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"Overeating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, being in the company of common people and wavering mind are the six causes which destroy yoga." - Svātmārāma

Asana is spoken of as the first part of hatha yoga. Having done asana one gets steadiness (firmness) of body and mind; devoid of any form of disease and lightness (in terms of flexibility) of the limbs.

Hatha Yoga is preparing the body and predominantly constitutes asanas and pranayama (with kiryas, bandhas and mudras). 'Ha' (sun) and 'Tha' moon and yoga is 'to unite'. Hence, Hatha yoga's goal is to unite the hot sun energy flowing through pingala nadi connected to the right nostril and cold moon energy via ida nadi connected to the left nostril. The moon is the mental energy of chitta (pool of memory). It is the subtle force which is concerned with the mental layers. The pranic force is like the sun, dynamic and active. The two create the extremities of introversion and extroversion. It is the practice of hatha yoga which enables the fluctuations between these two energies to become harmonious and unified into one force. When it is united, the practitioner (sadhaka) attains a calm state of mind and set to progress to next level, Pratyahara (mastery over senses). With minimal practice this can be attained, but to sustain the state, a dedicated sustained practice is needed.

Yoga is a personal affair. It is not a group workout. Just like studying, painting and singing; people learn it as a group, but practice the teachings alone in solitude. Learn it from qualified people. As there is no guidelines to find the qualified teacher and everyone needs to find a teacher who resonate with them. Internet provides good lessons, but try to compare independent sources to understand the asanas clearly. 

To practice, find a room, just tall enough to jump without touching the ceiling, not wider than two to four times the width your stretched hands sideways, not longer than two to four times your height. This is to contain the vibrations in the preliminary stages. Keep it very clean as there will be rigorous breathing involved during pranayama. Ensure the room temperature at comfortable level. Since the asana's will exert heat, starting with a little cooler temperature is fine. Comfortable clothing and a floor with good grip will do. Yoga Mat and tight attire is western innovation to suit their needs. Just understanding the reason, like, the yoga studios have smooth surfaces, the mat was needed and since it has become a group activity here, the tight attire was needed to comfortably orient the body in all direction amidst others. This is as unimportant as the description of yoga hermitage (shelter) in hatha yoga pradipika.

There are 84 core asanas.  It is said that lord shiva has described eighty-four asanas, taking examples from each of the 8,400,000 kinds of creatures in the world. There have been several derivations from these 84 asanas. Since there is no place where the original 84 asanas are summarized and mentioned together, it might become a longer than expected quest to list down the original 84 asanas. We'll jump start with the main asanas and depending on the level of dedication, the practitioner can embark on the quest.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a series of 12 asanas done in succession. Sadakas (practitioners) generally practiced this during sunrise and also solar energy is life source for everything on earth. This is by far the only complete workout system for the body, meaning, when one can just practice this for the rest of their life, all the organs of the body will stay in top notch condition for their lifetime.
Start from tadasana (mountain pose) and go clockwise till you are back to the starting point. There are several variations in the internet, don't get diverted. Minor modification doesn't hurt. This can be practiced in single breath or multiple breaths (per pose), irrespective of that, while changing the pose the breath should be flowing. General rule of thumb is; when chest expands inhale and exhale when it contracts like bending forward. Repeat it 3-7 times, based on the time dedication.

Between the lunar cycle (28 days approx.) and the solar cycle (12 years approx.), there are many other cycles that directly impact us. Some one who is not so conscious will undergo alike situations, experiences, thoughts and emotions in a cyclic way. It keeps happening in same order every month, six months, eighteen months, three years or six years. If this cycle comes once in over twelve years, that means your system is in a good state of receptivity and balance. Surya namaskar will assert that balance. The sadhana (practice) is always to break the cycle of unconscious and autonomous activities. So that there is no more compulsiveness, and you have the right kind of foundation for consciousness.

Asanas are 84 in total, Practice at least these 21 and master at least 1. When you can perform these 21 asanas mentioned below, you can consider yourself graduated the course of asanas. There is abundant details on each asana and step by step guidance in the internet. KinoYoga is one of them. She learned hatha yoga from Pattabhi Jois, who was a preliminary student of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, father of modern yoga. All the Theories around each asana is explained in detail in the internet, my intention here is to emphasis on the practice and this information will serve as a stepping stone.

Standing Asanas
For these asanas, when the fingers are stretched out and in the line of sight, unwavering concentration on finger tips without blinking is necessary while sustaining the peak of the pose for 3-5 breaths.
1. Trikonasana (Traingle Pose): 'trikoṇa' literally means triangle. Practice both the poses shown below on both sides (left and right). This corrects the alignment of neck, shoulders and knees, massages pelvic organs and ligaments along with strengthening the ankles and core. concentrate on the finger tips.
2. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose): Strengthens legs and improves balance. Impersonate the attitude of a warrior to refine the level of concentration.
3. Pada-Hasthasana (Hand-Under-Foot Pose): Stretches and strengthens the total back from head to heals.
4. Talasana (Palm-Tree Pose): Stretches spine and corrects the alignment of all 24 unfused vertebrae of the spinal column. Simultaneously inhale and stretch towards the sky, standing on toes. Pierce those finger tips with eye sight. Exhale and relax into casual stand.
5. Vriksasana (Tree Pose): As obvious as it is; increases balance, poise and concentration. Start with a weak leg and finish with a strong leg.

