Often I am asked ‘what is the point of practising yoga asana?’

Generally my first reaction is to talk about the joy of holding an asana, breathing into it and being it. This answer tends not to be accepted by those of a more analytical bent who are looking for more hard evidence!

Just yesterday I came across the following (taken from ‘A Search in Secret India’ by Paul Brunton) which should provide a more detailed answer:

‘The mere fact of sitting or standing for regular periods in certain fixed postures may seem of small importance in your eyes. But the concentration of attention and willpower upon the chosen posture is so intense – if success is to be gained – that sleeping forces awaken with the Yogi. Those forces belong to the secret realms of Nature; therefore they are seldom fully aroused until our breathing exercises are also practised, for the breath possesses deep powers. Though the awakening of such forces is our real aim, no less than a score of our exercises are capable of being used for benefiting one’s health or to remove certain diseases; while others will drive impurities out of the body. Is this not of great use? Still other postures are intended to assist our efforts to get control over the mind and soul, for it is a truth that the body influences thought no less than thought influences the body. In the advanced stages of Yoga, when we may be plunged for hours in meditation, the proper posture of the body not only enables the mind to remain undistracted in its efforts, but actually assists its purpose. Add to all these things the tremendous gain in its will power which comes to the man who perseveres in these difficult exercises, and you may see what virtues there are in our methods.’