(Last Updated on : 04/05/2017)
Meditative Asanas are the postures one assumes in order to sit or stand comfortably for extended durations, enabling one to concentrate and meditate without interference from muscle proprioceptors. The idea behind Meditative Asanas is merely to position oneself in such a way so that ones limbs cease to send stimuli to the mind, allowing the practitioner to concentrate on meditation
Meditative Asanas have been consistently mentioned in various Indian Text on Yoga
over the ages, including the Puranas
and the Vedas
, and have formed the core around which a comprehensive physical culture of asana practice was developed.
Types of Meditative Asanas
classified as meditative are considered highly important in the canonical Yoga
texts. There are 12 meditative postures listed in various Hatha Yoga
manuals, and variations on the same have been devised over the years, of which 16 are known, resulting in a total of 28 Meditative Asanas. Only 19 of these, however, can be considered real Meditative Asanas, since the others are corrective or cultural.
The "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" (1400 AD) claims that Lord Shiva
taught 84 Classic Asanas
, with 4 paramount amongst them: the Siddha, Padma, Simha and Bhadrasanas, and singles out Siddhasana as the Chief of all Asanas. It attaches nearly as much importance to the latter three.
Postures of Meditative Asanas
All the meditative Asanas are similar, and invariably involve keeping the neck and body erect to let the blood flow freely along the spine and to avoid pressure on the visceral organs. The legs are rooted to the ground to maintain a steady posture. Meditative Asanas are also performed with either of two gazes; the nasal gaze and the frontal gaze (focusing on the nose or directly in front) and also involve the three Bandhas: the chin lock, abdominal compression and anal contraction. Some hand and finger symbolisms known as Mudras, are also performed in some meditative Asanas.
Effects of Meditative Asanas
Meditative Asanas are devised essentially as it aids in meditation and concentration. These Asanas are not generally expected to cure ailments, and do not have cultural or therapeutic qualities, although some do prove effective as exercises
. The meditative Asanas offer absolute peace of mind and relaxation throughout the body if done regularly.
Meditative Asanas are highly significant in the history of yoga
, and are often the only Asanas described in the ancient texts. Ancient, yet still relevant, meditative Asanas are a pivotal part of Yoga practice
and Indian culture