Marichyasana I

This asana is dedicated to the sage Marichi, son of the Creator, Brahma. Marichi was the grandfather of Surya (the Sun God). 1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. (Plate 35) 3. Stretch the left shoulder forward till the left armpit touches the perpendicular left shin. Turn the left arm round the left shin and thigh, bend the left elbow and throw the left forearm behind the back at the level of the waist. Then move the right hand behind the back and clasp the left hand...

Dharana

When the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyahara, the sadhaka reaches the sixth stage called dharana. Here he is concentrated wholly on a single point or on a task in which he is completely engrossed. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption. The mind is an instrument which classifies, judges and co-ordinates the impressions from the outside...

Foreword by Yehudi Menuhin

HarperCollins Publishers India a joint venture with The India Today Group by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers Limited First published by George Allen & Unwin 1966 This abridged edition first published as The Concise Light on Yoga by Unwin Paperback 1980 Large format edition first published by the Aquarian Press 1993 Thorsons edition 1995 First published in India by HarperCollins Publishers India 1997 Copyright George Allen & Unwin (Publishers) Ltd 1966, 1968, 1976. 1980 B.K.S....

Maha Mudra

Mudra means shutting, closing or sealing. In this sitting posture the apertures at the top and bottom of the trunk are held fast and sealed. 1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched in front. (Plate 35) 2. Bend the left knee and move it to the left, keeping the outer side of the left thigh and the left calf on the floor. 3. Place the left heel against the inner side of the left thigh near the perineum. The big toe of the left foot should touch the inner side of the...

Baddha Konasana

Kona means an angle. In this posture, sit on the floor, bring the heels near the perineum, catch the feet and widen the thighs until the knees touch the floor on either side. This is how Indian cobblers sit. 1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. (Plate 35) 2. Bend the knees and bring the feet closer to the trunk. 3. Bring the soles and heels of the feet together and catching the feet near the toes, bring the heels near the perineum. The...

Pratyahdra

If a man's reason succumbs to the pull of his senses he is lost. On the other hand, if there is rhythmic control of breath, the senses instead of running after external objects of desire turn inwards, and man is set free from their tyranny. This is the fifth stage of Yoga, namely, pratyah-ara, where the senses are brought under control. When this stage is reached, the sadhaka goes through a searching self-examination. To overcome the deadly but attractive spell of sensual objects, he needs the...

Dhyana

As water takes the shape of its container, the mind when it contemplates an object is transformed into the shape of that object. The mind which thinks of the all-pervading divinity which it worships, is ultimately through long-continued devotion transformed into the likeness of that divinity. When oil is poured from one vessel to another, one can observe the steady constant flow. When the flow of concentration is uninterrupted, the state that arises is dhyana (meditation). As the filament in an...

Asana

The third limb of yoga is asana or posture. Asana brings steadiness, health and lightness of limb. A steady and pleasant posture produces mental equilibrium and prevents fickleness of mind. Asanas are not merely gymnastic exercises they are postures. To perform them one needs a clean airy place, a blanket and determination, while for other systems of physical training one needs large playing fields and costly equipment. Asanas can be done alone, as the limbs of the body provide the necessary...

Matsyendrsana

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Matsyendra is mentioned as one of the founders of Hatha Vidya. It is related that once Lord Siva went to a lonely island and explained to his consort Parvati the mysteries of Yoga. A fish near the shore heard everything with concentration and remained motionless while listening. Siva, realizing that the fish had learnt Yoga, sprinkled water upon it, and immediately the fish gained divine form and became Matsyendra (Lord of the Fishes) and...

Niyama

Niyama are the rules of conduct that apply to individual discipline, while yama are universal in their application. The five niyama listed by Patanjali are saucha (purity), santosa (contentment), tapas (ardour or austerity), svadhyaya (study of the Self) and Isvara pranidhana (dedication to the Lord). 1. Saucha. Purity of blood is essential for well-being. While good habits like bathing purify the body externally, asana and praayama cleanse it internally. The practice of asanas tones the entire...

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Kotia is an angle. This is the extended lateral angle pose. 1. Stand in Tadasana. (Plate 1) Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways 4 to 4Vi feet. Raise the arms sideways, in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. (Plate 2) 2. While exhaling slowly, turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right, and the left foot slightly to the right, keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee. Bend the right leg at the...

