Traditional Hatha Yoga Asana practice can be basically categorized into three components, which are standing, sitting, and finishing. These three components comprise the basic framework of the asana practice.
Standing asanas are always the foundation of asana practice. They are for building strength, balance, and opening the hips. Standing asanas create the necessary foundation of the spine, the entire system to get in tune with the practice that is followed. You won’t be able to fuse standing asanas while practicing sitting or add a set of sitting asanas while creating the foundation with standing asanas.
After a sufficient time spent in the standing series, you get into the Sitting set. Sitting asanas here include all variety of asanas on the mat, i.e. forward folds, twists, hip openings, backbends, lying down on the spine, and even on the stomach. These asanas are traditionally considered to be the main elements of the practice. You will practice standing asanas for the sitting sets. Sitting asanas get the textual reference too as they are the most important elements among all.
Finishing asanas generally bringing calmness, relaxing the system, creating the mental atmosphere for the Pranayama and Meditation. This is also a very significant element as it allows the system to swallow the benefits of the entire asana practice. This generally includes inversions such as the Sarvangasana series, Shirshasana series, and Shavasana.
This is a basic frame of the Hatha Yoga asana practice. We will discuss the different levels of asana practice in the next article.