Monday, May 19, 2014

Skandasana : a warrior's pose

When I visited Poompuhar, at the southern tip of India for the Telegraph magazine, I was excited by brick-like statutette's the archeologist showed me, saying it was a replica of Skanda who is possibly one of the oldest deities in India and incorporated into the rest of the pantheon as the son of Shiva. The whole beauty of Poompuhar was that it spoke of an era unknown to most Indians, of Sangam literature, before the widening ocean sunk most of that part of our sub-continent, and thus also swallowing up most of science and a culture which appears to be more evolved than what historians will have us believe. If you read Alain Danielou's translations of the south Indian epics, the same sense of wonder and opening up to a spiritual and scientific intelligence continues. And that we really know so little of what they, our ancestors, knew.

Any case, that is why this pose is rather special because it belongs to the warrior prince whose presence is more dominant in the southern part of India, with so many temples dedicated to him. I have visited most of these, with my Dad who was most knowledgeable about the Indian philosophical and cultural aspects and would point out pieces in the sculptures that spoke of some wondering event.My mom would also take us to all the films of Hindu gods -- and they were several more those days -- and I knew these stories even when I was in the third class by which time my entry into a Protestant school brought to me all the wonderful aspects of Christianity.
So, here is a pose named after the handsome god, which is actually a very powerful hip-opener and a forward bend. I am attempting this after a long while -- since I had torn the ligaments at the knee, all such leg poses had been relegated to the backburner from where I am slowly drawing them out. The pose is still incomplete, and the foot lock could be better and to confess, I have never held this pose for a minute which is the minimum I believe any forward bending pose deserves. But here it is, still an aspirational pose:) What you need for this? * Work more on hip openers. * A strong basic forward bend. Happy sadhana!

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