J Parsva Halasana

Paschimottanasana

In Halasana (Plate 114) both the legs rest behind the head. In this pose they rest sideways on one side of and in line with the head. This is the lateral plough pose. palms and stretch the legs. (Plate 116) 5. Remain in this position for half a minute with normal breathing. 6. Exhale, move the legs to the right until they are in line with the head and hold the pose for half a minute. Do not disturb the position of the chest and trunk when the legs are moved. The chest and trunk should remain as...

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha means having the mouth upwards. Svana means a dog. The pose resembles a dog stretching itself with the head up in the air, hence the name. 1. Lie on the floor on the stomach, face downwards. 4. Keep the legs straight and tightened at the knees, but do not rest the knees on the floor. The weight of the body rests on the palms and toes only. (Plate 32) 5. The spine, thighs and calves should be fully stretched, and the buttocks contracted tight. Push the chest forward, stretch the...

One Week Course

The following is a course which covers one week and will benefit the body and bring harmony to the mind. Salamba Sirsasana (90) for 10 minutes Urdhva Dandasana (94) for 1 minute Salamba Sarvangasana (10 minutes Halasana (113) for 5 minutes Utthita Trikonasana (3 and 4) for 30 seconds on each side Utthita Parsva Konasana (5 and 6) for 30 seconds on each side Virabhadrasana I and II for 20 seconds on each side Parsvottanasana (13) for 1 minute on each side Prasarita Padottanasana (17) for 1...

Viloma Pranayama

The particle vi is used to denote negation or privation. Viloma thus means against the hair, against the grain, against the natural order of things. In Viloma Pranayama inhalation or exhalation is not one uninterrupted continuous process, but is interrupted by several pauses. For instance, if continuous inhalation to fill the lungs or continuous exhalation to expel the air were to take 15 seconds in each case, in Viloma there would be a pause of about 2 seconds after every...

Utthita Trikonasana

Trikona tri three kona angle is a triangle. This standing asana is the extended triangle pose. 1. Stand in Tadasana. Plate 1 2. Inhale deeply and with a jump spread apart the legs sideways 3 to 3V2 feet. Raise the arms sideways, in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Keep the arms parallel to the floor. Plate 2 3. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right. Turn the left foot slightly to the right, keeping the left leg stretched from the...

Table of Asanas

The following table correlates the asanas with the plates that illustrate them intermediate final asanas asanas intermediate final asanas asanas 34. Marlchy sana I 70 71 35. Upavistha Kon sana 72 and 73 74 Urgr sana or Brahmachary sana 75 to 80 81 38. S lamba S rs sana 83 to 89 and 90, 91 39. rdhva Dand sana 94 40. S lamba Sarv ng sana 98 to 101 and 102, 103 41. Hal sana 109 to 112 113 43. Supta Kon sana 115 44. P rsva Hal sana 116 45. Eka P da Sarv ng sana 117 46. P rsvaika P da Sarv ng sana...

Hints and cautions

Without firm foundations a house cannot stand. Without the practice of the principles of yama and niyama, which lay down firm foundations for building character, there cannot be an integrated personality. Practice of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics. 2. The qualities demanded from an aspirant are discipline, faith, tenacity, and perseverance to practice regularly without interruptions. 3. Before starting to practise asanas, the bladder should be emptied and...

Nadt Sodhana Pranayama

Nadt is a tubular organ of the body like an artery or a vein for the passage of prana or energy. A nadt has three layers like an insulated electric wire. The innermost layer is called sird, the middle layer damant and the entire organ as well as the outer layer is called nadi. Sodhana meaning purifying or cleansing, so the object of Nadi Sodhana Pranayama is the purification of the nerves. A little obstruction in a water pipe can cut off the supply completely. A little obstruction in the nerves...

Salabhasana

Exercise For The Elderly 1900

The pose resembles that of a locust resting on the ground, hence the name. 1. Lie full length on the floor on the stomach, face downwards. Stretch the arms back. 2. Exhale, lift the head, chest and legs off the floor simultaneously as high as possible. The hands should not be placed and the ribs should not rest on the floor. Only the abdominal front portion of the body rests on the floor and bears the weight of the body. Plate 26 3. Contract the buttocks and stretch the...

