Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Monday, 29 October 2012

Practicing Yoga while carrying a little extra weight

I remember a picture in Kausthub Desikachar's The Yoga of a Yogi, which showed Krishnamacharya teaching a rather large gentlemen. In the picture the student appears to be struggling to even raise his legs, the caption to the picture on page 69 reads

"Krishnamacharya teaching yoga as cikitsa (therapy) to one of his students".

Yoga of the Yogi is, as it happens, is one of my least favourite books on Krishnamacharya, it seems a little too concerned with positioning Kausthub as the heir apparent for my tastes.

I prefer TKV Desikachar's Health Healing and Beyond

...and the excellent Krishnamacharya His life and teaching by AG Mohan

However, one still waits in hope for the first objective and scholarly biography of Krishnamacharya, .

But back to that picture. Oscar just sent me a link to a slideshow video on Youtube (Thank you Oscar) that includes more pictures of the the same student and Krishnamacharya. it seems the student knew his way around a yoga mat, that's a fine lotus he has there, and perhaps he wasn't struggling to raise his legs after all, check out his headstand, I like his practice.

 As the saying goes...

Anyone can practice yoga, except the lazy, the lazy can't practice Yoga

Actually I don't know if I agree with that completely, practice can develop discipline, the will is like a muscle, but then of course once you develop that discipline perhaps you're no longer considered lazy, in which case it still follows.

STOP PRESS:  It appears , according to the Daily Mail that somebody has left beside the Library computer, that Camila, future Queen of England ( have we said she can be Queen yet?) practices Yoga.










Now if you're carrying a lot of extra weight you might not want to begin with a full on Ashtanga practice but a Vinyasa Vrama practice in the style of Krishnamacharya's later teaching might be a good place to start as well as perhaps preparing you for a more vigorous practice later, if that's something that takes your fancy.

It should also be pointed out that Krishnamacharya suggested an  alternative approach to the breath which may be more suited to somebody overweight, switching around the inhalation and exhalation in certain postures, so from Brahmana to Langhana.

Here's a nice story from TKV Desikachar

Health Healing and Beyond p.127 TKV Desikachar 


from Yoga beneath the surface p.70 Srivatsa Ramaswami and David Hurwitz


"In each section for each particular asana, we have included a description and an enumeration of its vinyasas. The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person...." 
from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda p28


from Yoga for the Three stages of Life Srivatsa Ramaswami


 Some examples of postures in which the breathing pattern may be switched


Makrasana

from The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga p.138. Srivatsa Ramaswami

Cobra pose

from The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga. Srivatsa Ramaswami

Viparita Salabhasana

from The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga p.143 Srivatsa Ramaswami

Dwipadapitam (desk pose)


from The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga p.109 Srivatsa Ramaswami


 Salabhasana (locust pose)
from The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga p.142 Srivatsa Ramaswami
Throughout his Complete book of Vinyasa Yoga, Ramaswami gives indications where Langhna breathing may be an option to consider if you are attempting a posture while significantly overweight.

As it happened, I myself carried a little extra weight when I started practice in , what 2007, not knowing any better I pretty much threw myself straight into Ashtanga.

Here I am back then in one of M's favourite pictures.


And here's a link to some videos from when I first started practice 

The video Oscar sent me also has a nice middle section where some old asana drawings are cut in with I'm guessing, one of Krishnamacharya's sons practicing the same asana.














And here's the video which also has some nice chanting

Friday, 26 October 2012

Tradition and Lineage in Yoga: Myth or Real? -- A. G. Mohan

"Is yoga a religion or not?

1. All the yoga practitioners say that yoga is not a religion. If so how can there be  traditions and lineage in yoga?"

5. is the so called tradition and lineage branding and marketing?

AG Mohan



AG Mohan was the co-founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) in Chennai, India, and was its Honorary Secretary from its inception, in 1976, to 1989. Mohan was also the convener of Sri Krishnamacharya’s centenary celebrations.

With the Demise of Krishnamacharya in 1989 he left KYM.

AG Mohan is also well known for his books one or more of which you may well have on your bookcase, Yoga for Body Breath and Mind ,Yoga Therapy and the recent biography Krishnamacharya : his Life and teachings.




 In the forward to Yoga Body breath and Mind Krishnamacharya wrote in the forward;

"Now my son, Venkata Desikachar and Mohanasarma, who are jointly studying under me, have attained this status of sathirthyas. Sathirthya means “studied under one Guru,” says Amarasimha. This gives me the satisfaction that I have not taught the shastras (the sacred treatise) to an undeserving person. Let one, two, or many students learn from one teacher about a particular subject, or varied subjects or shastras.
But what is special here is that Mohan has studied the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and its practical application entirely from me. He is competent to teach asana and pranayama suitable to each individual. He is also competent to teach the asana and pranayama portions of other shastras which he has studied thoroughly. He has studied the Samkhya philosophy in depth. In Ayurveda he has studied the important portions of Nidana sthanam (diagnosis), Cikitsa sthanam (treatment), Vimana sthanam (causes of disease), and Garbha sthanam (constitution of body)."


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Updated: Is urdhva Dhanurasana part of the finishing sequence? Fifty-One questions surrounding Urdhva Danhurasana

I was asked this on passing last night ...

Is urdhva Dhanurasana part of the finishing sequence?

found here
Must admit I had to pause for a moment.

My quick answer this morning was..

"Oh, re urdhva dhanurasana, I think of it as part of finishing, Primary ends with setu bandhasana....urdhva dhanurasana is kind of the twilight zone between a series and the finishing sequence".

It bothered me though so I had a look at the texts.

Yoga Mala doesn't include it at all.,...anywhere

However The Yoga Works Pattabhi Jois led video does

As does Sharath's primary video.

Lino's Ashtanga Yoga book includes it as the last posture of the Primary series as well as the end of the Intermediate section and has Finishing as a separate section altogether.

John Scott includes it under 'Back bending' at the end of Primary.

Matthew Sweeney ends Primary with Setu Bandhasana and has a separate section for backbending and includes it there.

Interestingly Krishnamacharya includes setubandhasana in thePprimary group in his asana table but urdhva dhaurasana in the middle group of postures.

In the Nancy Gilgoff 'Original Syllabus of 1974 setubandhasana in there in the first year with the primary postures. Urdhva Dhaurasana shows up in the second year with the intermediate sequence.

It's the same with the David Willams Ashtanga poster which i guess  is based on the same list.

So not that serious a question perhaps, I think it was asked more out of curiosity, but all the same it ....gives pause.

Is urdhva Dhanurasana part of the finishing sequence?

