Asanas is the third limb of Ashtanga yoga. It means posture. A steady and pleasant posture produces mental equilibrium and prevents fickleness of mind. “Asana” first appears in the Upanishads (about 800 BCE-200 BCE) and the Bhagavad Gita (about 500 BCE). Both of these texts use the term as meaning a seat for meditation and rituals. In Hatha Yoga posture was used to promote bodily health. The idea was this: If the body is a temple of the Divine and a unique opportunity for achieving liberation, we must do our best to keep it clean and in optimal condition. In Chapter Six, Verse 11 of the Bhagavad Gita described as: “To practice meditation, fix up a clean meditation place with your seat neither too high nor too low. Insulate the seat with a grass mat, then a deer skin, and over those a clean cloth.”
"Pranayama is control of breath". "prana" is breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So pranayama is "control of breath". We can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind. Patanjali in his text of yoga sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness; he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching samadhi. Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic activities in the body; they are prana, apana, vyan, udana & samana. Out of these prana and apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and apana is downward flowing. Practice of pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in healthy body and mind.
The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, is calm and serene and at peace, meditation happens.The benefits of meditation are manifold. It is an essential practice for mental hygiene. A calm mind, good concentration, clarity of perception, improvement in communication, blossoming of skills and talents, an unshakeable inner strength, healing, the ability to connect to an inner source of energy, relaxation, rejuvenation, and good luck are all natural results of meditating regularly. Nowadays world where stress catches on faster than the eye can see or the mind can perceive, meditation is no more a luxury. It is a necessity. To be unconditionally happy and to have peace of mind, we need to tap into the power of meditation.
The physical body is made up of five elements namely - Air, Water, Fire, Earth and sky. Imbalance of these elements disrupts the immunity system and causes disease. Deficiencies in any of these elements can be made up by connecting one part of the body with another in a particular manner through Mudras. When a finger representing an element is brought into contact with the thumb, that element is brought into balance. Therefore the disease caused by the imbalance is cured. Mudras start electromagnetic currents within the body which balance various constituting elements and restore health. The joining of fingers creates an effect on the human body.
Bandha means to lock, close-off, to stop. In the practice of a Bandha, the energy flow to a particular area of the body is blocked. When the Bandha is released, this causes the energy to flood more strongly through the body with an increased pressure. There are four types of Bandhas namely Mula Bandha - Anal Lock, Uddiyana Bandha - Lifting of the Diaphragm, Jalandhara Bandha - Chin Lock, Maha Bandha - Practice of all three Bandhas at the same time.
The human body is made by three basic constituents called tridoshas, which are Vata ( mechanical functional constituent of the body), Pitta (chemical functional constituent of the body) and Kapha ( material functional constituent of the body). If any imbalance in the constituents in the body leads to diseases. Yoga recommends six purification processes to get and keep the equilibrium of these tridoshas. They are called as Shat kriyas (six purification processes). They are Neti-Nasal cleansing, Dhauti-Cleaning of digestive tract, stomach,Nauli- Abdominal massage, Kaphalabhati - Purification of frontal lobes and lungs,Basti-Colon cleaning,Trataka-Blinkless gazing. These six cleansing processes are excellent practises designed to purify the whole body, and to get good health.