From the trunk of the tree several branches emerge. One grows very long, one grows sideways, one grows zigzag, one grows straight, and so on. These branches are the asanas.
Asanas are usually defined as the various yogic postures designed to bring balance and harmony to the physical body, particularly the musculo-skeletal system. Asana is part of the Ayurvedic treatment system for the physical body. At a deeper level, asana refers to the complete expression of mind-body integration, a state in which we become conscious of the flow of prana resonating in every molecule of our body and in every thought and every experience.
The essence of asana isn’t about straining to get our body into a particular posture; it’s about surrender, opening, expanding, and enhancing our flexibility, balance, and strength. The practice of asanas is a way to expand our own sense of self and experience the joy of being incarnated in this physical body. At the same time, it allows us to create an intimate dance between our individuality and universality and celebrate the essence of this connection.
You have to have total honesty, tremendous faith, courage, determination, awareness and absorption in your mind, your body and your heart and you will do the pose well. This is spiritual practice in physical form.
Patanjali says that when asana is correctly performed, the dualities between body and mind, mind and soul, have to vanish.