Despite its immense popularity a lot of people still have misconceptions about Asana. Some think that it is merely some form of exercise that involves stretching exercises and certain poses. Others think that it is a religion and that participants are converts to some eastern faith system. None of this is true. Asana is simply a philosophy that aims at improving the health of the mind, body and spirit.
The basis of Asana focus on the mastery of numerous stretching exercises and poses. These exercise and pose are not the true purpose of Asana, however. They only serve as tools to help practitioners to attain focus and to help them to improve their minds, their bodies and their spirits. Newcomers should realise that there are several approaches to this discipline. Some forms are more strenuous and others more relaxed.
There is never any pressure on those that practice Asana. There are no competitions and classes routinely consist of members at various levels of achievement. Nobody is ever pressurised to progress to the next level. Even better, even very young and very old people can actively participate. There are even some severely physically disabled people that benefit from this philosophy.
Empirical studies of Asana has shown that this philosophy holds many health benefits. Patients with high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, some forms of cancer and depression, to name just a few have benefited from practising Asana. Practitioners find that they are calmer, more subtle, fitter and more positive about life when they regularly perform their exercises and routines. They also benefit greatly from the social interaction with others in their group.
It does not require much to start enjoying the benefits of Asana. No special clothing or equipment is required. It is even possible to start in isolation, although at least a few beginners classes are highly recommended. The risk of injury is just about non existent. Beginners can join classes whenever they want because every participant progresses at his or her own pace. There are classes in almost every town and city.
There are lots of resources for those that want to get going with Asana. Not only does every bookshop stock numerous resources, but the internet also offer a myriad of sites aiming at helping people to get going. Many sites offer free training videos and some even offer forums where practitioners can exchange experiences, ask advice or join each other for physical interaction.
Modern life is complex, demanding and stressful. It seems that Asana has given millions of people an opportunity to not only negate the stresses that they experience every day, but to also grow as individuals. Asana is certainly here to stay.