Hatha Yoga Tip
ANJANEYASANA- THE CRESCENT MOON
A balance of weight on the back knee and front foot, with body emulating the shape of the crescent moon. You can practice this pose from early days of practice to increase your sense of balance and work on flexibility of back, hip flexors, thigh and chest expansion.
In the regular pose, begin on knees, and take one foot forward between your hands, foot flat on mat. Then extend the other leg back, with knee on the mat. You can relax the back foot. The thigh is well extended back. The front knee and ankle are vertically aligned. In this balanced position, with the back leg supporting much of the weight and toes of front foot helping the balance, look straight ahead with hands together in prayer position in front of your chest.
With further practice, on inhalation take up the arms straight overhead close to the ears and aim to lower hips a little more to the mat. Keep looking forward.
To attain the full pose, extend your body backward, taking the arms and head back and arching the back. Keep the arms aligned with the ears while extending the head back. The spine is deeply arched and the head, arms and hands complete the extension of the arch. Hold the pose 30 seconds while breathing deeply as the chest is well expanded allowing for deeper breathing. On exhalations reach back a little further each time.
Repeat the pose with the opposite leg back.
Tip: Use a folded blanket or chip foam block to protect the knee on the mat, if necessary.
Progress to a variation when ready: When you have reached your maximum bend backward, reach down and hold the leg or ankle on the mat with both hands, keep the arms straight.
- Increase sense of balance
- Increase flexibility of back, hip flexors, thighs
- Expansion of 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.
Other yoga tips at http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/asana/101tips.html
Always do good to others. Be selfless. Mentally remove everything and be free. This is divine life. This is the direct way to Moksha/Salvation. – Swami Sivananda
04 New Moon
18 Full Moon
Renunciation is the bestower of peace and immortality. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SIDDHIS – Psychic Powers
The Aspirant becomes free only when his individual will becomes merged in the Divine Will. Licentiousness and autocracy must not be mistaken for spiritual freedom. By becoming a tool (Nimitta) in the hands of God, the Bhakta destroys the egoism or the little false ‘I’, but gains all the Divine Aisvarya or the Siddhis of the Lord. He becomes perfectly free. He has become one with God now.
Siddhis that are brought into the present life, by birth, indicate their attainment in a previous life, but it does not guarantee that the individual is making proper use of them in this life. Those gained through chemical means are not necessarily associated with any level of spirituality at all and can be easily governed by the ego. Siddhis achieved by Mantra repetition or tapas, austerities are generally of a very high order as long as they are performed for attaining God-Realization rather than personal or material gain. Powers that come from ‘Samadhi’ are the purest, for they come to the aspirant without being desired. It must be remembered that siddhis are not the aim but a by-product of the path to God-Realization
A Hatha Yogi gets Siddhis (psychic powers) by uniting Prana and Apana and by taking the united Prana-Apana through the six Chakras (Centres of spiritual energy) to Sahasrara at the crown of the head. A Raja Yogi gets Siddhis by Samyama, i.e., combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one time. A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through pure will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets Siddhis through self-surrender and the consequent descent of grace. Kriyas, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Tratak and Kapalabhati belong to Hatha Yoga. All need not practise these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practise these Kriyas. Learn these under an expert Hatha Yogi. Hatha Yoga is not the goal. It is only a means to an end. Take to Raja Yoga after possessing good health.
Beware of Siddhis! If you are drawn to the psychic powers or Siddhis, you will miss the supreme goal.- Sri Swami Sivananda