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Hatha Yoga

DHANURASANA – BOW – Advanced variations

2. Lie on abdomen and while supporting yourself with an outstretched left arm in front, catch hold of your right foot just below the big toe. The left foot remains outstretched.
3. On an inhalation, pull your right foot closer to your shoulder. Push up the chest higher and increase the back bend, while looking straight ahead. Straighten the left arm further to maintain balance on the mat.
4. When the right foot is close to the right shoulder, lift your right elbow higher to pull the foot closer. Your right arm should not be straight but the elbow bent toward the front, and your arm extending back. Bring the head back and look up. Your foot is close to the back of the head. (If you were to see yourself sideways, your head would be framed between your leg and foot behind with your arm and elbow in front.) Hold a few breaths. Then exhale and release the foot and lower the leg and forehead back to the mat. Repeat with the opposite leg and foot.
5. Relax in Child’s Pose after the bow.

Attempt when you have mastered the one-handed bow.
1. Begin as before on abdomen, bend both legs and catch hold of the feet. Place the fingers around the big toes and the tops of your feet. Breathe deeply and slowly. Keep the knees apart.
2. Bend elbows, while rotating the shoulders and pull your feet as close to shoulders as you can. Thighs are off the mat, lift the head and look straight ahead. Breathe rhythmically.
3. Continue breathing slowly and lift your elbows forward in front of your face, your feet will be pulled even higher. Extend the knees to help lift the feet higher. Bend your head back and look up. You now have an extreme back bend. Hold a few breaths and exhale, releasing feet and lowering legs and forehead to mat, or continue to gently pull the feet toward the forehead.
4. Relax in Child’s Pose after the bow.

1. From the Complete Bow variation, gently pull the feet until the soles of feet touch your forehead. The neck is extended to your maximum. Keep the knees apart.
2. Hold for a few breaths for before releasing the feet, legs and forehead back to the mat.
3. Relax in Child’s Pose after the bow.

• A powerful anterior stretch from throat to knees.
• Increased back bend with muscle tone and spinal elasticity. • Increased quadriceps stretch.
• Increased flexibility to shoulder joints and chest.

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.

There is no virtue like Truthfulness. – Swami Sivananda

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RISHI – a holy Hindu sage, saint, or inspired poet. A person of Self-realization. A visionary.

The outstanding quality that identifies Swami Sivananda from other beings is that he was a visionary. A visionary is known as a rishi. In the course of spiritual development and growth, people go through different stages of becoming stable in the higher consciousness. Stability of higher consciousness is perceived as the manifestation of a character. This character identifies a person, whether one is a sadhu, a mahatma, a saint, a sannyasin, a siddha, a bhakta yogi, a jnana yogi, a hatha yogi, or whatever. A visionary, a rishi, is the highest form of illumination, because in that stage of having established an identity with the higher consciousness, one is able to foresee the events of the future. What one foresees indicates how humanity is going to develop, what track it is going to follow. Visionaries are able to ease the process, to smooth the path for future generations. Rishis have the qualities of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, Godhood.
Human beings associate and dissociate themselves just as two pieces of wood in a flowing river. When the time ripens, everything resolves itself into One. – Sri Swami Sivananda