Month: February 2010

Asana List

Notes: For reasons that are my own, I am using my own simplified diacritic convention in the transliteration of the sanskrit of the āsana-s. (1) To respect the rule of enunciating every ‘-ha’ syllable in sanskrit, because failing to pronounce a syllable can dramatically change the meaning of the sanskrit. (2) To keep the transliteration simple and easier for English readers.
ś: sh (palatal)
ṣ: sh (retroflex)
č: ch

The following list represents a consolidation of sanskrit names of the postures, derived from various traditions and Hindu lineages. I shall endeavour to update the list as I discover errors or omissions.

  • Sukhasana (Easy or tailor posture)
  • Parivrtta sukhasana (Seated Twist posture)
  • Siddhasana or Muktasana (Perfect or accomplished posture, or liberated posture)
  • Brahmasana (Half lotus posture)
  • Padmasana or kamalasana (Lotus posture)
  • Vajrasana (Adamantine, diamond or thunderbolt posture)
  • Urdhva mukha vajrasana (Upward facing adamantine, diamond or thunderbolt posture)
  • Virasana (Hero posture, dedicated to Hanuman; vira = vitality = knees)
  • Ardha virasana (Half Hero posture)
  • Laghu vajrasana or Paryankasana (Little thunderbolt, extended camel posture)
  • Supta virasana (Reclining hero posture)
  • Supta vajrasana (Reclining adamantine posture)
  • Svastikasana (Swastika posture)
  • Simhasana (Lion posture, dedicated to the narasimha avatar of Vishnu)
  • Gomukhasana (Cow face or face of light posture)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow or archer posture)
  • Padanguṣtha dhanurasana (Bow or archer posture variation)
  • Ekapada dhanurasana (One-legged bow posture)
  • Akarna dhanurasana (Shooting bow or bow to ear posture)
  • Śavasana or Mritasana (Corpse or Dead posture)
  • Adhavasana (Relaxed posture, head on folded arms, a variation of Śavasana)
  • Guptasana (Concealed posture)
  • Matsya Kridasana (Flapping Fish posture)
  • Matsyasana (Fish posture, dedicated to the first avatar of Vishnu)
  • Uttana Padasana (Extended Fish posture, raised feet)
  • Ardha matsyendrasana (Matsyendra Twist posture)
  • Baddha ardha matsyendrasana (Bound Matsyendra Twist posture)
  • Paripurna matsyendrasana (Matsyendra Twist posture, half lotus variation)
  • Gorakṣasana (Gorakṣa posture)
  • Paścima uttanasana or Ugrasana (Posterior-stretch or seated forward fold posture)
  • Ardha utkatasana or Sankatasana (Chair, intense or difficult posture)
  • Parivrtta utkatasana (Chair twist posture)
  • Mayurasana (Peacock posture)
  • Pungu Mayurasana (Wounded peacock posture)
  • Hansasana (Swan or easy peacock or vahana of Brahma posture, a variation of mayurasana)
  • Pinča mayurasana (Forearm balance or feathered peacock posture)
  • Makarasana (mythological sea beast posture, a.k.a. dolphin posture)
  • Adhvadanta śirṣasana (adhvan=way/road/orbit) or Ardha pinča mayurasana (Half peacock feather posture, a.k.a. dolphin posture)
  • Karandavasana (Duck posture; forearm balance in lotus posture)
  • Kukkutasana (Cock or rooster posture)
  • Pungu kukkutasana (Wounded or side rooster posture)
  • Kurmasana (Tortoise posture, dedicated to the second avatar of Vishnu)
  • Uttana kurmasana (Stretched tortoise posture)
  • Uttana mandukasana (Kneeling Erect Frog posture)
  • Mandukasana (Kneeling Frog posture)
  • Vrkṣasana or Bhagiratasana (Tree posture)
  • Garudasana (Posture dedicated to the vahana of Vishnu; a.k.a. Twisted Root posture)
  • Upaviṣtha garudasana (Seated Eagle posture)
  • Varṣabhasana (Ox posture)
  • Śalabhasana (Locust posture)