What does your instinct tell...what's your first but then second thought

"Yes. No...yyyyyyyyes.....no, wait a minute....."

I'm going to stick with the Twilight Zone.

-----------------------------------

UPDATE

....from the comments and to continue in a playful mood

"Yes, I said in the post it's not an important question in itself but attempting to answer it raises others that are perhaps more interesting.

1. Does Urdhva Danhurasana have an official place in the series?

2. Does this raise questions about the nature of finishing postures?

3. Does this raise questions concerning what constitutes a series?

4. Is there a difference between series and sequence, is one fixed the other flexible?

5. What does it say about key asana that one should perhaps attempt to include them in each and every practice?

6. We practice Standing and finishing whichever series we're on, does the same go for UD and back bending.

7. Why?

8. When did back bending gain such a status?

9. Should UD be stuck on the end of Primary without other more preparatory backbends?

10. When should UD be taught?

11. How should UD be taught?

12. Should somebody ask Sharath's view?

13. How much weight does Sharath's opinion carry on this given that he was taught by his Grandfather in his later years when he hadn't been practicing himself for several decades, or Is forty years of adjusting others perhaps of more value than forty years of self practise?

14. Which is correct practice? Krishnamacharya's table that had UD placed amongst the middle postures, Yoga Mala that didn't include UD at all,
the 1974 syllabus that didn't include UD in Primary or Pattabhi Jois' later years in which it was included as is the more recent Mysore practice where there's a seeming obsessive compulsion towards back bending?

15. Is their such a thing as correct practice?

16. Is it fixed or does it depend on the student?

17. What does this say about tradition?

18. What does this say about lineage? ( see AG Mohan's YouTube video today).

19. Do we lean towards a teachers early teaching or their later teaching when questioning such an asana. I.E. what Pattabhi Jois presented in the 50's, 70's or 90's?

20. If he himself didn't seem to take notice of his own teacher's later teaching, should we?

21. And what of lineage, should we go with Sharath as an authority based on the later teaching of his Grandfather or of the early students ....or perhaps Pattabhi Jois' own teacher Krishnamacharya ?

22. What does this say about authority with regards practice?

23. How many students have been injured as a result of Urdhva Dhaurasana being shifted to the end of Primary.

24. How much damage is done by the focus on standing up from UD as well as dropping back?

25. Should UD ( and backbending in general) be given such a focus in Ashtanga given the dangers involved?

26. When did backbending gain such  focus and attention? Why?

27. Would an iPad Mini help me in any way with my back bends such that I can justify buying one the vey day they are made available in the UK

28. When did paschimottanasana appear as a counter to urdhva dhanurasana in that twilight zone between series and finishing?

29. If it was thought wise to include the counter posture...why not a backbending preparatory posture or two?

30. How do your know when your mind or body is ready for UD?

31. If the answer is to go with your teacher, which level of authorisation should that teacher be to teach UD ?

32. Would you trust a newly authorised teacher on something as important as backbending or would you prefer to go with a more experienced unauthorised teacher?

33. When did attention get paid to anatomy with regards to back bending and making it safe in Ashtanga?

34. How important is anatomical awareness for a posture like UD?

35. Or Bandha awareness?

36. How much training do perspective authorised teachers receive in Mysore before being given authorisation to teach and assist UD?

37. How many hours of hands on training do they receive, how much anatomy?

38. Should newly authorised teachers have been mentored before being expected to teach UD?

39. If a students back is injured as a result of UD, is that the fault of the student or the authorised teacher?

40. Should UD be included on videos of Ashtanga series?

41. Should UD be attempted/practiced at home?

42. Should one have learned all of Primary before attempting UD

43. Or at which point should one learn UD given that none of the postures in Primary prepare you for it.

44. Which prepares you better for Kapotasana, the back bending postures in 2nd or UD?

45. Should one learn to drop back or come up from UD first?

46 At what point should one begin to learn to come up or drop back, before or after learning the back bending postures of 2nd series?

47. Is UD a standing posture (having dropped into it) an arm balance, a supine posture or a reversed bow posture (?) or all of the above?

48. Is 47 an important question for determining the preparation required for exploring the posture?

49. In the grand scheme of things how important is Urdhva Danhurasana?

50. Is urdhva Dhanurasana part of the finishing sequence?

and so on and so on....

...as I said not an important question perhaps but it does give pause".

Just thought of another...

51. What is the correct transliteration of the name of this posture.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pimping up Krishnamacharya's Life saving yoga sequence plus 8mm vintage video app for iPhone.

8mm vintage video app for iPhone

I've been exploring Krishnamacharya's so called ' Life Saving" sequence from the Der Atmende Gott movie this week. At first I tried it pretty straight, just as it's outlined on the DVD box, makes a nice extra evening practice. That straight version is represented below

Even added a video, mainly an excuse to play around with the filters on the Vintage 8mm video app from itunes.

What I'm finding more interesting though is using it as a framework for my main morning practice. I've included a couple of ideas for how you might pimp it up at the end of this post.

....or you could just use it as an alternative finishing sequence to your Ashtanga practice

Krishnamacharya's

 'Life saving yoga session' 

from the movie Der Atmende Gott



"Starting from the 50s more and more visitors came from the West to Krishnamacharya in Madras, to learm Yoga from him, the 'teacher of teachers'. Krishnamacharya developed for them a specific sequence that he named 'Life saving yoga session'. Yoga to extend life, the name did not fail to work. Krishnamacharya's idea was to use this sequence to lead Westerners to an unconfessional and undogmatic experience of the Divine, since their pluralistic culture would not permit an automatic access to religious matters.
The sequence, which was not taught anymore after Krishnamacharya's death and which was taught by his son TK shribayam to director Jan Schmidt-Garre after years of acquaintance during the filming of 'Der atmende Gott', is here disclosed in its original form.
Characteristic of the later Krishnamacharya and of the 'Life saving Yoga session' is the connection of postures, breathing and concentration in the sense of the orientation of the gaze and awareness of a focal point. Only when these elements form an organic connection can Yoga happen, according to Krishnamacharya

1. sit for 30-60 seconds with crossed legs in Padmasana. Concentration on Nasagra (point of the nose)

2. 16-24 Kapalabhati breaths (breath of fire, energeti inhale and exhale)

3. 12 breaths of ujjayi anuloma. Inhale: ujjayi, with slightly constricted throat, to drwa air into the lungs. Exhale: the hand forms a claw with thumb, ring- and little-fingers with which one nostril is alternately kept closed. Exhale very slowly through the open nostril, without ujjayi, beginning with the left

4. 3 breaths in matsyasana. Legs are closed in the lotus position

5. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Start with open eyes and during the progression of movement, which start with the forehead, close the eyes. Concentration on Bhrumhadya (between the eyebrows)

6. 12 breaths in sarvangasana. The chin is closed in front of the straightened body. Hands close to the shoulderblades, concentration on Kanta (throat)

7. 12 breaths in sirsasana. Concentration on Nasagra (tip of the nose)

8. 3 breaths in halasana. Arms on the floor, hands clasped, palms towards the outside

9. 3 breaths in bhujangasana. Again start with open eyes and close them during the movement. Cncentration on Bhrumadhya (between the eyebrows)

10. 12 breaths in Maha-mudra (one-sided forward bend) six times on the left, then six times on the right. With the first inhale bring the arms over the head, with hands clasped, palms up. With the exhale get into the posture. Concentration on navel

11. 12 breaths in paschimottanasana, preparation and in maha mudra. The hands clasp the big toes, the back stays straight, neck and back form a lune. Concentration on the navel.

