All postures, whether they are corrective, regenerative etc. work on all the systems of the body: digestive (excretory), glandular (which comprises of hormonal system and the lymphatic system), respiratory, nervous, muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular. Were they not to do this, they would be more like exercises. When you exercise, you only work on the muscular system, while all the other systems suffer. Yoga works and nourishes all the systems of the body, IF performed in the right manner. You can also abuse it. All the poses that work on the physical level, also work on the psychological and on the spiritual level.
Here are two examples of how the poses work on various systems:
The circulatory system is of primary importance. If it does not nourish all the organs, if the glands don’t get proper food, proper cleaning – there is disease. So whether it be the glands, whether it be the nerves, whether it be the brain, whether it be any other organ within us, they all need blood. And this is the system that we work on most, when we talk about correcting postures. We correct all things that manifest in an incorrect manner within us by the power of controlling the flow of blood in the various places of the body. When we do that, the nervous impulses to this part are also nourished.
The nervous system is the next system (which is closely related to the circulatory system which we enhance). All work, whether it be corrective or whether it be recuperative, is to do with our spine – from which the nerves radiate to all the body parts. All of yogic asanas are working on the spine. ALL. The standing poses for example are on the feet but what we are trying to influence is the spine. The groundedness has to be brought about in the spine. The standing poses work on the lowest part of the spine, which technically speaking is the tailbone but according to the yogis it goes further down, to the perineum. When you sit, your spine is exactly in line with the perineum. According to the Hatha Yoga, all the work has to start from down there.
We also have different movements: standing poses are mostly lateral (sideways) movements of the spine. Then we have specifically the twists, the forward bends and the back bends, which are to be done in exactly that order.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga master teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the Intensive Yoga Course at the
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol, North Goa, 2002