Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Handstand in the old text Yogāsana-Jaina

Nice find and share from my friend Oscar, this unpublished Jain asana text, Yogāsana-Jaina 

Satapathy B, Sahay GS. A brief introduction of "Yogāsana - Jaina": An unpublished yoga manuscript. Yoga Mimamsa 2014;46:43-55

See here for the link to the study of the text on the Yoga Mimamsa site

Some friends of mine will be excited to see handstand represented here, not just in any book on asana but a book of asana for the Jain's spiritual study, seems handstand wasn't just for 'fun', although I would boringly argue that it still belongs in your home yoga shala.... with all our other asana (see (Updated) Yoga and Boredom - the 'fun' factor). 

"NOTE 8 These āsanas also give us information about the āsanas popular in Jaina tradition. We have the information of two traditions of āsana identified as "MUNI" and "YOGI" tradition according to Haṭhapradīpikā (Digambar & Kokaje, 1998, Ch. I /18). The āsanas described in the text under study seem to be the āsanas of Jaina tradition, especially the āsanas such as Dīkṣāsana, Vyākhyānāsana, and so on. This also provides a reason to think about the possibility of various traditions of āsanas".

I remember reading some advice regarding setting up meditation space which I carried over into my asana practice space. The idea was that the meditation space, if possible and our domestic situation permits, is made... sacred or at least 'special'. Ideally a separate room used only for meditation, contemplation and or asana/yoga. If ones partner wants to engage in a domestic you leave the room, you don't hold an argument in your meditation/practice space, you come to associate it with peace and reflection. It is not perhaps a place for play, if you want to workshop an/some asana you might prefer to do it elsewhere ( I tended to explore postures I was working on in the evening, it did blur the distinction sometimes). 
I always liked that advice and I've come to think of it recently more and more in relation to asana. We can treat our headstand, or here handstand as a meditative practice, we enter the asana, any asana and look towards samadhi (yes, in asana, why not). 

"In Patanjali's Eight Limbs, concentration and meditation are the sixth and seventh steps of Raja Yoga (see p. 1 6). The eighth is samadhi or superconsciousness, a state beyond time, space and causation where body and mind are transcended and total unity exists. In samadhi, the meditator and the object of concentration become one - for it is the ego that creates a sense of separation or duality. According to the ancient Vedas, concentration or dharana is fixing the mind on one thought for twelve seconds; medita­tion or dhyana is equal to twelve dharanas - about two and a half minutes - and samadhi  to twelve dhyanas - just under half an hour. Companion to Sivananda yoga

However, treating asana as toys, playthings one day, meditative practice the next perhaps blurs that meditative association. 
But then perhaps the distinction is always clear, the opening and closing prayer preserving that 'sacred'/special place for practice, wherever we may find ourselves. 
An argument for not faffing about between opening and closing.

Back to the text

Also interesting to see Chatauranga dandasana (see below) and some standing postures.The suggestion in the past has been that Krishnamacharya invented or introduced to yoga standing postures, which always seemed faintly ridiculous given that standing while watching the sun come up with one leg folded  is as old as the sun itself.... well, almost.

āsana No. 46 - Vṛkṣāsana 
fig 26 āsana No. 46 - Vṛkṣāsana (handstand)

āsana No. 46 - Vṛkṣāsana [vide [Figure 26]: The illustration provided in the current manuscript suggests it to be a hand-stand, i.e. keeping the whole body straight in a topsy-turvy position and balancing the whole body on both the palms with straight hands. This hand-stand variation of Vṛkṣāsana is very different from the popularly known variation available in Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā (Digambar & Gharote, 1978, Ch. II / 36), where it has been described as an āsana of standing on one leg with one heel placed at the thigh joint.

If you can't beat 'em.... and the Jain's say it's ok...
Looking at the picture in the Yogāsana-Jaina ,
perhaps I need to think about bringing my head 
through and straightening more.

