“The asana [posture] is stable and pleasant.
By relaxation of effort and by samapatti [merging] with the infinite.”
(Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Sutras II.46–47)
The goal of yoga is to move us toward clear vision, and so the basis of yoga practice is to get to know our mechanism of seeing. Our multidimensional practice works on body and mind: Clarity of consciousness clarifies the body; while the body, moving from a place of connection and rooting, quiets the mind. Practice that integrates mind and body can create a clear field of vision that may be less accessible when concentrating on the mind alone.
Mind and body are similar. Both have fears, both have fantasies. An integrated practice takes place within a space where our fears and fantasies are clearly visible, yet not driving or activating us. In this way they slowly weaken until they disappear. Then something happens in both mental and physical dimensions: the ability to perform the poses improves and the ability to observe and be aware sharpens.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra it is written that the asana is whole when two conditions are fulfilled: exertion eases so that the body finds true rest; and consciousness unites with infinity. In an asana practice that fosters qualities of stability and connection to the body in the here and now, full relaxation and thus clarity of consciousness and the elevation of the spirit can occur.