6. Utkatasana (Chair Pose): Increases strength, balance and stability of the lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and calves).

Seated and lying-down Asanas
7. Bhadrasana (Cobbler Pose): Directs life force upwards, calms mental plane, and regulates the adrenal and reproductive organs. Recommended pose to treat infertility. Still in eastern countries, cobblers mend shoes in this pose and they'll often have several children.
8. Sethu-Bandhasana (Bridge Pose): Stretches legs, chest. Alleviates stress and depression. Best suited to relieve menstrual discomfort.
9. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal twist): It stands of half-lord of Fishes pose. Its primary purpose is restore spinal health and it is also said that it increases appetite, destroys deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini.
10. Shalabhasana (Locust Pose): Simulates svadhishthana Chakra(Gonads) and hence restoring hormonal balance. Strengthens gluteal muscles.
11. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Strengthens arms, chest and gluteal muscles. Improves metabolism.
12. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose): Strengthens arms, wrist, tones the body and improves balance and concentration. Mayurasana should not be done at the beginning of asana practice. Do it after performing other asanas or any inverted postures. Mayurasana quickly alleviates all diseases like enlargement of the glands, dropsy and other stomach disorders. It rectifies imbalance of the five elements. It reduces to ashes all food taken indiscriminately, kindles the gastric fire and enables even destruction of kalakuta (a deadly poison).
13. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):Stretches the front of the body; abs, quadriceps, chest and biceps.
14. Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward bend): Stretches the back of the body; spine, hamstrings and calves. Simulates manipura chakra (pancreas) and svadhishthana Chakra(Gonads).
15. Matsyasana (Fish Pose): Expands chest, relieves breathing disorders, tones pituitary and pineal glands.
16. Navasana (Boat Pose): Strengthens abs, simulates svadhishthana chakra (adrenal, reproductive glands).
17. Sarvangasana (Shoulder-stand): The pressure on vishuddhi chakra (thyroid gland), regulates the and restores metabolism to ideal state.
18. Halasana (Plow Pose): Stretches cervic spine (7 vertebae in the neck), which is often mis-aligned due to the day to day activities.
19. Sirshasana (Head-stand): It is called King of asanas and it is practiced to reverse attitudes, literally. Looks harder, but with right guidance, you'll be doing it in less than ten minutes. Head and elbows form a tripod, which supports the body much easily than it looks. Short-tempered people should compensate by cooling their head with different means while practicing this asanas. Else they might have more frequent outbursts of anger.
20. Balasana (Child/Rabbit Pose): Natural pose, restores blood flow to normal, especially after head/shoulder stands.
21. Savasana (Corpse Pose): Looks easy, but the perfection is attained when you can move you attention to any part of the body instantaneously and seize all attention out at will.
There are asanas like natarajasana, titibasana, vakrasana, vrschikasana, etc. that looks visually stunning, and does need regular practice to attain the pose. Once the sadhaka (practitioner) can perform the above 21 with ease, explore and try such asanas to keep from getting monotonous and to continuously challenging oneself.

21 Asanas: Download this image and print it for quick reference

Dhyana Asanas ( Seated Postures for Meditation)
Practice all these 4 and find one that best suits you for meditation. This will be the stepping stone for further sadhanas (practices). Once meditation transcends on the practitioner, the sense of time is shaken and one can go hours in the same pose.
1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose): Natural siting posture. However, in this pose people tend to relax on the spine and when the spine is not erect, the energy flow is not even.

2. Siddhasana (Perfect Pose): Siddhasana is purely a meditative posture. It is designed to channelize the prana (life force) or vital energy directly to ajna chakra (endocrine glands between eyebrows). Siddhasana prevents nervous depression from occurring during meditation. Siddhasana purifies all the 72,000 nadis (energy channels) in the body. It is also said that just by meditating in siddhasana for 12 years, enlightenment is attained.

3. Vajrasana (Diamond Pose): Vajrasana can be practiced even right after a meal. Its is not possible to bend the spine in this pose, hence it is one of the apt poses for meditation.

4. Padmasana (Lotus Pose): Again, this is a fool-proof method to ensure right posture. Spine will stay erect automatically.

Shat-kriyas (six cleansing methods), followed by asanas, then pranayama with bandhas and meditating in one of these poses with right mudras (hand gestures) will put the sadhaka (practitioner) on a fast-track in attaining higher goals in yoga.

Next: Yoga: 4. Pranayama: Extension of Life Force