Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sage Koundinaya: the pose and the man

One student told me, that the earlier pix of mine on this blog look like somebody was holding me up -- something to the effect. Or maybe I looked like I was lying flat on  the ground, and pretending to have hoisted myself up?!!! So, tried this other shot, with someone else to shoot it... Also, tried an easier way of entering pose, despite that terribly strained look my face gets (some arm balancers are like inversions and send the blood gushing to the face while u hold it, so whichever angle u take this image, u are usually  going to look like u have a heart attack when doing such poses! Unless of course u are a really great yogi..seems there are quite a few on the wide web... Unless they photoshopped the strained look away:)..

Sage Koundinaya, according to the Myth of the Asanas book,  was the sage who predicted that Siddharta will become Buddha, and was even banned from his court by Buddha's father for this  prophecy.  Later on when the young Siddharta and Koundinaya met, they are said to have underwent extreme austerities. I recall from Karen' Armstrong's very objective and gripping bio of the Buddha that in this phase Siddharta tried everything under the sun to reach moksha... starvation, eating things discarded or repugnant, extreme physical penance, but felt that he was only torturing his body while his mind was not experiencing the state of liberation. That, according the Myth of the Asanas book, is when the sage and Siddharta parted ways, and the latter became the Buddha, taking the key to liberation out of the hands of priests so that it could become an universal experience, and also decided penance was not the end-all  in this path. Later on, Koundinaya meets the Buddha and becomes one of his disciples.

So, yes, this pose is not easy. What I realise is that it has so many variations. Ideally, the pose grows from the side crow -- for instance, if you keep your legs out straight!! That can be rather tough. Then from there split the legs mid-way. Today, I found an easier way of just hoisting oneself from the split legs' position, and that creates a greater balance and height. Will clean iup the pose further!!

Most of the poses named after the sages are very very tough -- Vishwamistrasana, Vashistasana. The easier one is Bharadwajasana ... a twist. Some of my students are already doing it..:)

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