The technical (transformative) and symbolic meaning of asceticism
Most if not all scholars agree that yoga grew out of ascetic milieus. 132 But what is actually meant by the Greek word asceticism? The word askesis ‘ (Wikipedia link) means exercise’ and is a practice of chosen self-denial’. An ascetic wants to (1) control the desires and passions of body and mind (2) in order to achieve a higher good.
An ascetic overrides the inputs from the senses and the mind – the signals of hunger, thirst, lust, fear, desire, fatigue, heat/coldness, anger, sadness, and pain. The ascetic wants to turn his back on the desires and attachments of this world by disciplining body and mind. Ascetic discourses typically claim that during this process of pain and self-mortification the ascetic becomes purified and strengthens his will. This practice leads to freedom or other metaphysical benefits. (Sarbacker 2008). This is what we might call the meaning of asceticism.
Carefully lower the left leg to the floor, extending through Yoga on netflix the left heel. See if you can touch the floor with your left thigh; if Yoga on netflix you can’t, gradually release the pull on the right knee until you can. Pay attention to the opposite actions of each leg: gently work to increase both as equally as you can. Maintain this stretch for a few breaths, then change legs and repeat. Proceed to the instructions in All-Star pose 14, on 83. This stretch focuses on the back and sides of the hip joint. The support of the wall and the floor makes it a good preparation for seated poses. Purpose: To stretch the adductor muscles, improve hip mobility, and coordinate these with foot eversion.