Why Is The Order Of A Yoga Class Asana, Then Pranayama, Then Meditation?

April 17, 2023 |


Ever wondered why the order of a yoga class is asana, pranayama, then meditation? Here’s why:

Different elements of a yoga practice tend to different parts of the body.

We begin with the physical body because the body is the densest part of us. We use a ‘dense’ tool to clear and balance it. That tool is asana.

Once we’ve balanced the physical body, we address the parts of us that are more subtle. Specifically, we clear and balance our energy body. How do we do that? With pranayama.

Even more subtle than energy is the mind, which is why we turn to it last. The method we use for clearing the mind (and for accessing the awareness beyond the mind) is meditation.

If you have a home yoga practice, you may have experienced the effects of practicing like this already. Think of when you’re short on time and so, instead of doing a full practice you just sit to meditate. Your meditation is probably fine but you notice it takes longer to ‘drop’ into it. The body is more fidgety, the mind is busier. There are some denser layers of experience you have to burn through first.

Alternatively, think about when you’ve had lots of time, and you’ve done a full practice before you sat down to meditate. Probably, you dropped into it more quickly, there was less mental chatter, and the whole process felt softer and smoother.

That’s because you swept the body (from the most dense to the most subtle parts of you) progressively during your practice.

That ’s what the techniques are designed to do. It’s why they’re in that order.

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