Postures has always been a discussion in yogic culture. Some yoga schools classify yoga postures as STANDING, SITTING, LYING ON BACK & LYING ON STOMACH. While some yoga school will classify as: FORWAD BENDING, BACKWARD BENDING, TWISTING, INVERSIONS, EXTENSIONS & BALANCING.
Here I would like to put the traditional view on classification of Yoga Postures, where there are only 3 categories as below:
- Cultural Postures
- Postures for Relaxation
- Meditative Postures.
In this category comes all the postures that help to stretch the body from various directions. By activating specific muscles, ligament, tendons and nerves, the purpose of cultural postures is to release tension from each and every part of our body. Cultural postures helps exercise muscles and joints, stimulate our internal organs and regulates our internal organs. Cultural postures can be very therapeutic. All type of forward bend, backward bend, twisting, balancing, inversion, and extensions are Cultural postures. Pachimottasana , Bhunjasana , dhanurasana , vrikshasana , Ardhya-matysendrasana and Shirshasana are few cultural postures.
POSTURES FOR RELAXATION:
The purpose of these postures is to provide rest to the body in between or/and after the practice of cultural postures. Traditionally there are only 2 postures for relaxation: SHAVASANA (The Corpse Pose) & MAKARASANA (Crocodile Posture). Shavasana provides complete rest to the body at the end of a yoga class. The feeling after a good shavasana is always very refreshing. In yogic tradition, there is great importance of SHAVASANA as the practice of YOGA NIDRA (physic sleep) is done in SHAVASANA.
MEDITATIVE POSTURES: The purpose of CULTURAL POSTURES and POSTURES FOR RELAXATION is to prepare the body for meditative posture. Meditative postures provide good stability and comfort to the body. These postures allow one to sit longer without any physical discomfort. We must not forget that physical stability and comfort, both are complementary to each other. Stability in the meditative postures brings great comfort and vice versa. Meditative postures helps to keep the back straight by maintaining the natural bends of spine. One can choose a comfortable meditative posture for meditation, which allows proper blood flow towards lower half body. There are total of 4 MEDITATIVE POSTURES as per tradition are: SUKHASANA, PADMASANA, SIDDHASANA & SWASTIKASANA