Hatha Yoga Tip
NATARAJASANA – DANCING LORD SIVA -A balance posture
Begin by standing firmly on both feet. Balance on your left foot keeping the weight firmly on this foot throughout the balance and lift the right ankle to grasp with the right hand.
Breathing slowly and rhythmically helps establish the balance. Concentrating on a spot in front of you and spreading the toes of the standing foot helps stabilize balance.
Keeping the back straight and the head level, inhale and raise the left arm straight up stretching the fingers up with the hand. The arm is kept alongside the left ear. Keep establishing and maintaining the balance while breathing and focusing on a spot. Keep the straight arm in line with the standing leg which is straight. This vertical alignment will help stabilize the balance and provide a stable base for the back bending to follow.
Now as the right foot is taken up and back, the right thigh is also going back. The chest will push out. The right shoulder can be rotated back to help with the back bending. The left arm remains straight up by the ear.
Deep breathing is natural in this posture with the chest open. Keep breathing rhythmically.
Hold for up to 30 seconds and release the posture slowly, then repeat on other leg (right) and holding the left ankle following the above steps.
Once this posture has been successfully and comfortably accomplished, then the back bend can be increased gradually while holding up the ankle and leg. The foot is pulled up and closer to the shoulder on that side. The thigh also then needs to stretch further back while the standing leg is straight and firm, weight firmly on that foot. The elbow is lifted while still holding on to the foot. The wrist is rotated holding the upper part of the foot now. While maintaining the deep rhythmical breathing, hold posture for up to 30 seconds. Rather than having the body tipping forward, the chest is pushed out and the back considerably more arched with this advanced version. The opposite arm is held up straight as previously. Release and repeat on the opposite side.
In the full pose, bring the left arm over the head and place it on the right foot, you are holding the foot with both hands. Again hold the pose then release and repeat opposite side.
Mental: Standing in a one leg balanced pose keep the mind focused with the concentration required in these postures. Gazing at a spot in front increases this level of concentration.
Physical: The long femoral muscle on the front of the thigh is given a good stretch. Caution- ease into the stretch gently without over stretching this large muscle. The required standing and balance on one leg strengthens all the muscles in that leg. The shoulder and arm muscles are toned, the triceps muscle in the arm stretched with the upward angle of the arms. The rib cage and sternum are stretched out in the front of the body, increasing lung capacity, while the muscles of the back are contracted and toned. nal stretching invigorates the nervous system
Relieves compression of lumbar intervertebral discs
Relaxes the head and shoulders.
Eases the muscles around the hips.
Brings flow of blood to the brain, rejuvenating.
This yoga asana is an edited contribution for the Sivananda Gurugram partly sourced and edited from the Sivananda Publication: “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre – 2010.
Have a broad vision. Love all. Serve all. Behold the Self in all. – Swami Sivananda
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You cannot know the love of God, till you remove your sense of ‘I’-ness, and ‘mine’-ness. – Sri Swami Sivananda
PRANAYAMA – The Vedantic Kumbhaka
Being without any distraction and with a calm mind, one should practice Pranayama. Both expiration and inspiration should be stopped. The practitioner should depend solely on Brahman; that is the highest aim of life. The giving out of all external objects, is said to be Rechaka. The taking in of the spiritual knowledge of Sastras, is said to be Puraka, and the keeping to oneself of such knowledge is said to be Kumbhaka. He is an emancipated person who practices his Chitta thus. There is no doubt about it. Through Kumbhaka the mind should always be taken up and through Kumbhaka alone it should be filled up within. It is only through Kumbhaka that Kumbhaka should be firmly mastered. Within it, is ‘Parama Siva’. At first in his Brahmagranthi there is produced soon a hole or passage. Then having pierced Brahmagranthi, he pierces Vishnugranthi, then he pierces Rudragranthi, then the Yogin attains his liberation through the religious ceremonies, performed in various births, through the grace of Gurus and Devatas and through the practice of Yoga.
The divine light and grace will descend only upon the Sattvic or the pure mind, because only a pure mind can receive it. – Sri Swami Sivananda