āsanas mentioned in the manuscript

There are references of 107 (āsana no. 18 is missing) āsanas, of which only 17 have been described in Sanskrit verses and their translation has also been provided. The rest of the āsanas are available only with their names and illustrations. Following are the list of āsanas recorded in this manuscript and presented through graphical pictures.

Nice to see Chatuaranga dandasana in the text here called Maralasana, or more popularly at the time of writing Hansasana

fig 20 āsana No. 31 - Marālāsana or more popularly at the time of writing Hansasana - more recently chatauranga dandasana

āsana No. 31 - Marālāsana [vide [Figure 20]: On the basis of the illustration provided, we can say that this āsana is popularly known as Hansāsana. This is actually a simplified form of Mayϋrāsana. Ladies who have an anatomically weak abdomen are not suggested Mayϋrāsana ; instead Hansāsana is recommended for them. In Hansāsana, we can keep the toes on the ground due to which the vigorous pressure on the abdominal area is reduced, and hence it is suggested for ladies. In the current Ms. also, the toes are shown resting on the ground. Hansāsana is known here by the name "Marālāsana."

And for moon days Relaxasana

āsana No. 13- Dakṣiṇāsana [vide [Figure 12]: This is done in a sleeping position on the right side and by keeping the body and limbs straight. The head is kept elevated by supporting it with the right palm. The left hand is placed on the left thigh. The verse suggests recitation of " śaṃ" seed mantra denoting Parameṣṭhī. The translator has added a point in translation that doing this āsana from the left side can also yield the same result as dong it from the right.

Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan


Intro to the text

"Considering the need to unearth the knowledge of yoga hidden in various handwritten manuscripts, the Philosophico-Literary Research Department (PLRD) of Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala has undertaken a long-term project on unpublished manuscripts. The manuscript (Ms.) used for the current study is totally devoted to the description of āsanas and describes around 108 āsanas. The title of the Ms. is "Yogāsana-Jaina." There are many manuscripts and published texts which describe the number of āsanas as ranging from 84 to 100 and even more. One of the published books that describe more than 84 āsanas is Jogapradīpyakā (Maheshananda, Sharma, Sahay, & Bodhe, 2006). Some of the unpublished manuscripts are Yogāsanamālā (Sacitra) (Jaitrāma, n.d.), āsanayoga (Kapālakuraṇṭaka, n.d.), and Siddhāntamuktāvalī (n.d.). Out of the unpublished manuscripts named above, i.e. Yogāsanamālā (Sacitra), is devoted to the description of āsanas in a dialect of Hindi and provides illustrations of āsanas. However, the manuscript used for the current study, "Yogāsana-Jaina,0" seems to be different and interesting because it represents one special sect of religion and the āsanas described seem to be especially for the followers of that religion. It also provides the illustration of each āsana. This Ms. was procured from Rajasthan Prachya Vidya Pratishthana, Bikaner, Rajasthan, a copy of which is available at Kaivalyadhama Library (Accession No. R635y8/15294). We find this manuscript referred to in the Encyclopaedia of āsanas (Gharote, Jha, Devnath, & Sakhalkar, 2006). The compiler of the said encyclopaedia has referred to all the āsanas available in "Yogāsana-Jaina," but has not provided composite and analytical information about this Ms. The current study was undertaken in order to attract the āsana practitioners as well as scholars toward this manuscript, 
so that they are benefitted from the not so easily accessible information inside it".

The content

A general estimate about the content of the manuscript
  1. The manuscript has a total of 66 folios. Twenty-four āsanas have been given independent status, i. e. one āsana in one folio (refer Figure 1), whereas 42 folios have been presented with the illustrations of two āsanas in one folio.
    Figure 1: Dīkṣāsana with Note (Folio No - 1)