Parivartanasana

Jathara Parivartana

Parivartana means turning or rolling about, turning round. 1. Lie flat on the back on the floor. Plate 98 3. Stretch out both arms sideways in line with the shoulders, so that the body resembles a cross. 2. Exhale, raise both legs together until they are perpendicular to the floor. They should remain poker stiff, so do not bend them at the knees. Plate 105 4. Remain in this position for a few breaths. Then exhale, and move both the legs sideways Plate 126...

Salamba Strssana I

Sirsa means the head. This is the head stand pose, one of the most important Yogi asanas. It is the basic posture. It has several variations, which are described later as the Strs sana cycle. Its mastery gives one balance and poise, both physically and mentally. The technique of doing it is given' at length in two parts the first is for beginners, the second for those who can remain balanced in the pose. Attention is specially directed to the hints on Sirs sana given...

Pranayama

Just as the word yoga is one of wide import, so also is prana. Prana means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy or strength. It also connotes the soul as opposed to the body. The word is generally used in the plural to indicate vital breaths. Ayama means length, expansion,, stretching or restraint. Pranayama thus connotes extension of breath and its control. This control is over all the functions of breathing, namely, 1 inhalation or inspiration, which is termed puraka filling up 2...

Padangusthasana

Padangusthasana Concave Back

Angustha is the big toe. This posture is done by standing and catching the big toes. 1. Stand in Tadasana. Plate 1 Spread the legs a foot apart. 2. Exhale, bend forward and hold the big toes between the thumbs and the first two fingers, so that the palms face each other. Hold them tight. Plate 21 3. Keep the head up, stretch the diaphragm towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible. Instead of stretching down from the shoulders, bend forward from the pelvic...

What is Yoga

The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one's attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion. It is the true union of our will with the will of God. 'It thus means, says Mahadev Desai in his introduction to the Gita according to Gandhi, 'the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul to God it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga presupposes...

Marichyasana II

This is one of the sitting lateral twisting postures. 1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. Plate 35 2. Bend the left knee, place the sole and heel of the left foot flat on the floor. The shin of the left leg should be perpendicular to the floor and the calf should touch the thigh. Place the left heel near the perineum. The inner side of the left foot should touch the inner side of the outstretched right thigh. 3. With an exhalation, turn the spine about 90 degrees to...

Sarvangasana I

Advance Sarvanga Asana

Alamba means a prop, a support and sa together with or accompanied by. Salamba, therefore means supported or propped up. Sarvanga Sarva all, whole, entire, complete anga limb or body means the entire body or all the limbs. In this pose the whole body benefits from the exercise, hence the name. 3. Raise the hips from the floor with an exhalation and rest the hands on them by bending the arms at the elbows. Plate 100 Take two breaths. 4. Exhale, raise the trunk up perpendicularly supported by the...

Baddha Padmasana

In this position the hands are crossed at the back and the big toes are caught from behind. The body is caught between the crossed legs in front and the crossed hands behind, hence the name. 1. Sit in Padmasana. Plate 53 2. Exhale, swing the left arm back from the shoulders and bring the hand near the right hip. Catch the left big toe, hold the position and inhale. 3. Similarly, with an exhalation, swing the right arm back from the shoulder, bring it near the...

Yama

The eight limbs of Yoga are described in the second chapter. The first of these is yama ethical disciplines - the great commandments transcending creed, country, age and time. They are ahimsa non-violence , satya truth , asteya non-stealing , brahmacharya continence and apa-rigraha non-coveting . These commandments are the rules of morality for society and the individual, which if not obeyed bring chaos, violence, untruth, stealing, dissipation and covetousness. The roots of these evils are the...

Matsyasana

This posture is dedicated to Matsya the Fish Incarnation of Visnu, the source and maintainer of the universe and of all things. It is related that once upon a time the whole earth had become corrupt and was about to be overwhelmed by a universal flood. Visnu took the form of a fish and warned Manu the Hindu Adam of the impending disaster. The fish then carried Manu, his family and the seven great sages in a ship, fastened to a horn on his head. It also saved the Vedas from...

