Questioner: What is the importance of the sequence in which we are doing the asanas? Can we change the order?

Read in Hindi: योगासन

Sadhguru: The order is not something that you or I invented – it arises from the observation of how not only the physical body but the whole human system functions. In your system, there is something called skeletal comfort, muscular comfort, organ comfort, and energy comfort. If you sit in a reclining chair, your muscles will be comfortable, but your joints will be strained. You may have noticed that if you travel for some time sitting reclined in a plane or a car, by the time you reach your destination, you will be exhausted. If you sit up straight, this will not happen. If you sit in a recliner, only your muscles are relaxed, but there is a lot of stress on the skeletal system, and above all, on your organs.

The vital organs in the trunk are not firmly fixed with clamps and bolts or flanges but hang in connective tissue like in nets. If you sit in a recliner, especially in a moving vehicle, your organs will suffer enormously. In a moving vehicle, you must always sit straight, so that your organs have greater comfort. If you lean back, one organ will press on the other. This is why they say you should never lie down right after food. In India, they always told you that you must eat before or just after sunset, and leave at least four hours before you go to bed, because the food should have left the stomach by then. If the stomach is full and you lie down, it presses on other organs. Let’s say you have one or one-and-a-half kilogram of food in your stomach and you lie down for a few hours, depending upon how you are lying, this weight could cause serious damage.

The order of the asanas is not according to my or your preference, it is the way the human system is made.

In Hata Yoga, this organ comfort is always considered. Energy comfort is also considered. Your energy functions in such a way that if you activate one aspect of your energy without activating another aspect of it, your system will become disjointed. There are many disjointed bodies everywhere. Disjointed energy means living a broken life. Somehow, you may manage to live long, but no matter what enters your life, you will not be complete. You may win the lottery, you may get married to the best man or woman in the world, you may pray 24 hours of the day – no matter what you do, you will live a disjointed life.

The order of the asanas is not according to my or your preference, it is the way the human system is made. We need to activate it from one end to the other. Sudden activation of a certain part will lead to disjointedness. Life situations can be such that there is no choice about how to act and no system to it – you may have to jump into action whichever way it comes. But if you have activated your system in a certain way, whatever situation occurs in your life, you will be able to take it without causing too much disturbance to your system. One can distinctly see this – if you do proper classical yoga, whatever situations you face, they will not leave you scattered. This preparation creates a certain integrity in the system. So the order of asanas is not by choice, it is according to the way the human system is structured.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the July 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.