Pose of the Week: Akarna Dhanurasana

Monday, 02 September 2019 17:58


This week’s pose is Akarna Dhanurasana. The prefix ‘A’ means near to and Karna means ear. Dhanu means bow as we saw in Urdhva Dhanurasana a few weeks ago. Asana means posture or pose.
Many refer to this as bow and arrow pose, which isn’t really the case. You’re aiming to get your foot as close as you can to your ear. However, the Dhanu part is the bow and you definitely get the feel for the drawing back aspect as if you were using a bow and arrow, like an archer.
Based on this idea of the bow we again associate the warrior with this weapon. In Hindu mythology the The Bhagavad Gita (‘The Song of the Blessed’) is an important story. It is an episode in the sixth book of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is an epic not in the same way as we view an epic such as the literary masterpiece the Illiad, the Mahabharata is seminal to contemporary Indian thought. It is complex and rich in its range encompassing philosophy, ethics, heroic values and codes of behaviour. It describes the fortunes of two brothers, Pandu and Dhrtarastra, and the third son of Pandu, Arjuna, who is famed as a skilled archer.
The chapter, The Bhagavad Gita, details the dialogue between Prince Arjuna and his friend and mentor, Lord Krishna. This dialogue takes place on the eve of the climatic battle of Kuruksetra. Ksetra actually means field; both an open area but also a sacred or righteous field.
The story is significant as it details the spiritual journey of Arjuna, as he is forced to fight in a war against his own kinsmen. It is a moral and emotional dilemma he is facing. Krishna’s message to Arjuna is that inaction is not an option for him. Everyone needs to be perpetually involved with performing his or her karma. The main message is that you have the choice to perform a particular action but the results or fruits of that action are outside your control. This means obviously every action has a consequence but that consequence should not be your own personal gain, but for the good of all humanity. Therefore performing your own karma must be carried out in the right spirit and there is an obligation to be involved in the world. As Sartre said in a different time and context: “We do not survey the world, but rather are engaged [with it]”. 
The Bhagavad Gita details Arjuna’s spiritual struggle and emphasises a call for selfless action. Desires, selfishness and craving for can distort spiritual development and liberation.
The next round of courses commences next term - Monday 7 October. Free trial class for new, or lapsed, students on Saturday 21 September at 8am. Bookings essential - https://yogapath.punchpass.com/classes/3193775
Learn more about your yoga - become a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher
See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
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