This week i have presented primary/ basic balancing poses. Today I have decided post a illustrative resume along the best legend of Yoga I know.
Yoga means now you will have to be a harmony, you will have to become One. Osho
Mount Meru is a mythical mountain that is purported to be the axis of the universe. It is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. It is also the abode of Brahma or Buddha, depending on the tradition narrating the legend, at its highest point.
Mount Meru has 7 cosmic rings around it and thirty-one planes of existence, stacked in layers, and three realms, or dhatus. According to the ancient texts, the mountain is supposed to tower at a height of more than 1,000,000 km and is gold in colour.
The sun along with all its planets in the Solar System revolve around it as one unit. Surrounding this universe is a vast expanse of water, and surrounding the water is a vast expanse of wind. Our world is thought to be a wedge-shaped island continent in a vast sea south of Mount Meru, called Jambudvipa
Meru is not just a place ‘out there’ but ‘it is here’, i.e. within us. The human spine is considered to be the internal Meru on which the body’s physical structure as well as the metaphysical structure stands.
According to legend, Vayu (the wind God) and Mount Meru were good friends but a mischievous demi-God, Narada, instigated them to fight over who was more powerful. Vayu blew with all his strength at Meru but Garuda (a half-human half-eagle demi God) who was Meru’s friend came to his rescue.
Garuda was considered the most powerful entity amongst all the Gods and Asuras and he spread his giant wings in front of Meru and protected him from Vayu’s force. Vayu blew at Meru for a whole year but with Garuda shielding him Meru remained safe.
Narada then asked Vayu to stop blowing for a while and he used this opportunity to convince Garuda that Vayu had given up. Just as Garuda let his guard down and dropped his wings Vayu blew again with full force and in the time it took Garuda to open his wings again Vayu managed to blow the top of Mount Meru off and this landed in the sea and formed the island of Sri Lanka.
The attached motif depicts the various legends associated with Garuda including protecting Mount Meru by spreading his wings. The image of Brahma or Buddha at the top denotes the peak of Mount Meru.
A Quick & Effective Practice
1. Start in Badha Konasana with the soles of both feet touching each other
2. Sit erect with shoulders back and face relaxed
3. Wrap each big toe with the index finger, middle finger and thumb
4. Holding the toe and leaning slightly backward stretch first the right leg to the side keeping it about 12-18 inches off the floor. Inhale as you stretch
5. As you exhale bring the foot back in. Repeat on other side
6. Keeping your seat strong and stable then stretch both legs out to the side
7. Keep the knees straight, balance on your sitting bones and keep the chest stretched out front
Myth & Practice
From a physical viewpoint, the practitioner should focus on first tilting his back and balancing on his sitting bones to mimic the angle of the central axis [23.4°].
The arms should then be spread wide like the enormous wings of Garuda and just as Garuda overcame the force of Vayu with sustained holding of his position for a year; the yogi has to overcome the resistance of the powerful hamstring muscles through persistent practice of the pose.
The chest needs to come out to show the strength of Garuda and finally the head needs to be tilted back a bit to imitate the blowing-off of Meru’s apex into the sea.
From a metaphysical standpoint, the 7 cosmic rings of Meru are represented along our spine by the 7 main chakras (Energy Centers) and as the adept holds the asana he should focus on each chakra starting from the Muladhara and sequentially rising to the Sahasrara.
The thousand petalled Crown Chakra at the top of our spine and Brahma’s abode at the top of Meru both signify that through good deeds and spiritual practices it is possible to move upward along the axis toward the ultimate enlightenment.
Similarly the 3 realms of Meru represent the 3 gunas present within all of us, Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattvic. An adept’s aim should be to increase the sattvic activities and inculcate a sattvic nature; letting the light of his soul shine through.
Hope you enjoyed!
See you tomorrow!!