that they blossom only in perfect quiet, can never be achieved. It is good, of course, to practice some оf the yoga postures before meditation.

These postures help one to attain asana, or firm posture. Many beginning stu- dents, however, make the mistake of assuming that they must perfect their practice of the yoga postures before even attempting to meditate. This is quite untrue. It is not even necessary to prac- tice the postures at all in order to learn meditation. The postures are only an aid, though a very great one, to meditation.

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