Pose of the Week: Bhujangasana 1

Saturday, 26 October 2019 10:40
This week’s pose is Bhujangasana 1. Bhujang means a serpent and Asana means posture or pose.
BKS Iyengar in Bhujangasana 1 in Light on Yoga (1966)
Following on from last week, we are looking at the effect of chanting. Today we are studying the ĀUM (or Om). This requires a deep, conscious incoming breath to create clarity and length of the sound produced on the exhale. This calls for the chest to be fully expanded, as it is here in Bhujangasana 1. The practice of backbends, such as this, brings an awareness to the spine and as BKS Iyengar describes:  the “spinal region is toned and the chest fully expanded.” (Light on Yoga)
At the beginning of each yoga class you sit. The Bhagavad Gita describes how this should be done:  Saman kaya-siro-grivam, dharayann acalam sthirah meaning that one should assume a straight position of the head, spine and neck. This requires technicalities demanding a muscular and skeletal awareness of the body. This is understood through the practice of asanas, such as, Bhujangasana 1. The breath has to be even and steady and then stillness, and then calmness, can come. Prashant Iyengar says “the prana (the breath) has to permeate the spine ie. the spine has to be pranicised. The breathing has to be such that it starts pranicising the spine and the spine has to govern the entire body.” 
At first, it takes time to learn how to sit; to lift the spine, be comfortable in the legs and hips, and to be quiet. That’s why asana is so important. The ego must also be made to recede. And as Prashant says “the ego is drained out with a shower of exhalation… so that the brain, the senses, the body are subsumed by the prana.” The orientation of the mind is crucial before starting one’s practice or sadhana. There is a process of letting go. A surrender. Relinquishing all those things that are outside your control so can sit with what is, the present moment, with the body and the breath. This brings a neutrality of the mind and with that, tranquility. Then there is space to prepare yourself for the practice.

Then the chant of the Om can begin. It further evokes the tranquil space. Rinsing the mind with the exhale and breathing in new life and energy (prana) with the inhale. It is made up of the sounds Ā, U, M. Prashant says “Ā, when recited flushes the abdominal cavity, U flushes the region of the heart, while M flushes the brain”. ĀUM is regarded as the seed of all words and all sound originates from the sacred sound.
Geeta Iyengar says:  “Āum is the first primordial sound, an adi nada, a melodious, sonorous and sublime sound. The three syllables Ā, U, M represent the entire range of sound and creation. They represent the waking dream and sleep states of consciousness. The crescent symbolises the transcendental state. Āum is pranava which means exalt­ed, unsurpassable praise of the supreme principle, the divinity. According to Patanjali it symbolises Isvara, the divinity tasya vacakah pranavah. Being the source of all energies Āum is uttered as an auspi­cious beginning. No sacred activity will be complete, profound and per­fect without effecting the supreme grace and Āum is the greatest invo­cation to seek that grace.”
The symbol of ĀUM
See you on the mat :)
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Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
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