Asanas – Asanas means a state of being in which one can remain physically and mentally steady, calm, quiet and comfortable. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali there is a concise definition of yoga asanas: “sthiram sukham aasanam” meaning that position which is comfortable and steady. So we can see that yoga aasanas this context are practised to develop the practitioner’s ability to shit comfortably in one position for an extended length as in necessary during meditation
Asanas are specific body position which open the energy channels and psychic centres they tool to higher awareness and provide the stable foundation for our exploration of the body breathe and beyond. The Hatha yogic also found that by developing control of the body through asana, the mind is also control therefore the practice of asana is foremost in Hatha yoga.
Pranayama – Pranayamas is generally defined as breath control. Although this interpretation may seem correct in view of the practices involved, it does not convey the full meaning of the term. The word pranayama is comprised of two roots: ‘prana’ plus ‘ayama’ prana means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’. It is the force which exists in all things, wheather animate or inanimate. Although closely related to the air we breath, it is more subtle than air or oxygen. Therefore, pranayama should not be considered as mere breathing exercise aimed at introducing extra oxygen into the lungs. Pranayama utilizes breathing to influence the flow of prana in the nadis or energy channel of the pranayama kosha or energy body.
Mudra – The sanskrit word mudra is translated as ‘gesture’ or ‘attitude’. Mudras can be described as psychic, emotional, devotional and aesthetic gesture or attitudes. Yogis have experienced mudras as attitudes of energy flow, intended to link individual pranic force with universal or cosmic force. The kularnava tantra traces the word mudra to the root mud, meaning ‘delight’ or ‘pleasure’ and dravay, the casual form of dru, which means ‘to draw forth’. Mudra is also defined as a ‘seal’, ‘short-cut’ or ‘circuit bypass’.
Bandha – The sanskrit word bandha means to ‘hold’, ‘tighten’ or ‘lock’. These definitions precisely describe the physical action involved in the bandha practices and their effect on the pranic body. The bandhas aim to lock the pranas in particular areas and redirect their flow into sushumuna nadi for the purpose of the spiritual awakening.