āsana – the temple of self-realization


“sukhenaiva bhavedyasminnajasraṁ brahmacintanam |
āsanaṁ tadvijānīyānnetarat
sukhanāśanam ||”
One should know that as real āsana, in which Brahman fills consciousness spontaneously and
unceasingly. And not any other that destroys one’s happiness.
Aparokṣānubhuti, Śrī Adi Śaṅkara (ca. 500-800 CE)

ashtanga asana philosophy

Merely practicing physical postures is obviously not the meaning of Yoga. By reading Adi Śaṅkara we understand that incorrect practices have caused harm since ancient times. On the other hand texts like the Aparokṣānubhuti and Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra also prove the ancient tradition and importance of āsana practice. That it has always been more than just seated postures as some scholars claim nowadays. The scriptures serve as a compass and help us stay on the right path.

Patañjali prescribed making yoga-āsana stable and pleasant. By liberating from effort the practice prepares body, ego structure, nervous system and mind for prāṇāyāma, concentration, meditation and unending (!) samādhi.

About 1000 years later, the legendary philosopher Adi Śaṅkara confirms that true āsana is the temple in which self-realization arises spontaneously, the fascinating experience of being fully immersed in the present moment, the true nature of reality (Brahman). Yoga.

Āsana can be nothing or become all. The quality of your practice makes all the difference.