12. 30-60 Bastri breaths (rapid alternate breathing) in padmasana. The right hand builds a clasp as for anuloma ujjayi. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril, then change the grip and rapidly inhale and exhale through the right nostril. No ujjayi. end with an exhale from the left nostril and without pause move ot a long inhale in nadi shodan. Concentration on Nasagra

13. 12 breaths in nadi shodan (alternate breathing). Inhale very slowly from the half-closed left nostril, exchange grip ad after a short pause exhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril. After a short pause inhale very slowly through the half-closed right nostril, change grip and after a short pause exhale through the half-clodes left nostril. No ujjayi. The left hand counts the breaths, with the thumb gliding over the twelve parts of the four fingers, from the third falanx of the little fingers in the direction towards outside to the point of the index finger. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)

14. Prayer. Concentration on Hrudaya (heart)

In the coming book fom Shribashyam "How Yoga really was" this and similar sequences are explained in detail

*Thank you again to Chiara fro the translation from the German.

Here are some print out practice sheets.



Pimping up Krishnamacharya's 'Life Saving' practice with some Vinyasa Krama

Start off the same with 1. and 2., the breathing preparation, perhaps just seated with the legs crossed if you find moving directly to lotus a little tough ( the movies director, Jan Schmidt-Garre sits crossed legged in the film rather than in half or full lotus).

I then come back up to standing for the basic 10 minutes Tadasana hand and arm variations that I like to use as a warm up, I do this whether I'm practicing Vinyasa Krama or Ashtanga.



I tend to follow this with a couple of Sun Salutations A and B, the full ten, five of each or 2x A and  3x B or just one of each taken nice and slow, or perhaps with the surynamaskara mantra, depends how much warm up you feel you need that morning.

I like to include Trikonasana A and B whatever I do because it's such an excellent twist.

Next up I include the Utthita hasta padangusthasana sequence because I still hate it so figure it must be good for me one way or other.

Transition back to seated for...

Ardha badha padma maschimottanasana as lotus prep ( this morning I preceded that with janusirsasana A)

Other Asymmetric subroutines or parts of subroutines are an option here, perhaps to include some mores twists.

Back on program with stages 4. and 5. matsyasana and bhujangasana

After Bhujangasana I like to do some more backbending Bow postures followed by Ustrasana and possibly kapotasana finishing backbends with urdhva Dhanurasana and perhaps a drop back or two.

from my Kindle Vinyasa Yoga Practice book

The vinyasa krama shoulderstand prep that Ramaswami recommends

6. Shoulderstand

Another bow posture, Salabhasana perhaps as counter to the shoulder stand

7. headstand

And of course one could include some of the shoulderstand or headstand variations.

8. halasana

9. Bhujangasana again or another bow variation.

10. maha mudra

I like to add another twist here, Ardha and/or purna matsyendrasana or perhaps Bharadvajrasana to keep the more meditative vibe going from maha mudra

back on program again with

11. A long paschimottanasana and it's counter purvottanasana

12. and 13. Pranayama


But of course it's flexible, at each stage you can add more or less of a particular Vinyasa krama subroutine or two. 

Each day could have a different focus,  Bow postures one day after stage 5. another day Supine vinyasas at 6.  or More Asymmetric at 9. or 10., seated subroutines at 11.


or my own practice book for the practice sheets perhaps

Either way Krishnamacharya has included what he considers the key, essential postures of maha mudra, paschimottanasana, Shoulderstand and headstand.

In the video above I included a few jump back and through variations, use as many as those as you wish or perhaps keep it very simple transitioning only between stages.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

More Yogasanagalu translation, Asana explanations section

Satya has passed on the list of asana explained in Krishnamacharya's Yogasanagalu, he's checked and these appear to be the same explanations as found in Krishnamacharya's earlier book Yoga Makaranda.

Below is the Yogasanagalu list and below that I've pasted the corresponding asana explanations from the  translation of Yoga Makaranda, which contains another twenty asana explanations.

This is just a selection of asana from the full asana table found in Yogasanagalu. I'm curious why he chose this selection from those available in Yogasanagalu, and those already explained in Yoga Makaranda, in which to go into more depth.

It's interesting to see, that in taking the asana explanations from Yoga Makaranda(1934), he is being consistent in his presentation of options available for the breath in asana in Yogasangalu ( 1st ed. 1941, the translation here is of the 4th ed. 1981). We find kumbhaka (breath retention) options as well as extensive stays suggested and deep uddiyana bandha recommended in certain postures.

The full translation of the Yoga Makaranda Tamil Translation by Sri C.M.V. Krishnamacharya (with the assistance of Sri S.Ranganathadesikacharya, can be downloaded from here


Asana Explanations

  1. Uttanasana
  2. Ardha badda padmottanasana
  3. Paschimotanasana
  4. Janushirshasana
  5. Upavishtakonasana
  6. Baddha Konasana
  7. Supta padangushtasana
  8. Suptapada parshvangushtasana
  9. Baddha padmasana
  10. Navasana
  11. Bakasana
  12. Kurmasana
  13. Suptakonasana
  14. Marichasana
  15. Niralamba sarvangasana
  16. Dwipada shirshasana
  17. Yoga nidrasana
  18. Baddhasana
  19. Durvasana
  20. Trivikramasana
  21. Gandabherundasana
Translators noteI have verified Uttanasana, paschimottanasana and Janushirsasana. The explanations are identical to those in Yoga makaranda. Satya.

Asana explanations below are from Yoga Makaranda (figures refer to full Yoga Makaranda edition) Tamil Translation by Sri C.M.V. Krishnamacharya (with the assistance of 
Sri S.Ranganathadesikacharya) 

I have numbered the asana here in accordance with the Yogasangalu list.

