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presidential seal of approval

For the second year in a row, the Obama White House includes yoga among the fitness-day activities at the annual Easter Egg Roll. Yoga has become publicly-and playfully-presidential.

scientific proof •

Dr. Dean Ornish, a follower of Swami Satchidananda, conducts his Lifestyle Heart Trial research, establishing yoga's positive impact on heart disease and legitimizing yoga for Westerners. A yoga boom follows, accelerated by the appearance of celebrity yoga teachers.

History Yoga Timeline

Timeline compiled by Eric Shaw. He teaches the history, philosophy, and practice of yoga worldwide and is writing a history of modern yoga for Anusara Press. Visit him at

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Vishnu's repose

Find inner poise in Anantasana, a pose dedicated to the deity said to preserve and sustain the universe. '

Anantasana Pose

At first glance, Anantasana (Rcclining Pose Dedicated to Vishnu) appears easy, as if you're simply lounging around. But it takes strength, flexibility, and finely honed balance to retain softness and calm in the pose. Ananta is the nickname of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, the one who sustains the universe between the cycles of creation and destruction, and who is said to be the Giver of Yoga, who is himself yoked in yoga. It's also the name of the thousand-headed serpent that serves as Vishnu's couch—which might explain why the pose looks so relaxing.

Elisc Browning Miller, a senior certified Iyengar Yoga teacher in Palo Alto, California, suggests you cultivate a sense of repose, even as you work to integrate stability and opening in your poses. "There's always that balance of going inward to create a sense of peacefulness, and then allowing that to expand outward but never losing your source."

Miller's sequence grounds the torso and legs while it opens the navel, side body, and shoulders, leading you to experience the ultimate repose in Anantasana. She encourages you to be fully present as you practice this sequence and to give yourself time to repeat a pose ifyou feel you'd like to refine your alignment. You'll have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your own strength, flexibility, and balance while you evoke the poise and creative power of Vishnu. JENNIFER RODRIGUE

to finish

Rest in center Lie on your back and take a few moments to align your body symmetrically. Breathe deeply and completely let go. Relax your entire body into the floor. Quiet your eyes, ears, tongue. Create a balance of stability and openness.

to begin

Find balance Sit cross-

legged and find a sense of balance. Root your sitting bones and observe your breath. Breathe into the navel region, the seat of power and creativity in the body. Then, invite your breath up through the full length of your spine to open your body to this sense of strength and receptivity.

home practice with Elise Browning Miller

1 Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

From Dandasana (Staff Pose), stack your right knee on top of your left, feet outside your hips. If your hips are tight, sit up on a block. Lift your left arm, lower your right arm, bend your elbows, and clasp your hands behind you. Hold on to a strap if your hands do not reach. Take 5 breaths and repeat on the second side.

2 Dolphin Pose

Move to all fours, take your forearms to the floor, parallel to each other and shoulder-width apart. Lift your knees, and press your hips up toward the ceiling and your chest and armpits back toward your thighs. If your elbows and hands move toward each other, use a strap above your elbows and place a block between your hands. Hold for 5 breaths, release to all fours, and come to standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

3 Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

(Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)

Bend your right knee, hold your right big toe, and straighten your right leg. If your leg doesn't straighten, use a strap. Lengthen through your right heel and ball of the foot for 2 breaths. Draw your right hip back. Then move your right leg out to the right and breathe Into your Inner right thigh for 5 breaths. Root down through your left heel, draw your inner left thigh back, and drop your right sitting bone. Bring your right leg back to center, release, and then change sides.

4 Utthita Trikonasana

(Extended Triangle Pose)

From Tadasana, step your feet 3'/sto 4 feet apart. Turn the right foot out and your left

foot slightly in. Extend your right side body over your right leg and release your right hand to the floor or onto a block. Open through your torso and lift your left arm up. Externally rotate your right thigh, engage your right buttock, and open the front of your pelvis. Root down through your legs as you lift your torso back up. Pivot on your feet and take the left side.

5 Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Come back to Utthita Trikonasana on the right side, then bend your right knee, reach your right hand forward, step into your right foot, and lift your left leg. Externally rotate your right thigh and press down through the big-toe mound. Lift your left hip point up and engage the right buttock. Keep your left foot in line with your left hip. Take

5 breaths, bend your right knee, and step back to Trikonasana. Come up to standing and take the second side.

6 Adho Mukha Svanasana

(Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Come onto all fours and bring your hands to one hand's distance in front of your shoulders. Press down with your inner palms, externally rotate your upper arms, and lift your pelvis up and back. Press your shoulder blades onto your back and your chest toward your legs. Take 8 breaths. Feel your mind quieting.

7 Supta Padangusthasana

(Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)

Lie on the floor with your legs extended. Bend your right knee, grab your big toe, and slowly straighten your right leg. If your leg does not straighten, feel free to use a strap. Lengthen through your heel and the ball of the foot, and

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