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Many of us can admit that during Yoga, most of the time, we have absolutely no idea what the teacher is talking about. Every other word seems to end with ‘-asana’ and sometimes it even sounds as though they are completely making it up, for example ‘plank-asana’. What’s next? Press-up-asana? This week we hope to clear up the confusion and enhance your practice by taking a look at the definition of the word ‘asana’.

Asana, put simply, means pose or posture of the body. Therefore, the reason ‘plank’ might end with ‘asana’ is because it simply describes what the movement is. An asana is widely defined as ‘to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed’. (Relaxed during plank?! - let's just go with it..) Asana is one of the 8 limbs of classical yoga and promote good health by placing our bodies in positions that cultivate relaxation, awareness and concentration.

There are 12 basic asanas that are performed to stimulate the circulatory system, calm the mind and reduce stress. They are as follows:

Headstand (Sirshasana)

Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

Plough (Halasana)

Fish (Matsyasna)

Sitting Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Locust (Shalabhasana)

Bow (Dhanurasana)

Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Crow or Peacock (Kakasana or Mayurasana)

Standing Forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)

Triangle (Trikonasana)

As you become more familiar with these exercises, and keep in mind the ideas and reasons behind them, hopefully you will start to feel a little less confused and a little more relaxed...

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