1. Uttanasana (Figure 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7) 
Following the rules for tadasana (yogasana samasthiti krama) (Figure 4.1, 4.2), stand erect. Afterwards, while exhaling the breath out slowly, bend the upper part of the body (that is, the part above the hip) little by little and place the palms down by the legs. The knees must not be even slightly bent. Raise the head upwards and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose. While doing this, draw in clean air through the nostril, hold the breath firmly and maintain this position. This is called sahitha kumbhaka. After remaining here for some time, exhale the breath (that was being held) out very slowly through the nostril, lower the head and place it on the knees. Do not inhale at this stage. Draw the breath in while raising the head and exhale the breath out while lowering the head — this must be practised according to one’s strength and capability. In this position, while the head is raised and while it is lowered and placed onto the knee, the palms must be firmly pressed against the ground. This sthiti is called uttanasana. Initially, when one remains in this sthiti, there might be an occurence of tremors in the arms and legs. At these times, if one holds the breath firmly and stands, these tremors will not occur. After remaining in this sthiti for some time, return to tadasana sthiti.
There are 8 forms of uttanasana. As a result of practising these 8 forms, all the various diseases of the lower abdomen will be removed and the digestive power will increase. Even ordinary stomach pain will stop. Women may also practise this asana. But this asana must not be done during pregnancy. This is the first form. There are 3 vinyasas for this.
The procedure for Padahastasana and other different forms of uttanasana: —
Hold the big toes of the feet with the first three fingers of each hand. Exhale the breath, remain in the same sthiti and bring both ears between the two arms while lowering the head. This is called cakrasana. Take the hands behind the back, bend the body backwards as well and then do uttanasana. There are special benefits for this. But practise only according to your physical condition and capacity. Hold the big toe of the right foot with the left hand and the big toe of the left foot with the right hand and lower the head and place it between the knees. This position, if it is maintained, is one form of padahastasana.
Keeping the legs spread as far apart as possible, hold the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of the left hand and the big toe of the left foot with the fingers of the right hand, as described above. Lower the head and place it between both legs making sure that it is aligned properly. This is also a form of padahastasana.
While practising the following asanas and other related asanas, the knees must remain straight and should not be even slightly bent: Uttanasana, pasci- mottanasana, hasta padasana, janusirsasana, ardhabaddha padmottanasana, up- avishtakonasana, supta konasana, viparita konasana, urdhva prasarana padasana, halasana, sirsasana, sarvangasana, and padahastasana. This important rule must never be forgotten.
After first practising all the parts of padahastasana properly, as described above, practise uttanasana.
In another form, bend forward to the extent possible and place the face 9 angulas below the kneecap. That is, the asana must be done such that the head is placed exactly halfway between the knees and feet. After this, even here, place the head between the legs. This is another form of uttanasana.
2. Ardhabaddha Padmottanasana (Figure 4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 4.14)
From tadasana, do puraka kumbhaka. After this, choose either leg and place its foot on top of the opposite thigh. Slowly, little by little, move the foot up until the back of the heel is pressed against the lower abdomen. Whichever leg is raised, move the same hand behind the back and clasp the big toe of that foot (from behind the back). Keep the other hand in tadasana sthiti and do puraka kumbhaka. After this, slowly exhale through the nose and bend the upper part of the body forward down to the floor. Place the palm down by the foot and keep it firmly pressed against the floor. Release the breath out completely, and without inhaling, practise kumbhaka and lower the head, placing it on top of the kneecap of the extended leg. Repeat this from the beginning with the other leg following all the instructions mentioned earlier. This has 10 vinyasas.
Benefit: This removes all the impurities and deposits from all sides of the lower abdomen and expels them out through the anus. It strengthens the diges- tive power daily.
3. Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana (Figure 4.19 — 4.28)
This asana has many kramas. Of these the first form has 16 vinyasas. Just doing the asana sthiti by sitting in the same spot without doing these vinyasas will not yield the complete benefits mentioned in the yoga sastras. This rule applies to all asanas.
The first three vinyasas are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana, the 5th vinyasa is urdhvamukhasvanasana, the 6th vinyasa is adhomukhasvanasana. Practise these following the earlier instructions. In the 6th vinyasa, doing puraka kumbhaka, jump and arrive at the 7th vinyasa. That is, from adhomukhasvanasana sthiti, jump forward and move both legs between the arms without allowing the legs to touch the floor. Extend the legs out forward and sit down. Practise sitting like this with the rear part of the body either between the two hands or 4 angulas in front of the hands. It is better to learn the abhyasa krama from a guru. In this sthiti, push the chest forward, do puraka kumbhaka and gaze steadily at the tip of the nose. After this extend both arms out towards the feet (the legs are already extended in front). Clasp the big toes of the feet tightly with the first three fingers (thumb, index, middle) of the hands such that the left hand holds the left big toe and the right hand holds the right big toe. Do not raise the knees even slightly. Then, pull in the stomach while doing recaka, lower the head and press the face down onto the knee. The knees should not rise from the ground in this sthiti either. This is the 9th vinyasa. This is called pascimottanasana. In the beginning, everybody will find it very difficult. The nerves in the back, the thighs and the backs of the knees will feel as though they are being fiercely pulled and this will be extremely painful. The pain will remain for 8 days. After this, the pulling on the nerves will release and it will be possible to do the asana without any problem. This pascimottanasana has many forms. After first practising this asana with the face pressed onto the knee, practise it with the chin placed on the knee and then eventually with it placed 3 angulas below the knee on the calf. In the 10th vinyasa raise the head. In the 11th vinyasa, keeping the hands firmly pressed on the ground, raise the entire body off the ground and balance it in the air without touching the ground. The 11th vinyasa is called uthpluthi. The 12th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana. The 13th is urdhvamukhasvanasana. The 14th is adhomukhasvanasana. The 15th is the first vinyasa of uttanasana. The 16th vinyasa is the 2nd vinyasa of uttanasana. Afterwards, return to samasthiti. You should learn the intricacies of this vinyasa only from a guru.
Benefit: This will cure all diseases related to the stomach.
This asana can be done on the floor or on a mat according to the capabilities of one’s body. Learn some of the other forms of pascimottanasana krama by studying the pictures carefully. Pregnant women should not do this asana. But this can be done up to the third month of pregnancy. For men, there are no restrictions to practising this asana. If this is practised every day without fail for 15 minutes, all the bad diseases of the stomach will be removed.