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Back Bending Poses

Dhanu means a bow. In this posture the body is arched back and supported on the palms and soles. 1. Lie flat on the back on the floor. Plate 48 2. Bend and raise the elbows over the head, and place the palms under the shoulders. The distance between the palms should not be wider than the shoulders and the fingers should point towards the feet. 3. Bend and raise the knees, then bring the feet nearer until they touch the hips. Plate 141 4. Exhale, raise the trunk and rest...

Bhujahgasana I

In this posture, lie flat on the floor, face downwards, lift the body up from the trunk and throw the head back like a serpent about to strike. 1. Lie on the floor face downwards. Extend the legs, keeping the feet together. Keep the knees tight and the toes pointing. 2. Rest the palms by the side of the pelvic region. 3. Inhale, press the palms firmly on the floor and lift the body up from the trunk until the pubis is in contact with the floor and stay in this position...

Eka Pada Sarvangasana

Pada means the foot. In this variation of Sarvangasana, one leg is on the floor in Halasana, while the other is in a vertical position along with the trunk. 1. Do Salamba Sarvangasana I. Plate 102 2. Keep the left leg up in Sarvangasana. Exhale and move the right leg down to the floor to Halasana. Plate 117 It should remain stiff and straight and not bend at the knee. If it is not possible to touch the floor, lower the leg as far as possible. 3. While resting the right...

Parsvottanasana

Parsvottanasana Line Drawing

Uttana ut intense, and tan to extend, stretch, lengthen means an intense stretch. The name implies a pose in which the side of the chest is stretched intensely. 1. Stand in Tadasana. Plate 1 Inhale deeply and stretch the body forward. 2. Join the palms behind the back and draw the shoulders and elbows back. 3. Exhale, turn the wrists and bring both palms up above the middle of the back of the chest, the fingers at the level of the shoulder-blades. You are doing...

Surya Bhedana Pranayama

Surya Bhedana Pranayama

Bhedana is derived from the root bhid meaning to pierce, to break or pass through. In Surya Bhedana Pranayama, the breath is inhaled through the right nostril. In other words the prana passes through the Pihgala or Surya nadi. A kumbhaka is then performed and the breath is their exhaled through the left nostril which is the path of the Ida nadi. 1. Sit in any comfortable position like Padmasana Plate 53 , Siddhasana Plate 38 or Virasana Plate 43 . 2. Keep the back erect and...

Savasana also called Mrtasana

In this asana the object is to imitate a corpse. Once life has departed, the body remains still and no movements are possible. By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But-it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master. 1. Lie flat on...

Dhanurasana

The hands here are used like a bowstring to pull the head, trunk and legs up and the posture resembles a bent bow. 1. Lie full length on the floor on the stomach, face downwards. 2. Exhale and bend the knees. Stretch the arms back and hold the left ankle with the left hand and the right ankle with the right hand. Take two breaths. 3. Now exhale completely and pull the legs up by raising the knees above the floor, and simultaneously lift the chest off the floor. The arms and...

Padmasana

This is the lotus posture, one of the most important and useful asanas. It is the posture for meditation and the Buddha is often depicted in it. Verse 48 of the first chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes the posture and the practice of breath control while seated in it thus 'Assuming Padmasana and having placed the palms one upon another, fix the chin firmly upon the breast and contemplating upon Brahman, frequently contract the anus and raise the apana up by...

Ardha Navasana

Khechari Mudra

Nava is a ship, boat or vessel. This posture resembles the shape of a boat, hence the name. 1. Sit on the floor. Stretch the legs out in front and keep them straight. Plate 35 2. Interlock the fingers and place them on the back of the head just above the neck. 3. Exhale, recline the trunk back and simultaneously raise the legs from the floor, keeping the thighs and knees tight and the toes pointed . The balance of the body rests on the buttocks and no part of the spine should...

By Yehudi Menuhin

The practice of Yoga induces a primary sense of measure and proportion. Reduced to our own body, our first instrument, we learn to play it, drawing from it maximum resonance and harmony. With unflagging patience we refine and animate every cell as we return daily to the attack, unlocking and liberating capacities otherwise condemned to frustration and death. Each unfulfilled area of tissue and nerve, of brain or lung, is a challenge to our will and integrity, or otherwise a source of...

Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana

Positions Legs

Padma means a lotus. In this Sarvangasana variation, the legs, instead of being kept straight up, are bent at the knees and crossed so that the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh as in the lotus pose. Plate 53 1. From Salamba Sarvangasana, bend the legs at the knees and cross them. First place the right foot over the left thigh, and then the left foot over the right thigh. 4. Uncross the legs, return to Salamba Sarvangasana and...

Main Associations and Centres Worldwide

Australasia 1 Rickman Avenue Mosman 2088 NSW Montreal 919 Mont-Royal Oest Montreal PQ H2J 1X3 BKS Iyengar Yoga Association PO 65694, Station F Vancouver, BC V5N 5K7 Victoria Yoga Centre 3918 Olympic View Drive RR4, Victoria, BC V9B 5T8 Ontario c o 85 Glenforest Road Toronto, Ontario M4N 2A1 Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Paris also Association Fran aise de Yoga Iyengar 35 ave Victor Hugo 75116 Paris Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Lyon Clos de Fourviere 40 Rue Roger Rodisson 69005 Lyon Montpellier 5 bis...

Brahmacharyasana

Brahmacharyasana

It implies the back of the whole body from the head to the heels. The anterior or eastern aspect is the front of the body from the face down to the toes. The crown of the head is the upper or northern aspect while the soles and heels of the feet form the lower or southern aspect of the body. In this asana the back of the whole body is intensely stretched, hence the name. Ugra means formidable, powerful and noble. Brahmacharya means religious study,...

Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana

Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana

In Eka Pada Sarvangasana Plate 117 the lower leg rests behind the head, whereas here it rests sideways in line with the trunk. 1. Perform Eka Pada Sarvangasana on both sides as described above and come back to Sarvangasana. 2. Exhale, move the right leg down sideways to the floor until it is in line with the trunk. Plate 118 Keep the right leg straight and stiff and do not bend it at the knee. If it is not possible to touch the floor, lower the leg as far as possible. 3....

Mukhaikapda Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana Asana

Trianga means three limbs or parts thereof. In this posture the three parts are the feet, knees and buttocks. Mukhaikapada a compound of three words, mukha face, eka one, and pada leg or foot corresponds to the face or mouth touching one extended leg. In Paschimottanasana Plate 81 the back of the whole body is intensely stretched. 1. Sit on the floor, with the legs stretched straight in front. Plate 35 2. Bend the right leg at the knee and move the right foot back. Place the right foot by the...

L Tadasana

Samasthiti Tadasana

Sama means upright, straight, unmoved. Sthiti is standing still, steadiness. Tadasana therefore implies a pose where one stands firm and erect as a mountain. This is the basic standing pose. 1. Stand erect with the feet together, the heels and big toes touching each other. Rest the heads of metatarsals on the floor and stretch all the toes flat on the floor. 2. Tighten the knees and pull the knee-caps up, contract the hips and pull up the muscles at the back of the...

Appendix

I am giving the asanas in a serial order for practice and the possible time it may take to gain control of them. The figures within the brackets after the asanas denote the number. Tadasana 1 Utthita Trikonasana 3 and 4 Utthita Parsvakonasana 5 and 6 Salamba Sarvangasana 102 Halasana 113 Savasana 146 . Utthita Trikonasana 3 and 4 Utthita Parsvakonasana 5 and 6 Vlrabhadra-sana I and II 9 and 10 Parsvottanasana 13 Salamba Sarvangasana 102 Halasana 115 Savasana 146 . Utthita Trikonasana 3 and 4...

J Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

Ardha means half, baddha means caught, restrained and padma a lotus. Paschimottanasana Plate 81 is the posture where the back of the whole body is intensely stretched. 1. Sit on the floor, with the legs stretched straight in front. Plate 35 2. Bend the left leg at the knee, and place the left foot over the right thigh. The left heel should press the navel and the toes should be stretched and pointing. This is the half lotus posture. 3. Bring the left arm round the back from behind and with an...

Parsva Pindasana in Sarvangasana

Parsva Halasana

In this Pindasana variation of the earlier pose, both the bent knees are moved sideways and placed on the floor on the same side of the trunk. This is the lateral embryo pose in Sarvangasana. 1. After staying in Pindasana Plate 123 turn the hips sideways to the right, exhale and lower both knees to the floor. The left knee should be by the side of the right ear. Plate 124 2. The left shoulder will be raised off the floor in the beginning. Push the shoulder...