Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Monday, 5 April 2010

Sivananda Docet :: the 12 [or 18] most essential ASANAS

 Side Crow. Photo (c) Yogaru

I have been doing tons of yoga lately. I have achieved my first aid certificate and I am full of energies and ideas. I am not resenting at all of the passage from Winter to Spring because I prepared myself (detox diet, spring clean workshop, etc.) and because Spring in the UK is never as dramatic as in my home country. There are still a few important things I need to sort out in my life, but, generally speaking, I feel very well in my body and mind and this is mainly thanks to the practice of hatha yoga, pranayama, meditation and kirtan. Because I have swapped my blog for Facebook (terrible, I know), I can't remember whether I posted about my yoga nidra experience while singing kirtan. It was the first time I went into a deep relaxation while being 100 per cent sure to be still alert simply because I kept chanting all the way through. It was revealing. 

Although I am increasingly getting more interested in the philosophy of yoga and all its spiritual aspects, I cannot deny that I am enjoying my daily physical practice a great deal. Hatha yoga (being it anusara, shadow, asthanga, vinyasa, restorative ~ all styles I keep alternating) is made of 8.400.000 asanas (!), according to the scriptures, but Sivananda points out that 12 basic postures -- preceeded by Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) and followed by shavasana (little death = relaxation) -- "bring out the essence and all major benefits of this wonderful system".

These 12 Basic Postures are:

1. Headstand (Sirshasana)
2. Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
3. Plough (Halasana)
4. Fish (Matsyasana)
5. Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
6. Cobra (Bhujangasana)
7. Locust (Shalabhasana)
8. Bow (Dhanurasana)
9. Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
10. Crow pose (Kakasana) or Peacock pose (Mayurasana)
11. Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
12. Triangle (Trikonasana)

Sitting postures for meditation and Pranayama include the lotus pose.

One of my teachers says that the most important asanas are 18. I guess she includes four withing the surya namaskar cycle. I guess they could be Chaturanga Dandasana, Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana... but I may be wrong...

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