4. Janusirsasana (Figure 4.33, 4.34)
This form follows the hatha yoga principles. Another form follows the raja yoga method. The practitioner should learn the difference. First, take either leg and extend it straight out in front. Keep the heel pressed firmly on the floor with the toes pointing upward. That is, the leg should not lean to either side. The base (back) of the knee should be pressed against the ground. Fold the other leg and place the heel against the genitals, with the area above the knee (the thigh) placed straight against the hip. That is, arrange the straight leg which has been extended in front and the folded leg so that together they form an “L”. Up to this point, there is no difference between the practice of the hatha yogi and the raja yogi.
For the hatha yoga practitioner, the heel of the bent leg should be pressed firmly between the rectum and the scrotum. Tightly clasp the extended foot with both hands, raise the head and do puraka kumbhaka. Remain in this position for some time and then, doing recaka, lower the head and place the face onto the knee of the outstretched leg. While doing this, do not pull the breath in. It may be exhaled. After this, raise the head and do puraka. Repeat this on the other side following the rules mentioned above.
The raja yogi should place the back of the sole of the folded leg between the scrotum and the genitals. Now practise following the other rules described above for the hatha yogis. There are 22 vinyasas for janusirsasana. Please note carefully that all parts of the outstretched leg and the folded leg should touch the floor. While holding the feet with the hands, pull and clasp the feet tightly. Keep the head or face or nose on top of the kneecap and remain in this sthiti from 5 minutes up to half an hour. If it is not possible to stay in recaka for that long, raise the head in between, do puraka kumbhaka and then, doing recaka, place the head back down on the knee. While keeping the head lowered onto the knee, puraka kumbhaka should not be done. This rule must be followed in all asanas.
While practising this asana, however much the stomach is pulled in, there will be that much increase in the benefits received. While practising this, after exhaling the breath, hold the breath firmly. Without worrying about why this is so difficult, pull in the stomach beginning with the navel, keep the attention focussed on all the nadis in and near the rectal and the genital areas and pull these upwards — if you do the asana in this way, not only will all urinary diseases, diabetes and such diseases disappear, but wet dreams will stop, the viryam will thicken and the entire body will become strong.
Whoever is unable to pull in the nadis or the stomach may ignore just those instructions and follow the instructions mentioned earlier to the extent possible. Keep the nadis in and near the rectal and genital areas pulled up, the stomach pulled in and hold the prana vayu steady. Anybody with the power to practise this will very soon be free of disease and will get virya balam. Leaving this aside, if you follow the rules according to your capability, you will gradually attain the benefits mentioned below.
Important Observation:
After practising the asana for just one or two minutes, do not whine that you did not receive any benefits. However little effort there is, if you keep practising the asana daily for at least 5 to 10 minutes, you will start experiencing its benefits in a few days. There is no doubt about this. If you keep practising it from half an hour to an hour following the given rules, you will get the benefits mentioned below.
1. Diseases of the spleen will be removed.
2. People suffering from a low-grade persistent fever in the stomach will notice that the fever, the resulting anaemia and other such dangerous diseases will be wiped out. Continuous and recurrent cough, bloated stomach, flatulence and the first symptoms of tuberculosis will disappear. As a result of these intestinal doshas being removed, the digestive power increases and one feels hunger at the appropriate time. When you are very hungry, it is essential to eat sattvic foods cooked in pure ghee or cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Rice avul, kara boondi (fried peanut flour), kara vadai, peanuts, chickpeas — these tamasic foods should never be eaten. Eating high-quality fruits and kanda mulam is very beneficial.
When they are hungry, some people will eat terrible things without thinking about it. This is a despicable matter. Because of this, they keep catching various diseases and suffering as a result.
If one keeps practising janusirsasana according to the rules described above, then whatever diseases cause blocking of urine and faeces, increase the heat in the nadis, cause an increase in vata, if any such acute diseases occur, they will be destroyed from the root and the practitioner will be in good health very soon.
Heavy head, burning eyes, weakness of the body, burning in the urinary area, fever caused by toxins built up due to indigestion and constipation, loss of ap- petite and sense of taste in the tongue due to a spoilt tongue, laziness or lethargy — all these will be removed by practising the asana in the highest standard. That is, all diseases caused by weakness of the nadis nearby will be removed.
It is important to always remember that it is necessary to practise such asanas like janusirsasana on both the left and right sides. The reason for this is that the strength of the body should be the same on both the left and right sides. Nowadays, modern games and physical exercises give strength to only one side of the body without developing proper blood circulation on the other side. This will result in paralysis and other such diseases. Therefore, every asana must definitely be practised equally on both the left and the right side.
Janusirsasana 2nd Krama
Whichever leg was folded and placed such that the back of the foot was between the rectum and genitals, place the back of the sole of that foot instead against the top of the thigh of the outstretched leg, firmly pressing against it. Now practise according to the rules described earlier. But the benefits of this will be received very slowly. Some people will not be able to place the head on top of the knee on the first day. But one should not abandon the effort thinking that this is impossible. If one keeps practising this for one or two months daily without fail, following the prescribed rules, then it will become possible.
It will be very difficult for those who have allowed excessive flesh to grow in the stomach and hips to practise this. By practising this regularly over a period of time, all the excessive flesh that has grown in or near the stomach and hips will melt, the joints of the bones and nadis will clear up, the stomach will grow thinner and eventually the head will touch the knee. The deposits of excessive flesh are the main cause for the lack of flexibility in the body. All this can be melted away with asana abhyasa.
Many people who have a protruding stomach like a pumpkin believe that they are healthy. Others think that they have correspondingly as much more strength as their arms, legs and thighs are excessively huge, and they keep trying to enlarge the girth of the body. One can clearly say that this is a result of their stupidity. Being blessed with good health is not in the plumpness of the body. The limbs of small children are soft and supple — to lift and bend them is easy. The limbs of adults should be similarly soft and supple and strong and there should be no obstruction to the prana vayu and the blood circulation. Everybody knows that people who have overly large stomachs or who are obese often have excessive breathlessness and bloating of the stomach.
