Cultural Asanas involve static stretching, which brings about proper muscle tone. They contribute to spinal flexibility and make the back and spinal muscles stronger. These Yoga asanas are named Cultural Asanas because of their central role in forming a comprehensive, physical culture of exercise and well-being. The Cultural Asanas can be divided into seven groups, which are:-
- Dynamic Sequences Surya Namaskar
- Inverted Postures eg. Headstand
- Forward Bending Postures eg. Paschimottanasana.
- Backward Bending Postures eg. Bhujangasana
- Twisting Postures eg. Ardhamatsayendrasana
- Sideward Bending Postures eg. Trikonasana
- Standing Postures eg. Vrakshasana
Every Yoga asana practice should use at least one out of every group of asanas to move the spine in every direction and use all the muscles of your body. Depending on how you practice them, you influence the flow of ‘Prana’ in your body. We should ideally practice from top to down [crown to root] or from down to up [root to crown]. These postures are essentially meant for culturing the body and mind. The circulatory system can be kept in optimum working condition through the practice of these postures as they guarantee proper nourishment and secretions of the endocrine glands to the tissues of the organs in our body. They also enable the proper functioning of the organs in the thoracic and abdominal cavities, thus regulating the respiratory and digestive systems. Hence they actually work on the body from the inside out.
Cultural asanas can actually be termed as ‘daily physical exercise postures.’ So, we do need to practice them daily, well almost! For best results, it’s great to do a few postures every day or at least 3-5 times a week. Now that you know this, why not pull out that mat and get onto it for some asana practice? Meet you next week with more on the Standing Postures.
Neelanjana Bharadwaj – Yoga Expert