So far we’ve heard stories of 4 of Vishnu’s avatars – Matsya the Fish( 1), Kūrma the Tortoise (2), Rāma (7), and Kṛṣṇa (8). This week’s story is about Vishnu’s 4th avatar Narasiṃha, a part man part lion, with mention of his 3rd avatar Varāha, the Boar.
The story of Narasiṃha is also the reason for the Indian celebration of Holi – a celebration of good triumphing over evil.
The āsana associated with this story is siṃhāsana – lion’s seat.
Hey everyone! I’m currently in Maui on vacation, but filmed a special Myths of the Asanas video on location! The intro was filmed at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park, and the story was filmed on the top of the Waihe’e Trail. For right now you’ll have to watch the video via the Jivamukti NYC IGTV channel (link below), until I’m back on the mainland…
The asana (or mudra) associated with this story is Viparita Karani (because it looks like a waterfall, but also see below…) Viparita Karani translates to “reversed attitude”. In the story you will hear how the urge to obtain more and more land and take over the Earth causes King Sagara’s sons to be burnt to ashes. Unless the human race reversed their attitude, we will also all be burnt to a crisp! Global warming is a real threat, but we can do something about it!
If you need a scary story to tell the kids on Halloween, here you go! Bhairava is the scariest form of Shiva! And if it isn’t scary enough to put your leg behind your head in a yoga class, that leg represents the nail of Bhairava chopping off the head of the ego.
First…I know it’s Tuesday! I was traveling from Chicago (where this video was filmed! Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”) and couldn’t get to posting until today. Forgive me!
Ākarṇa Dhanurāsana translates as “to the ear bow seat,” and looks like an archer stringing a bow and arrow. The perfect asana to tie to the story of Ram & Shiva’s Bow!
When Vishvamitra first introduced Ram to Sita, they locked eyes over a sacrificial fire and there was an immediate spark! Not just from the crackling fire! But there was still some courting to do…
Over the course of time, Vishvamitra became more and more excited about his match-making skills, and how perfect Sita and Ram were for each other.
Sita was proving to be extremely knowledgeable about the Vedas, as well as a really good cook, which doesn’t hurt 😉 She also has super strength and was able to pick up the bow of shiva – which was so heavy that 12 men together couldn’t pick it up!
Ram was also extremely knowledgeable about the vedas and was proving to be king worthy. He was smart, extremely proficient with a bow and arrow, and understood social constructs.
But Sita, as the daughter of King Janaka, was only allowed to marry the man who could string Shiva’s bow. When it was Ram’s turn she was extremely anxious as he already had her heart.
As Ram began to string the bow, he caught Sita’s eye and lost his concentration. All of a sudden the bow broke in two with a loud thunderous crack! Everyone heard it – the devas in the sky and the nagas under the earth! There was complete stillness in the room as everyone watching was waiting to hear from Janaka. This was completely unexpected, as no one else, aside from Sita, could even pick it up! But Ram broke it! What was to happen??!!
Finally, Janaka announced that from then on Ram would be the beloved of Sita, and thus began the start of their relationship.
Shiva in the form of Nataraja is the Lord of Dance. His Tandava dance is said to represent the universe being created, maintained, and dissolved, and for those watching it a veil of ignorance and arrogance is lifted. So find your Atman and get your dance on!
Arjuna was the greatest archer in the world, but not always! It took a lot of hard work, persistence, deep listening, reflection. Overall he was a really great student! (And a little bit annoying – he was always underfoot! But if he weren’t then he wouldn’t have been able to save Drona!)
Dhanurasana (Bow pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward facing bow – sometimes incorrectly called full wheel) are meant to be the shape of an archer’s bow.
I went to to turtle pond in Central Park just to film Kūrma with Kūrma!!!
Vishnu, the sustainer of the earth, appears in various forms to save the planet when necessary. There are 10 avatars of Vishnu, whose appearances seem to coincide with evolution. Kurma, the tortoise, was the 2nd avatar.
Matsya (The Fish)
Kurma (The Tortoise)
Varaha (The Boar)
Narasimha (The Lion Man)
Vamana (The Dwarf)
Parashurama (A Warrior/Saint, bound by codes of honor)
I learned recently while doing research for #mythmonday that in the etymology for Ṭiṭṭibhāsana, Ṭiṭṭibha actually means “small insect” and has nothing to do with a firefly other than that it happens to be a small insect, and is the one the yoga world chose (I’m guessing because they are pretty.) In fact this asana could very well be called “gnat pose!”
An alternative etymology is from the story of a pair of Tittibha birds that nested by the sea; the ocean swept away their eggs, and the birds complained to Vishnu, asking for the eggs to be returned. The god gave the order, and the sea gave the eggs back.
According to the Ashtanga Yoga website: “The story is often used as a symbol of yoga. The sea with its might and power represents the power of illusion, ignorance and prejudice or the general Chitta (चित्त, Citta), i.e. all aspects of human existence subject to change. The small Tittibha (टिट्टिभ, Ṭiṭṭibha)-bird stands for the effort of the yogi, an effort which seems ineffectual when compared with the challenge. But just as the little Tittibha (टिट्टिभ, Ṭiṭṭibha)-bird succeeds in spite of seeming superiority, the yogi can calm Chitta (चित्त, Citta) through practice and shatter illusion.”