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April 27, 2015
Thank you Priyah,
An added benefit to performing the asanas is that the ancient yogis who developed the poses were acutely aware of the placement of the internal infrastructure, such as glands, nerves and organs. They understood that the placement of the body into certain contortions would stimulate particular areas of that structure. For example, a shoulder stand uses the bodys weight through gravity to bring the blood to the thyroid gland or the seated forward bend that massages and stimulates the digestive organs as well as realigns the spine. The ancient yogis knew that stretching the body would cause an increase in the blood supply to the muscles making them healthier and more efficient.
The physical goal of the asana (yoga posture) is to rejuvenate or maintain vitality in the physical body. Vitality is located in three main areas of the body: the brain and spine, the glandular system, and the internal organs. The brain is the nerve center of the body as well as the center of all intelligence activity and so much more that we have no idea how to measure. It is said that we use less than 10% of this vital organ in daily life. A healthy, stimulated brain engenders improved brain function and this can easily be accomplished through regular yoga practice.
Perhaps more important than brain function for the body, as an entity, is the health of the spine. While the brain muscle is encased in the cranium, the spine is loosely protected by the undulating, porous vertebrae system. Since the spine is so vulnerable, ancient yogis sought to protect it as much as possible by designing a system of asanas that help to keep it flexible and aligned properly. The many back bending poses achieve this goal. From camels pose to chakrasana the spine is stimulated and strengthened and kept aligned by careful, correct execution of the asanas.
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