Static stretching, asana, vinyasa, and prasara involve very different agendas. The people who find the most difficulty learning yoga, for instance, are usually the most flexible. The common Western misunderstanding is that yoga is “just stretching;’ when in reality it is the opposite; stretching moves against the tension to deform the tissues, whereas asana breathe into the tension to allow it to relax while simultaneously providing stabilizing strengthening.
Asana are a means of surrendering tension through breathing and focus to augment mobility practice. As such, asana can be used when encountering a restricted range of motion in vinyasa or prasara practice. We can select or create an asana to release the tension binding the flow. We must cultivate an eye for assessing and targeting tension chains prohibiting pain free, powerful movement. As a result, we can use our intuition to select asana to target prohibitive tension. We can do this by moving into the as ana with practice, consistency, and diligence. When we do, we’ll be able to release layers of deeper and deeper tension at critical points in our mobility, thus giving us the ability to strengthen even greater mobility, and make mobile even greater strength. Prasara, vinyasa, and asana are three very important and mutually beneficial tools to this end.