But they have not realized that the vayu sancharam is not proper in any part of the body. When there is no proper movement of air in the body, mounds of excessive flesh will collect in the body forming a barrier. Without proper air circulation, how will the dust fly away? Without water, how can the earth become soft? Similarly, in our bodies, if we want the blood to circulate and the prana vayu to flow properly without obstruction, we need to first knock down and remove the bad deposits of flesh (durmamsam) which appear like a wall. Only prana vayu has the capacity and power to completely destroy the excessive blobs of flesh that exist here and there in the body. This cannot be done with any other medicine.
The stomach is the only cause of an untimely death. There is no other reason. The dwelling place of death in the body is only the big stomach and nowhere else. Even though we desire long life and good health, why do we make our stomachs very large and leave room for death in them? Is this not a terrible thing? Therefore, by practising janusirsasana following the krama with correct instructions, one can melt away the stomach, no matter how large it is. You can definitely believe that as the stomach reduces in size, the death dwelling in it will leave the body. There is no doubt about this.
It is superior to regularly practise this janusirsasana before becoming preg- nant. One should not do it after becoming pregnant. If women who have stomach pain during menstruation practise this asana following the instructions mentioned above, in one or two months, all the germs that cause the stomach pain will be removed from the blood channels and will be expelled out of the body through the urinary tract.
This has 22 vinyasas. The 8th and the 15th vinyasas are themselves the asana sthiti. The benefit is correspondingly as great as one’s capacity for recaka.
5. Upavistakonasana (Figure 4.35)
This has 15 vinyasas. Recaka kumbhaka is its primary principle. All the vinyasas must be done following the instructions for pascimottanasana. But in the 7th vinyasa for pascimottanasana, we extend the legs straight out between the two hands. In the 7th vinyasa for upavishtakonasana, instead of extending the legs out in front between the two hands, spread the legs as far apart as possible while extending them. Remember that the knees should not be raised or bent. Then follow the instructions just as described for pascimottanasana. Clasp the big toes with the fingers of the hand, lower the head and place the face on the floor between the legs. This is called upavishtakonasana (the 8th vinyasa). The 9th vinyasa is like pascimottanasana’s 10th vinyasa. The 10th to the 15th vinyasas are like the 11th to the 16th vinyasas of pascimottanasana. After this, return to samasthiti. This must also be done while lying down on the back.
Benefit: Hip pain, knee pain, any disease that occurs near the region where the thighs meet, violent stomach pain, and flatulence will be cured.
If all women practise this upavisthakonasana for one half hour both in the morning and evening according to the prescribed rules during the time of men- struation, all the diseases of the uterus will be cured. This asana, along with janusirsasana and baddhakonasana must be practised daily without fail by any- body who has irregular menstruation. In three months, they will have proper healthy regular menstrual cycles.
6. Baddhakonasana (Figure 4.36, 4.37)
This has 15 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. The 1st to the 6th vinyasas are like the 1st till the 6th vinyasas for pascimottanasana. In the 7th vinyasa, just like the 7th vinyasa for pascimottanasana, keep the hands down and bring the legs forward in uthpluthi. But instead of straightening them, fold the legs and place them down on the ground. Folding them means that the heel of the right foot is pasted against the base of the right thigh and the heel of the left foot is pasted against the base of the left thigh. When the legs are folded in this manner, the soles of the feet will be facing each other. Hold the sole of the left foot firmly with the left hand and hold the right sole firmly with the right hand. Clasping the soles together firmly, do recaka kumbhaka, lower the head and place it on the floor in front of the feet. After practising this properly, press the head against the top of the soles of the feet. While keeping the head either on the floor or on the soles of the feet, make sure that the seat of the body does not rise up from the floor and remains stuck to the floor. This sthiti is baddhakonasana. After this, from the 8th until the 15th vinyasas, practise as in upavishtakonasana and then return to samasthiti.
Benefit: Coughing, urinary diseases (constant dripping of urine, burning urine), genital discharges, collapsing of the navel inward — such diseases will be cured.
If women practise this especially during menstruation, it will cure all men- strual diseases and will clean the uterus. It will be very helpful for women who wish to conceive.
7. Supta Padangushtasana (Figure 4.38, 4.39, 4.40, 4.41)
The first krama for this has 21 vinyasas. Through the 6th vinyasa, it is exactly as for pascimottanasana. In the 7th vinyasa, lie down facing upwards instead of extending the legs and sitting as in pascimottanasana. While lying down, the entire body must be pressed against the ground. The toes must point upwards and the back of the heels must be stuck to the ground. This is also called savasana by other schools. This is the 7th vinyasa for supta padangushthasana. In the 8th vinyasa, slowly raise the right leg straight up. Hold the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of the right hand, do recaka kumbhaka and remain in this position for as long as possible. This sthiti is called dakshina supta padangushtasana. While remaining in this sthiti, at no time should the elbows or knees of the extended arms and legs be bent. At this time the left hand should be placed on top of the thigh of the outstretched left leg. In the 9th vinyasa, slowly pull the right leg little by little into the front of the right chest. While doing this, gradually raise the head little by little until the face is placed against the right knee. Remain in this position for some time. The 10th vinyasa is like the 8th. The 11th vinyasa is like the 7th. The 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th vinyasas follow the method for the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th but with the left leg and arm. From the 16th until the 21st vinyasas, follow the rules for the 11th until the 16th vinyasas of pascimottanasana and after this return to samasthiti. The 12th vinyasa is called vama supta padangushthasana. From the 8th till the 15th vinyasas, no part of the body must be crooked. While one leg is raised, the other leg must definitely not be bent or curved, must not roll around or undergo any such torsion.
Benefit: It will keep the body measurements proportional and equal and will give tremendous strength to the nerves. It gives good strength to the hips. It is not appropriate for women during pregnancy.
8. Suptapada Parsvangushtasana (Figure 4.42, 4.43, 4.44, 4.45)
This has 23 vinyasas. Up to the 8th vinyasa, this follows the method for supta padangushthasana. In the 9th vinyasa, without breaking any of the rules described earlier, pull the raised right leg down towards the ground on the same side (right side) and slowly lay it down on the ground while still clasping the right big toe. In this sthiti the head is facing upward and the other extended leg is kept straight and remains pressed against the floor. Stay in this 9th vinyasa for at least ten minutes and then do the 10th vinyasa. In the 10th vinyasa, bring the foot that is being held against the ground back to the position in the 8th vinyasa and remain here. Without letting go of the foot, move it such that the leg (or calf) sits on the chest beneath the neck and such that the elbow of the arm holding the foot is behind the neck. Remain here. In this sthiti, the head must be raised slightly. That is, there should be 6 angulas of space between the ground and the head. Inside the matham, this is called sammukha parivrtasana. Repeat this on the other side. To first practise this with the right leg and then with the left leg is characteristic of a superior yogi. The 11th vinyasa is like the 8th and the 12th is like the 7th. Do the 13th vinyasa like the 8th and then do the 14th and 15th vinyasas like the 9th and 10th. The 16th is like the 8th and the 17th must be done like the 7th. The six remaining vinyasas of this posture must be practised like the last 6 vinyasas of pascimottanasana. After this, return to samasthiti.
