INSTRUCTIONS ON ASANAS
1. Asana is the first Anga of the Ashtanga Yoga. When you are established in Asana, then only you will derive the benefits of Pranayama.
2. Spread a blanket on the floor and practise the Asanas over the blanket. Use a pillow or four-folded blanket for practising Sirshasana and its varieties.
3. Wear a Langotee or Kowpeen when you practise Asanas. You can have a banian on the body.
4. Do not wear spectacles when you do Asanas. They may be broken or they will injure your eyes.
5. Those who practise Sirshasana, etc., for a long time, should take light tiffin or a cup of milk after finishing the Asanas.
6. Be regular in the practice. Those who practise by fits and starts will not derive any benefit.
7. Asana should be done on empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning time is best for doing Asanas.
8. If the foundation of a building is not properly laid, the superstructure will fall down in no time, even so if a Yogic student has not gained mastery over the Asanas, he cannot successfully proceed in his higher courses of Yogic practices.
9. Japa and Pranayama should go hand in hand with Yoga Asanas. Then only it becomes real Yoga.
10. In the beginning you cannot perform some of the Asanas perfectly. Regular practice will give perfection. Patience and perseverance, earnestness and sincerity are needed.
11. Never change the Asanas. Adhere to one set tenaciously. If you do one set of Asanas today and some other tomorrow and so on, you cannot derive any benefit.
12. The more steady you are on the Asana the more you will be able to concentrate and make your mind one-pointed. You cannot get on well in your meditation without having a steady posture.
13. Mild Kumbhaka during the practice of Asanas augments the efficacy of Asanas and give increased power and vitality to the practitioner.
14. Everyone should select a course of a few Asanas to suit his temperament, capacity, convenience, leisure and requirement.
15. If you are careful about your diet, Asanas and meditation, you will have fine, lustrous eyes, fair complexion and peace of mind in a short time. Hatha Yoga ensures beauty, strength and spiritual success to the Yogic students.
16. A man can sit for 10 hours at one stretch motionless on the Asana and yet he may be full of desires. This is a mere physical practice like an acrobatic or circus feat. A man without dosing the eyes, without winking, without turning the eye-balls can practise Tratak for three hours and yet he may be full of desires and egoism. This is also another kind of physical exercise. This has nothing to do with spirituality. People are deceived when they see persons who can do the above practices. Fasting for 40 days is also another kind of training of the physical body.
17. Pranayama with Asanas before starting Japa and meditation is very good and conducive. It removes laziness and drowsiness of the body and mind. It steadies the mind also. It fills the mind with new vigour and peace.
18. Asanas can be practised on the sandy bed of rivers, open airy places and by seaside also. If you practise them in a room, see that the room is not congested. You should clean it every day.
19. A Vedantin is afraid to do Asanas on the ground that the practice will intensify Dehadhyasa (attachment to the body) and militate against his practice of Vairagya. I have seen many Vedantins in a sickly condition with poor physique and dilapidated constitution. They can hardly do any rigid Sadhana. They may utter: “Om Om Om,” mechanically through lips only. They have not sufficient strength to raise the Brahmakara Vritti.
20. The body is closely related to the mind. Sickly, weak body is Jada. The body is an important instrument for Self-realisation. The instrument must be kept clean, strong and healthy.