Pose of the Week: Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Saturday, 22 June 2019 12:43
This week’s pose is Adho Mukha VrksasanaAdho means downward, Mukha means facing, Vrksa is a tree and Asana is posture or pose. So it’s downward facing tree or we know it as handstand.
BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga (1966) Demonstrating Adho Mukha Vrksasana
I think everyone knows this pose. Maybe you remember doing it when you were a kid. Maybe you love it and do it regularly in class. Or the opposite, when it’s called in class you dread it as you’re concerned you aren’t able to ‘get up’. 
Some members of Wednesday Intro Level One class learning Ardo Mukha Vrksasana 
In my own experience, I have been working at the balance in handstand. It comes and it goes. Sometimes I feel I have achieved it and it seems effortless. At other times, my mind wavers I grip and yet still fall. It requires an equal application of steadiness and relaxation. 
In Patanjali’s Sutra in the chapter on practice (Sadhana Pada - the second chapter in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali), there is a description on how an asana should be. There are only a couple of sutras that relate to asana practice. Sutra 2.49 is Sthira sukham asanam. BKS Iyengar interprets this: “Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit.” (Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, p. 157). In his commentary he says “the body has to be toned and the mind tuned so that the skin receives the action of the muscles, joints and ligaments. The skin then sends messages to the brain, mind and intelligence which judge the appropriateness of those actions.” (p.158) But the thing is, it all happens in a split second and then the balance goes. The mind needs to be sensitive and quiet. There, in the asana, is the art of relaxation and maintaining the firmness and extension of the body. 
Some members of Tuesday Level Two class practicing Adho Mukha Vrksasana 
But the mind is an illusive entity. It wavers and clings to every movement, external or internal. And the purpose of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind, as the Sutra 1.2 Yogah citta vrtti nirodhah states.  BKS Iyengar says: “ Yoga shows us ways of understanding the functionings of the mind, and helps to quiet their movements, leading towards the undisturbed state of silence which dwells in the very seat of consciousness. Yoga is thus the art and science of mental discipline through which the mind becomes cultured and matured.” (Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, p. 50)
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See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Become an Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Undertake Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training in Melbourne with Nicole at Yoga Path Newport Apply Here
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