Benefit: Not only does it clean the parsva nadi, it does not allow the parsva vayu to exist in the body. It destroys diseases like acute tuberculosis. Women should not do this while pregnant.
9. Baddhapadmasana (Figure 4.52, 4.53, 4.54, 4.55)
Place the right foot on top of the left thigh and the left foot on top of the right thigh. Take the hands behind the back and tightly clasp the big toe of the right foot with the first three fingers of the right hand and tightly clasp the big toe of the left foot with the first three fingers of the left hand.
Press the chin firmly against the chest. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. Sit down, keeping the rest of the body straight. This has the name baddhapad- masana. This asana must be repeated on the other side (that is, first place the left foot on top of the right thigh and then the right foot on top of the left thigh) in order to exercise both sides of the body.
This has 16 vinyasas. The 8th and 9th vinyasas are the asana sthiti. The other vinyasas are like pascimottanasana. Study the pictures (Figures 4.52, 4.53) and learn how to keep the gaze. In this asana, one must do puraka kumbhaka. Only in yoga mudra sthiti should one do recaka. This sthiti consists of two forms — so study the pictures (Figures 4.54, 4.55) carefully.
Benefit: It will cure all diseases of the lower abdomen. Pregnant women should not do this asana.
10. Navasana (Figure 4.59, 4.60)
This has 13 vinyasas. In this asana, we need to keep our bodies like a boat (look at the picture). In the 7th vinyasa, maintain the position observed in the picture. That is, only the seat on the back of the body must be on the floor and all the other parts of the body must be raised off the ground. Similarly raise both legs off the ground, keeping them extended. Extend the shoulders out in front, extend the arms forward and place the palms on each leg not quite touching the knees. This is called paripurna navasana (Figure 63).
In the 7th vinyasa, lie down just as in supta padangushtasana, raise the ex- tended legs off the ground. Join the hands and interlace the fingers behind the neck, placing the head on the palms and hold the head tightly with the clasped hands. Then, as observed in the picture, raise the upper body halfway using the back and stop. This is called ardha navasana (Figure 64).
11. Bakasana (Figure 4.61)
This has 12 vinyasas. The 7th and 8th vinyasas are the asana sthiti. In the picture, only the 8th vinyasa is shown.
Benefit: This is an important means for the awakening of the kundalini. It also removes constipation.
12. Kurmasana (Figure 4.62)
This has 16 vinyasas. The 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th vinyasas demonstrate the sampurna sthiti of the asana. Only the 7th vinyasa is shown in the picture.
Benefit: The apana vayu is cleaned; nocturnal discharges are stopped. This is also a very good method for curing piles.
If women with irregular menstruation practise this asana with all the vinyasas for a few months, this affliction of the uterus and of menstrual disturbance will dissolve and they will have regular menstruation.
Important Rule: The practitioners of kurmasana must not practise it within 3 hours of eating. It must not be done on a full stomach.
13. Supta Konasana (Figure 4.64, 4.65)
This has 14 vinyasas. The 9th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. In the 7th vinyasa, stay as shown in the picture.
The 8th vinyasa is uthpluthi. From uthpluthi, move to the position shown in the second picture and then do recaka. The position shown in the second picture is the 9th vinyasa.
This 9th vinyasa itself is the suptakonasana sthiti. The 10th vinyasa is catu- ranga dandasana. The four remaining vinyasas are just the last four vinyasas of pascimottanasana. Study the picture very carefully. Remember that the stomach needs to be pulled in and held in.
Benefit: It will not allow sluggishness due to mahodaram jadyam (dropsy). It will cause timely expulsion of faeces. It will prevent the occurrence of goiter, of inflammation of the glands of the neck, and of any kapha diseases.
Suppose that a woman does not want any children. If she does this asana and along with this, practises krounchasana, then, as desired, she will not have any offspring. If women who have stomach pain during the time of menstruation prac- tise this asana along with upavishtakonasana during the time of menstruation, the pain will disappear quickly.
14. Marichasana (Figure 4.66, 4.67, 4.68, 4.69)
This has 22 vinyasas. This needs to be done on both the left and the right sides. Study the sannaha sthiti (the preparatory state) of marichasana in the picture. This sthiti is the 7th vinyasa.
The right-side marichasana paristhiti is shown in the second picture. Maricha Maharishi was known for bringing this asana to public knowledge and hence it is named for him.
Stay in the 7th vinyasa for some time doing puraka kumbhaka. After this, do recaka and come to the 8th vinyasa. Stay in this position for as long as possible. In case your head starts reeling (you get dizzy), come back to the 7th vinyasa, do puraka kumbhaka, close the eyes and remain here for some time. The dizziness will stop.
The 9th vinyasa is like the 7th vinyasa. The 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th vinyasas are like the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th vinyasas of janusirsasana.
The 14th vinyasa is marichasana sannaha sthiti on the left side. This is demonstrated in the 3rd picture. The 15th vinyasa is the left-side marichasana paristhiti. This is demonstrated in the 4th picture. In the 14th vinyasa do puraka kumbhaka and in the 15th vinyasa do only recaka. The 16th vinyasa is like the 14th. The 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd vinyasas are like the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd vinyasas of janusirsasana.
Benefit: It will not give room for paralysis or any such diseases. Bloating of the stomach will quickly disappear. The stomach will not increase in size. It brings the hips to a correct measurement and broadens the chest. Any weakness of the heart will be removed and the heart will develop strength. The practitioner will never get jaundice or any other liver disease. Only pregnant women should not do this posture.
15. Niralamba Sarvangasana (Figure 4.70)
This has 14 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. The form depicted in the picture is the 8th vinyasa. This is niralamba sarvangasana paristhiti. In order to get to this sthiti, slowly raise the arms and legs either together or one-by- one in the 7th vinyasa . Do only recaka at this time. Never do puraka kumbhaka.
At this time the chin should be pressed against the chest. The gaze should be fixed on the midbrow. While doing this, the arms and legs must not be bent. This sarvangasana has two forms — salamba and niralamba. The tradition of Kapila Maharishi matham has two types for each of these. This book follows the first form. Hence, the picture shows only the first type.
Benefit: Stomach pain, violent stomach pain, flatulence, and indigestion due to changes in diet will be removed and the stomach will become slim. If a person who is having trouble sleeping properly at night remains in the asana paristhiti for fifteen minutes and then lies down, they will be able to fall into a sound contented sleep. Whoever has chest pain, discharges during dreams, is tired, or is suffering as a result of walking for long distances — if these people practise niralamba sarvangasana with its vinyasas for some time, then all these problems will be cured and they will become content. Women can do this even if they get pregnant but should not do it after the 4th month.