    Click here to view
  2. The manuscript seems to be a compilation or is at least rewritten by the translator of the verses available on 17 āsanas. āsana no. 18 is missing.
  3. Nothing is known about the author of this text nor do we have any additional information about the Ms. As the beginning statement and colophon are missing, nothing can be said with regard to the author.
  4. Seventeen āsanas have been described in Sanskrit, along with their translation. A total of 35 verses have been devoted for the description of 17 āsanas.
  5. The translation of two verses indicates that the translator is not the original writer of the manuscript "Yogāsana." We find this in the context of the translation of 11 th āsana, i.e. Siddhāsana, and the 13 th āsana, i.e. Dakṣiṇāsana.
  6. While translating the verse on Siddhāsana, the translator writes that this āsana is also known as MuktāsanaGuptāsana, andVajrāsana, as we find in Haṭhapradīpikā (Digambar & Kokaje, 1998, Ch. I / 37). The addition of Muktāsana in this context indicates that he is not the original writer of the manuscript or verses but only a compiler, and also that he was familiar with Haṭhapradīpikā. Similarly, we find that in the context of Dakṣiṇāsana (āsana no. 17), while translating the verse on this āsana, the translator writes, "According to me, the same effect is possible if we do it from the left side." This sentence confirms that the original writer of the verses is different from the translator.
  7. The selection of āsanas, the way they have been described, and their illustrations, all indicate that this manuscript and the āsanas contained therein are related with the followers of Jaina religion. Even in the Jaina religion, these āsanas seem to represent the śvetāmbar Jaina sect of Jaina religion, which insists on wearing white clothes and keeping the mouth covered with a piece of white cloth. The mouth covered with a piece of cloth is visible in the illustration of the last āsana named "Vyākhyānāsana" (see āsana No. 108 of the current Ms.)
  8. These āsanas also give us information about the āsanas popular in Jaina tradition. We have the information of two traditions ofāsana identified as "MUNI" and "YOGI" tradition according to Haṭhapradīpikā (Digambar & Kokaje, 1998, Ch. I /18). The āsanas described in the text under study seem to be the āsanas of Jaina tradition, especially the āsanas such as Dīkṣāsana,Vyākhyānāsana, and so on. This also provides a reason to think about the possibility of various traditions of āsanas.
  9. The sketches provided as illustrations also give a reflection of a Jaina Muni or a Jaina follower.
  10. Out of the 17 āsanas described in metrical forms in the Anuṣtup metre, we find an instruction of meditation upon Arihanta Deva in 9āsanas. These nine āsanas are: DīkṣāsanaPadmāsana, Svastikāsana, Nivṛtyāsana, Paρjāsana, Bhagāsana, Devaguruvandanāsana, Paρcāṅanamaskārāsana, and Kārmukāsana. We also find instructions for the recitation of "OM" inSiddhāsana and " śaṃ" referring to Parameṣṭhī in Dakṣiṇāsana.


āsana No. 12- Bhagāsana [vide [Figure 11]: Its technique is similar to the technique of Nādānusandhāna described in Haṭhapradīpikā (Digambar & Kokaje, 1998, Ch. IV/68). However, there is no mention of Nādānusandhāna in the current Ms. This particular practice is grouped under Mudrā, and known as ṣaṇmukhī Mudrā as well as Yonimudrā. It seems that the practice is associated with the name Yoni, therefore, here it has been named Bhagāsana. Bhag and Yoni denote the same part of the female body. The special instruction is to meditate upon Arihant in this position.

Satapathy B, Sahay GS. A brief introduction of "Yogāsana - Jaina": An unpublished yoga manuscript. Yoga Mimamsa 2014;46:43-55

Satapathy B, Sahay GS. A brief introduction of "Yogāsana - Jaina": An unpublished yoga manuscript. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2014 [cited 2015 Apr 20];46:43-55. Available from: http://www.ym-kdham.in/text.asp?2014/46/1/43/141413

See my previous post on Chatauranga dandasana (LINK)

see also perhaps
my post from last year

Origin's of Modern Yoga Asana: Comparison of Krishnamacharya's teachers drawings and Norman's Sjoman's Sriitattvanidhi (1880's) presentation in his Mysore palace book


Yoga and Jainism

"The practice of Yoga in Jainism is quite simple to follow, as opposed to its inclusion and practice in other religions. Jainism makes several concessions for the practitioners of Yoga. Firstly, the belief of Jainism in Yoga is based on the tenet that the Yoga is a combination of all the activities of mind, body, and speech. Jain leaders have hailed Yoga as the path to the much-sought after liberation of the soul. According to them, Yoga involves both asrava meaning acts of karma as well as samyak caitra, an essential quality. It is a blend of both these factors that helps one attain liberation.

