Pose of the Week: Ardha Matsyendrasana

Saturday, 01 June 2019 11:48
This week’s pose is Ardha Matsyendrasana 1Ardha means half and Matsyendra according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika is one of the founders of Hatha Yoga. It's a half version as it's 'milder' (BKS Iyengar's word) version of the pose.
It’s a seated twist named after Matsyendra.
BKS Iyengar in Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Light on Yoga, 1966)
The story of Matsyendra is really cool. There are actually a few versions, but I’m going with the most obscure one….
There is poor child born and is named Matsyendra, but unfortunately he is born under an inauspicious star. So his parents throw him into the sea (easy solution?). A large fish (maybe, a very large one) swims along and swallows him.  He lives inside the fish’s belly for many years. The fish swims to the depths of the ocean and encounters upon Shiva imparting the secrets of yoga to his consort, Parvati. 
Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. Shiva is one of the supreme beings who creates, protects and transforms the universe. Parvati is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love, beauty, marriage, children and devotion: as well as of divine strength and power. She is also known by many other names (up to 100).
Upon overhearing the secrets of yoga, Matsyendra began to practice yoga sadhana inside the fish's belly. After twelve years he finally emerged as an enlightened Siddha, an ascetic. This is often given as the origin of his name 'Lord of the Fishes' or 'He Whose Lord is the Lord of the Fishes’.
Yoga Sadhana, is not just the practice of asana, as the practice of asana can be done in a mechanical, unthinking way. Sadhana accomplishes something. Yoga Sadhana ends in wisdom.  (BKS, Iyengar Light on Life, p.167)  And when you come to class you follow the teacher’s instructions, to the best of your ability. The directed intelligence comes from the teacher. When you practice by yourself at home it is your own intelligence and willpower that is the driving force. It comes from within you, and its effect can be profound.
Learn how to develop your own home practice  in a special 3 Day Workshop over the Queen's Birthday Weekend -
Learn more about your yoga in a progressive 4 week course to learn techniques to practice Pranayama (breathing exercises) and to develop an understanding of Yogic Philosophy. Starts Wednesday 5th June 8.15pm, book your place:
See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
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