16. Dvipada Sirsasana (Figure 4.73)
This has 14 vinyasas. It is the same as for pascimottanasana up to the 6th vinyasa. While practising the 7th vinyasa, place both legs on top of the shoulders, and do uthpluthi as in the 7th vinyasa for bhujapidasana. Then lean the rear of the body forward and sit down.
After this, do recaka and slowly and carefully place the left foot on top of the right foot on top of the back of the neck. That is, the right heel should be by the left ear and the left heel should be by the right ear. While remaining in this state, do puraka kumbhaka and raise the head. Bring the hands next to the muladhara cakra and join them together in prayer. From the 8th vinyasa until the 14th vinyasa practise just as for bhujapidasana.
Benefit: It will remove diseases of the spleen, of the liver, and of the stomach. It will clean the muladhara cakra. It will greatly help with uddiyana bandha. Practise it after first studying the picture very carefully. Women who are pregnant should not do this posture. Those who are prone to miscarriage must practise this asana regularly for some time and then discontinue it before they conceive. If they stop practising this asana during pregnancy, it will enable a strong healthy birth and will help the uterus wall expand and be healthy. People who do not wish for progeny must always practise this asana. If they do, then they will not have any children.
17. Yoga Nidrasana (Figure 4.74)
This has 12 vinyasas. The 7th vinyasa is yoga nidrasana sthiti. The first 6 vinyasas for kurmasana are the first 6 vinyasas for this. In the 7th vinyasa, sit like you did in dvipada sirsasana and instead of keeping the two legs on the back of the neck, first lie back facing upwards. Then lift the legs up and place them on the back of the neck.
In dvipada sirsasana, we joined the hands together in prayer and placed them next to the muladhara cakra. In this asana, following the krama, take the shoul- ders (that is, the arms) on both the left and right sides over the top of the two thighs, and hold the right wrist tightly with the fingers of the left hand beneath the spine. Study the picture.
In the 7th vinyasa, after doing only recaka, arrive at the asana sthiti. Then, one should do puraka kumbhaka and lie down. The 8th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana. The last four vinyasas for this asana are exactly the last four vinyasas for pascimottanasana.
Benefit: Tuberculosis, bloating of the stomach, dropsy and edema (swelling of tissue due to accumulation of water) — such serious diseases will be cured. It will cause the vayu to be held at the svadhishthana cakra and the brahmara guha cakra and as a result will cause long life. It will help to rapidly bring the apana vayu under one’s control. It is not for women who are pregnant.
18. Buddhasana (Figure 4.75, 4.76)
This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th and the 14th vinyasas are the right and left side asana sthitis.
The first picture demonstrates the right-side buddhasana and the second pic- ture demonstrates the left-side buddhasana.
The 7th vinyasa of the right-side buddhasana is the 13th vinyasa of the left-side buddhasana. These are like the 7th and the 12th vinyasas of ekapada sirsasana.
While doing the 8th vinyasa, it is just like the 7th vinyasa for ekapada sir- sasana. Study the picture carefully.
The 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th vinyasas for this are just like the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th vinyasas for ekapada sirsasana. The 14th vinyasa is the left-side buddhasana sthiti. In this sthiti, take the left leg over the top part of the left shoulder and place it on top of the back of the neck. Then hold the wrist of the right hand with the left hand. A different form of buddhasana sthiti is depicted in the second picture and here the hands are clasped together behind the back. The practitioners need not be surprised by this. Some think that since Buddha advocated siddhasana as superior to any other asana, hence siddhasana and buddhasana are to be practised in a similar manner. This is contrary to all the yoga texts and their descriptions of the connections among the nadi granthis in the body. Hence, the practitioner must understand that the siddhasana krama and buddhasana krama are different and must be practised accordingly.
Benefit: It will cure hunchback and will create proper blood circulation in all the nadis. It will clean the svadhishthana, anahata, visuddhi and brahmara guha cakras and gives complete assistance for kevala kumbhaka.
This asana is very beneficial for curing long-term persistent fever. Pregnant women should not do this.
19. Durvasasana (Figure 4.82)
This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is right-side durvasasana and the 14th vinyasa is left-side durvasasana. In the 7th and the 13th vinyasas stay in ekapada sirsasana sthiti. From there, in the 8th and the 14th vinyasas, get up and stand. Study the picture carefully. While remaining in this asana sthiti, the leg that is being supported on the ground must not be even slightly bent and must be held straight. Keep the gaze fixed at the middle of the nose. You must do sampurna puraka kumbhaka. The head must be properly raised throughout.
All the other vinyasas are like skandasana.
Benefit: Elephantiasis, vayu in the scrotum, trembling and tremors of the head — these serious diseases will be destroyed. It is a tremendous support on the path towards samadhi. Pregnant women should not do this.
20. Trivikramasana (Figure 4.85)
This has 7 vinyasas. From the 1st to the 5th vinyasas and then the 7th vinyasa, practise following those for utthita hasta padangushtasana. Practise the 2nd and 7th vinyasas as shown in the picture (study it carefully) and remain in these positions. The 2nd vinyasa is the right-side trivikramasana sthiti. The 6th vinyasa as shown is the left-side trivikramasana sthiti. The picture shown here only demonstrates the left-side trivikramasana. It is important that equal recaka and puraka kumbhaka must be carefully observed while practising this asana. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. Both legs must be held straight and must not lean or bend to any side.
Benefit: Not only will it maintain the body in an equal balanced sthiti, it will rapidly awaken kundalini.
21. Gandabherundasana (Figure 4.86, 4.87)
This has 10 vinyasas. The 6th and 7th vinyasas show the asana sthiti. The first picture shows the 6th vinyasa and the second picture shows the 7th. In the 4th vinyasa, come to caturanga dandasana sthiti and in the 5th vinyasa proceed to viparita salabasana sthiti. In the 6th vinyasa, spread the arms out wide, keeping them straight like a stick (like a wire) as shown in the picture. Take the soles of both feet and place them next to the ears such that the heels touch the arms and keep them there.
Next, do the 7th vinyasa as shown in the second picture. This is called supta ganda bherundasana. In this asana sthiti and in the preliminary positions, do equal recaka puraka kumbhaka. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. This must not be forgotten.
Benefit: Goiter, inflammation of the glands of the neck and diseases due to mahodaram will be destroyed. The visuddhi and brahmaguha cakras will function correctly and this will take the mind to the state of savikalpa samadhi. Pregnant women should not do this.
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The full translation of the Yoga Makaranda, Tamil Translation by Sri C.M.V. Krishnamacharya (with the assistance of Sri S.Ranganathadesikacharya, can be downloaded from here

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A Reminder

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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