Progress in all forms of yoga is directly related to how persistent and regular one practices. Asana is no exception. To obtain the most benefit one should practice every day, beginners should develop a daily practice from the start. Asana, like brushing your teeth, bathing, or a good nights’ sleep, should be done every day. The effect of regular asana practice on the physical body can readily be seen as joints and muscles gain flexibility and strength. The skin takes on a luminous glow and eyes sparkle. One feels lighter and at the same time able to articulate his/her body as agility and coordination develop.
The benefits of asana practice, however, reach far greater than skin, muscles and joints. More than other physical practices, asana practice directly affects the endocrine system, stimulating and balancing the glandular secretions. The long term positive effect that asana practice can have on the endocrine system only comes about when the practice is daily. A healthy endocrine system contributes to a healthier physical body and can even slow down the aging process. One’s metabolism becomes balanced resulting in better digestion and assimilation of food. Compulsive eating is curbed. The immune system is strengthened and stabilized. One feels more energetic and at the same time calm. Stress reduction occurs naturally, as emotions become stabilized. One gains access to inner wells of creativity. But perhaps the most extraordinary effect is the expansion of consciousness that occurs from the stimulation of the master glands through asana, especially regular inversion practice. When consciousness or the “knowing principal” expands to include cosmic awareness then the individual begins to perceive him/herself not as a separate insignificant person but as a dynamic player in the community life. Fear and insecurity begin to lift as true self confidence dawns. Eternal bliss or samadhi, the ultimate result of yoga practice, is realized. One feels their whole being-body and mind as a vehicle for the Divine Will.
With the New Year beginning and an increasing turbulent world, a consistent spiritual and physical practice will create a calm immediate surrounding. Just as a regular practice expands your consciousness, it expands your capacity to cope with the “everyday” and increases your ability to positively affect others, with less effort. The only thing that any of us really “have” in this life is our effect upon others. How we treat others determines the kind of world we live in. Asana practice can transform your life allowing you to better contribute to a positive atmosphere which in turn can benefit the world.
Asana practice can lead to tremendous health benefits and profound spiritual realizations, only if approached with a persistent and intense commitment. As a New Year’s resolution take an asana class every day for a month. Start with a commitment for January to see and feel if there is a profoundly positive alteration in your life.