Jain gurus have gone ahead and referred to Yoga as the highest form of devotion. Several leaders of this religion have prescribed five major vows to be taken by ascetics who practice Yoga. There is a separate section of 12 minor vows that have to be observed by the laity. Given the way Yoga has shaped the thinking in Jainism, many experts of this religion today say that Jainism is, in fact, yogic thinking that has branched out as a separate religion. Such is the influence of Yoga on Jainism. 

The heavy influence of Yoga on Jainism is visible in their architecture as well. Jain temples and icons that have survived till date often depict a picture of a Jain tirthankara meditating in a yogic posture. Most often than not, these yogic postures are ‘padmasana’ or ‘kayotsarga’. According to Jain scriptures, the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira is said to have attained enlightenment while he was meditating in the yogic position of ‘mulabandhasana’. This posture taken by Lord Mahavira was first revealed in Acaranga Sutra. It also finds mention in yet another Jain scripture called Kalpsutra. 

It is said Patanjali’s eightfold path of Yoga is inspired by five major vows prescribed for the ascetics in Jainism. The interconnection between Yoga and Jainism is admitted by various experts in the field. According to them, this interconnection is even older than or nearly as old as the Indus Valley Civilization. The stone seals found at the excavation site, they say, are indicative of this influence. Yet another evidence of strong links between Jainism and Yoga are the similar postures taken by various Jain tirthankaras. Many experts say that these links do not just signify a deep relationship between Jainism and Yoga, but also reveal the extent of influence of Jainism on Yoga. 

Some of the earliest canonical text belonging to Jainism, such as Acarangasutra, and other religious texts such as Niyamsara and Tattvarthasutra, lay down the rules of practicing Yoga, both for the ascetics as well as the common man. Other scriptures that have references of Yoga in the religion of Jainism are Ishtopadesh by Pujyapada written in 5th century CE. There are texts written by Acharya Haribhadra Suri called Yoga Bindu, Yoga Drishtisamuccya, Yoga sataka, Yoga Vimisika. Yoga refers to traditional physical,mental and spritual disciplines, originating in ancient India,whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Within Hindu philosophy, the word yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy;Yoga in this sense is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and is also known as Raja Yaga to distinguish it from later schools.Patanjali's system is discussed and elaborated upon in many classical Hindu texts, and has also been influential in Buddhism and Jainism.The Bhagavadgita introduces distinctions such as Jnana Yoga("yoga based on knowledge") vs.Karma yoga ("yoga based on action"). Other systems of philosophy introduced in Hinduism during the medieval period are Bhakti Yoga and Hatha yogaThe Sanskrith word yoga has the literal meaning of "yoke", from a root yuj. As a term for a system of abstract meditation or mental abstraction it was introduced by Patanjali in the 2nd century BC. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi/yogini.

KAYOTSARGA : Total relaxation with self-awareness 

Kayotsarga may be practised either standing or sitting or lying down. For beginners, it is advisable to adopt lying down posture.In standing posture, you have to stand straight with the spine and neck in the straight line but without stiffness. Keep your feet parallel to each other with a distance of about 10 cms between them. Let your arms hang down loosely from the shoulder-joints, close to your body with the palms open facing inwards and fingers straight and pointing down".

Parsvanatha with seven-hooded cobra canopy, standing in kayotsarga pose, Chakravarti Paloja, Gulbarga, Southern India, 12th century. Black shale sculpture. f V and A London.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Chatauranga long stay and Vinyasa. Plus Can you sweat toxins out of your body?

