|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 95 ]
Many of the yoga postures (asanas) in hatha yoga can also be used as a form of kriya, meaning that motion is added to the static position of the yoga pose along with specific breathing directives in order to achieve a desired cleansing, purifying or physically stimulating effect (i.e., on the movement of blood, nervous energy, lymph or subtle prana).
These practices are highly beneficial within the physical component of one’s yoga sadhana.
There are essentially two distinct ways that asanas are being taught and practiced today: one where postures are maintained in strict, static form, and the other, perhaps most popular in Western yoga circles, where intense, gymnastic-type movements are performed with their underlying form relating to that of some of the classical asanas.
It is important to understand, though, that merely adding motion to an otherwise static asana (i.e. jumping or moving in succession from one position to the next) does not necessarily make it a kriya, nor provide the same benefits.
Kriyas are specifically designed movements from or within certain asanas, with inherent physical and energetic effects.
Many new, inexperienced yoga teachers are making big mistakes. Without the proper experience and understanding of the deeper dimensions of yoga practice, they begin to adapt, re-invent and reformulate many series of yoga practices according more to their whims and fancies than to the specific methodology and science behind yoga.
The result is little more than physical exerises which usually fall well short of the profound effects that we have the potential to acheive through the proper practice of yoga.
Throughout these lessons you will be instructed in various techniques, some of which will be performed as asanas, and others as kriyas, in a unique and powerful system that reflects the proper yogic approach to help purify on many levels, invigorate and enliven the being, and prepare you in a systematic way for higher and more advanced practices of yoga...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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