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Asana and Pranayama are probably the two most familiar of the eight limbs of yoga. They are the physical practice and breathing that we do in class. We can gain greater benefit when we fully understand them and how they integrate with our lives outside the studio.

Asana – harmony with the body

This is the physical practice of yoga. Our body is a temple of the spirit and taking care of it is critical to our growth. Through the practice of asanas we develop strength and flexibility, we detoxify our body, massage our organs, and cultivate balance. Through regular practice we cultivate discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.


Pranayama – harmony with the breath

means the control of prana – the life force, the breath. We open yoga classes with pranayama to bring our bodies into a fluid, alert, meditative space. Though prana is literally linked to the breath, the idea of life force, goes beyond the physical act of breathing. Pranayama engages our whole body. It replenishes energy and eases worry and tension. It rejuvenates the body and extends extends life.

Stay tuned for more on the 8 limbs of yoga in the next blog!