Parsva Pindasana in Sarvangasana

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EIGHT*

Parsva means the side or flank. 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.

TECHNIQUE

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 against the floor and press the left hand firmly against the back. If this is not done, you will lose balance and roll over to one side.

3. Due to the lateral twist, breathing will be fast and difficult as the diaphragm is pressed in this position.

4. The knee near the ear will not rest on the floor to start with, but only after long practice.

5. Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds, with normal breathing.

6. Exhale, come up from the right side and move the crossed legs over to the left, so that the left foot will be near the left ear. (Plate 125) Stay here also for the same length of time.

7. Go back to Ûrdhva Padmàsana. (Plate 122) Release the lotus pose by uncrossing the legs and return to Sâlamba Sarvangasana.

8. Now change the position of the crossed legs. Cross the legs again by putting the left foot over the right thigh first and then the right foot over the left thigh instead of the other way as done earlier.

9. Repeat the movements again on both the sides as described earlier.

EFFECTS OF ÜRDHVA PADMÁSANA AND PÁRáVA PINDASANA MOVEMENTS IN SARVANGASANA

The change of crossing the legs brings equal pressure on both sides of the abdomen and colon and relieves constipation. For those suffering from chronic constipation a longer stay in Páráva Pindásana is recommended, and one minute on each side will prove most efficacious. Griping pain in the stomach is relieved by these poses.

Persons with extremely flexible knees, can easily perform these positions. It is, however, difficult for many people to cross the legs in Padmásana. For them a longer stay in Páráva Halásana (Plate 116) - (there also the spine and trunk get a lateral twist but the legs remain straight) - is recommended.

In all these positions breathing at first will be fast and laboured. Try to maintain normal breathing.

NOTE

The spine is given the forward, lateral and backward movements in these variations of Sarvangasana'. In Halasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Kama Pidasana and Pindasana the spine moves in the forward direction. In Parsvaika Pada Sarvanga, ParSva Halasana and Parsva Pindasana the spine moves laterally. In Setu Bandha it is given a backward movement. These movements tone the spine on all sides and keep it healthy.

It is related that in the Krita Age (the first Age of the Universe) a host of Dartavas (giants and demons) became invincible in battle under the leadership of Vrtra and scattered the Devas (or Gods) in all directions. Realizing that they could not regain their power until Vrtra was destroyed, the gods appeared before their Grandsire, Brahma, the creator. Brahma instructed them to consult Visnu who asked them to obtain the bones of a sage called Dadhicha, from which to make a demon-slaying weapon. The gods appeared before the sage and begged the boon according to Visnu's advice. The sage renounced his body for the benefit of the gods. From the spine of Dadhicha was fashioned Vajra, the thunderbolt, which Indra the king of the gods hurled and slew Vrtra.

The story is symbolical. The Danavas represent the tamasic qualities in men and diseases. The Devas represent health, harmony and peace. To destroy the tamasic qualities and the diseases due to them and to enjoy health and happiness, we have to make our spines strong as a thunderbolt like the spine of Dadhicha. Then we shall enjoy health, harmony and happiness in abundance.

Parsva Halasana

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