Asana which is one among the eight limbs of Yoga, actually means to stay or to abide. Asanas help in uniting the mind, body and soul of an individual. Asana is also called Yoga posture or Yoga pose. Through the practice of Asanas and Yoga postures, one can attain commitment and comfort during meditation. While performing Asanas, a mental balance is required to balance between activity and non-activity.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, each Asana is a reflection of mental attitude whether it is the surrendering attitude (As in forward bend) or strengthening of the determination (as in backward bend) or a prayer position (Padmasana) or sitting comfortably in a particular position for a long time as in Pranayama. Practice of Asanas helps one to handle difficult situations and demands.
Asanas naturally bring calmness and peace of mind, because one needs to focus on the breathing and postures, while practicing the Asanas. This in turn results in better mental functioning of the individual. Various studies have indicated that Asanas have immense healing effects.
Patanjali Yoga Sutra suggests that a combination of Pranayama, Asanas and meditation helps in maintaining a good health condition. They harmonize the energy levels, and peps up the spirits.
Asana is a dual path in which creating a positive mental attitude forms the base which is expressed spontaneously through Asana. When an internal attitude is performed in the form of an Asana, it gets instilled in the mind through the body. Either way, Asana is either a preparation for meditation or a meditation by itself.