"..there must be 4 angulas* of space between the body and the ground. In this position, if you keep a stick or rod on top of the body, the rod must touch the body completely. We need to keep our body this straight.." ~ Yoga Makaranda

(*4 = 1 angulas dhanu graha (bow before) = 62 mm to 83 mm)

picture from Ashtanga Yoga Center Of Bangkok. - AYBKK
Thank you to Tonia of Yoga with Tonia for sharing this one, great fb page, nice content shared.
Pattabhi Jois 

Note: For Krishnamacharya, Chatauranga was an asana, with a vinyasa to and from it, he recommends staying for 10 minutes ( I do just five long, slow breaths and call it quits). For Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Chatauranga is treated more as a vinyasa, in the sense of transition to and from an asana which might explain the different set up.

Also in Krishnamacharya's instructions he mentions that Rod should be able to lie flat along the back and was no doubt aiming for that in the picture. 

In several places Krishnamacharys will direct us to look at the picture, or study the picture carefully suggesting he was very much involved in the direction of all the photos taken for Yoga Makaranda.what we see in Krishnamacharya's pictures is what he wanted us to see and be informed by.


Krishnamacharya in his 80s from Yogasangalu 4th edition


Can you sweat toxins out of your body?
"Don't bother going out of your way to sweat (unless you really enjoy it and have perfect kidneys)"

Bought some scales today, put on three kilo since leaving UK and coming to Japan ( with summer coming it'll drop back off). Something else I noticed, I used to sweat between 1 and 2 kilo into my yoga towel, 

...this afternoons practice ( after work) only 0.2 kilo, barely a drop of sweat..... 

All this abdominal breathing perhaps see THIS post.

I remember reading once before that sweating was the least effective of the five or six ways the body has of removing toxins from the body. This article goes even further....

Can you sweat toxins out of your body?
Did you know your body has its own air conditioning system when it becomes too hot? It’s called sweating. Your body releases water on your skin, which then evaporates in order to cool down to the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees.

Sweat is 99% water combined with a small amount of salt, proteins, carbohydrates and urea, says UAMS family medicine physician Dr. Charles Smith. Therefore, sweat is not made up of toxins from your body, and the belief that sweat can cleanse the body is a myth.

“You cannot sweat toxins out of the body,” Dr. Smith says. “Toxins such as mercury, alcohol and most drugs are eliminated by your liver, intestines or kidneys.”

Some people have even participated in something called a “sweat lodge.” Some Native American cultures still use the lodge as a very important purification ceremony. However, Dr. Smith warns that these can become dangerous and sometimes result in injury or, in severe cases, death.

“By forcing your body to perspire through heat exposure or heavy exercise, you can cause your kidneys to save water and actually hang on to any toxins that may be circulating in your system,” he says.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Because I'm a Kidney Stones suffer I believe that excessive sweating is bad for me. What I need is for the extra liquid I take on board to flush through the kidneys not be sweated from the body before it reaches the them. Simon Borg-Oliver's abdominal breathing, which results in us sweating less may be a godsend for the coming 90% humidity Osaka summer.

Also this from the LA Times

You sweat, but toxins likely stay

Infrared saunas are a popular detox option. But experts say chemicals aren't washed out that way.

from the article
"But, Glaser (Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, a professor of dermatology at St. Louis University and founding member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society), adds, in the big picture, sweat has only one function: Cooling you down when you overheat. "Sweating for the sake of sweating has no benefits," she says. "Sweating heavily is not going to release a lot of toxins."

In fact, Glaser says, heavy sweating can impair your body's natural detoxification system. As she explains, the liver and kidneys -- not the sweat glands -- are the organs we count on to filter toxins from our blood. If you don't drink enough water to compensate for a good sweat, dehydration could stress the kidneys and keep them from doing their job. "If you're not careful, heavy sweating can be a bad thing," she says.

Sweating definitely won't help clear the body of mercury or other metals, says Donald Smith, a professor of environmental toxicology at UC Santa Cruz, who studies treatments for metal poisoning. Almost all toxic metals in the body are excreted through urine or feces, he says. And less than 1% are lost through sweat. In other words, you'll do far more detoxifying in the bathroom than you ever could in a sauna".

But see also this article

Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review


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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included. "So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta

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