Asana is a Sanskrit term meaning a position comfortably held. A beginning yoga practitioner may think her efforts at performing asanas, or yoga postures, are anything but comfortable! However, determined practice and the resulting ability to relax into a posture will prove that asanas can bring a calm comfort to practice and an increase in one's health and sense of well-being.
Prana, breath or life force, is believed to have special healing, transformational and spiritual qualities. Pranayam (breath control) is a fundamental tool for the yoga student. Mastery of the breath is a foundation for the ability to open the range of your emotions, to control your moods, promote health and develop concentration. If you learn to regulate it with reverence and precision, you will always have resources and spirit at your command.
Unlike other physical disciplines and sports, yoga is non-competitive, although a yogi/yogini can challenge him /herself beyond personally perceived limitations. These limitations are challenged not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally through the practice of calm, focused awareness.
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