The third step on our eight-fold path of yoga is asana. I consider this the ‘yoga fad’ of the west. Even though there are eight steps on this yogic path, as a culture we have got lost in this one step: the stretches.
Now don’t get me wrong- I am VERY glad we have this yoga fad as it is definitely for the betterment of anyone who discovers yoga. The asana practice strengthens and tones our muscles, it focuses and clears the mind, it detoxifies our organs. It is a very powerful piece of the whole picture.
In fact I have heard that it is so powerful that it should be the last step to practice as it makes the body and mind so strong, that if you’re intentions were not in tune with the other steps, harm could come of ‘wrong thought’ or ‘wrong action’.
The asanas make us physically strong to move forward in right thought and right action. Studying all the steps, the yoga sutras, and other texts ensured your mind was pure with good intent.