Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gorakhasana, pose of the Rishi: a "bliss" pose

This the second stage of another asana, called Padma Parvatasana(Lotus in the mountain pose). In the latter, the arms are lifted up, held parallel, or in Namaste, to resemble a mountain. This pose, who those who know yoga lore, is named after the yoga great, Gorakhnath, whose stories are legendary and exciting.
I have on-off tried this pose, with the sense of, oh-it-is-never-going-to-happen-in-this-lifetime feeling. But lately, I realize that sort of negative preparedness itself is a block. All the books suggest that this is a tough pose, so obviously that aspect of the pose must be respected. If you check out instructions for this pose online, you will find that it is implied that it is easy!! I mean, they suggest that you get into the lotus and just hoist up, and hello, you are there.
But Swami Satyanandaji suggests that you use a wall in the front to break a fall,and work on it first by staying with the wall close by. Iyengar put the right spin on this, by saying that even a few seconds of balance in this pose fills one with elation. Sooo true.
What I felt:
* You do need to use a wall. Swamji says face the wall. I found having the wall behind was easier for me, somehow.
* Initially you need to tilt the torso ahead, to get the feeling of the hip, lower back muscles needed to hold the pose in place. It is actually being held by the awareness of these muscles, so that is what you must focus on cultivating.
*Leaving one hand is easy.So you should try this focus I discussed after leaving one hand.
* I stood only for a few seconds, but this pose, to be claimed, requires a minute (then, only asanajaya/victory over the pose) or more of focus.
* Points of focus: some dot/focus must be fixed by the eyes, to be able to hold this pose longer.
* More than anything, pure balance and focus.
*I found Gorkshasana version easier than the preparatory Padma parvatasana, which suggests to me that these are two separate poses(somewhat like the pinchamayurasana/peacock feather pose and scorpion /vrksasana)
Yes, it is a bliss pose, I tell you. It feels good to be able to negotiate it. I myself have been worrying myself silly about some stray cats I am trying to protect and shelter. But this pose suddenly worked on those worry lines. Next shot, I hope to be smiling and not looking so tense, and without the timid forward tilt:)
There are many but these are some unusual ones credited to this pose
  • Removes nervous tension (I agree, I agree)
  • Works the coccygeal part of the spine, making it elastic..Mmmm, I have to work on it longer, to see if my vestigial tailbone has become any better!
Happy sadhana!

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