The mental, emotional, and energetic aspects of asana can be as great if not greater than the physical aspect. When the mind pictures the benefits of a pose, the energy moves more easily to that part. Then we receive maximum benefits from the practice—a relaxed, healthy body and mind. All this stretching leads us to a supple body of health and strength that is able to be active as well as to sit perfectly still.

On an emotional level, a woman’s sensitivity often shifts to more masculine energy if she continually takes on challenges and engages in competition. Instead of experiencing feelings of compassion when confronted with a situation, we may first exhibit anger. Because of the emphasis placed on our more masculine side, our feminine qualities become depleted instead of enhanced. Both aspects—the feminine and, also, the masculine—need to be honored.

Today, there are hundreds of methods and schools for practicing Yoga poses. Choose the type of asana you want to practice, based not just on the physical benefits but also on how it will affect your emotional makeup. It is essential to understand what type of practice your particular temperament requires. Also, be aware of the effect that the practice is having on the subtle nervous system. If your nervous system is sensitive and you adopt a rigorous asana practice, it may cause an imbalance. Allow asana to be one part of your complete Hatha Yoga practice (poses, relaxation, and pranayama). As the practice is established it affords a flexibility of body, mind, and emotions. With this comes balance and the yearning to be still and know your Self.

About the Author:

Nischala Joy Devi is a masterful teacher and healer, recognized for her innovative way of expressing Yoga and its subtle uses for spiritual growth and complete healing. Her dynamic delivery and deep inner conviction empower each individual, allowing the teachings to expand beyond boundaries and limitations of any one tradition enabling her to touch people’s hearts. Originally trained in Western medicine, she began to blend her practice with Yoga. She offered her expertise in developing the Yoga portion of The Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease and co-founded the award-winning Commonweal Cancer Help Program. Her book, The Healing Path of Yoga, and her Abundant WellBeing audio series expresses these teachings. She was graced to spend over twenty-five years as a monastic disciple with the world-renowned Swami Satchidananda, receiving his direct guidance and teachings. She is now dedicated to bringing the feminine back into spirituality and the scriptures. Her book, The Secret Power of Yoga, is a woman’s guide to the heart and spirit of the Yoga Sutras. Understanding the need for more love and compassion in today’s world, The Namaste Effect, explores a heart-centered way of living through the mystical chakras.  Meditation in the Yoga Tradition, her latest book, encourages a deep meditation practice culminating in experiencing the light within.