  • Nakrasana (Crocodile posture, a variation of Śalabhasana)
  • Danda samarpanam (Prostrate before Sun posture)
  • Uṣtrasana (Camel posture)
  • Bhujangasana or Nagasana or Nirlamba sarpasana (Cobra or unsupported Serpent posture)
  • Tiryaka bhujangasana (Twisting cobra posture)
  • Śaśank bhujangasana (Striking cobra posture)
  • Ardha bhujangasana (Sphinx posture)
  • Rajakapotasana or Raja bhujangasana (Royal Pigeon or King Cobra posture)
  • Yogasana (Yoga posture)
  • Purna čakrasana or Urdhva dhanurasana (Complete wheel or upward bow posture)
  • Viparita čakrasana (Backward handspring into wheel)
  • Čakra bandhasana (Bound wheel posture)
  • Tirieng Mukha Uttanasana (Drop back to Urdhva dhanurasana and walk hands to ankles)
  • Supta pavana muktasana or apanasana (Lying wind liberating posture)
  • Pavana muktasana (Wind liberating posture)
  • Uttanapadasana (Foot stretch posture)
  • Baddha padmasana (Bound lotus posture)
  • Ardha naukasana or Ardha navasana (Half Boat posture)
  • Paripurna naukasana or Paripurna navasana (Full Boat posture)
  • Supta konasana (Reclining wide open angle or widespread plough posture)
  • Upaviṣtha konasana (Seated wide open angle forward fold posture)
  • Baddha konasana or Purna titali asana a.k.a. Bhadrasana (Cobbler or full butterfly posture, a.k.a. blessed or gracious posture)
  • Ardha titali asana (Half butterfly posture)
  • Vikasitha kamalasana (Blossoming lotus posture)
  • Parivrtta vikasitha kamalasana (Revolved blossoming lotus posture)
  • Utthita vikasitha kamalasana (Extended blossoming lotus posture)
  • Mulabandhasana (Root lock posture)
  • Supta baddha konasana or Śakti asana (Reclining Bound Angle posture, dedicated to the goddess Śakti)
  • Utkata konasana or Kalikasana or Kali asana (Kali posture, dedicated to the goddess of time and change, a variation of Simhasana; a.k.a. wide-angled horse stance in Chinese martial arts)
  • Vijaya asana (Victory squat posture)
  • Bhunamanasana (Bowing-down posture)
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand posture)
  • Parśvaika pada sarvangasana (One leg to side Shoulderstand posture)
  • Vistara pada sarvangasana (Spread out feet shoulderstand posture)
  • Anuvittasana (Standing backbend)
  • Urdhva mukhasana (Upward facing posture)
  • Urdhva baddhanguliyasana (Upward bound fingers posture)
  • Urdhva baddha hastasana (Upward bound hands posture)
  • Paścima baddha hastasana (Back bound hands posture)
  • Urdhva hasta uttanasana or Urdhva hastasana (Upstretched arms or raised hands posture)
  • Urdhvasana (Standing backbend posture, a variation of Urdhva hasta uttanasana)
  • Ardha urdhvasana (Standing half backbend posture)
  • Parvatasana or Viyogasana (Seated mountain posture)
  • Ubhaya padanguṣthasana (Both big toe hold or V posture)
  • Utthita hasta padanguṣthasana (Extended big toe hold posture)
  • Padanguṣthasana (Foward fold big toe hold posture)
  • Supta padanguṣthasana (Lying big toe hold posture)
  • Svarga dvijasana (Twice born posture a.k.a. Bird of paradise posture)
  • Garbhasana (Foetus posture)
  • Garbha pindasana (Womb Embryo or Foetus posture)
  • Brahmačaryasana (Celibacy posture)
  • Utthita padmasana or Tolasana or Tulitasana (Uplifted lotus posture)
  • Mrigasana (Deer posture, a variation of balasana with reverse namaste)
  • Yogadandasana (Yoga staff posture)
  • Urdhva sarvangasana (Shoulderstand posture)
  • Vikatasana (Formidable posture)
  • Aśvatthasana (Sacred Fig posture)
  • Kanda pidasana or Kandasana (Knot posture)
  • Bakasana or Baka dhyanasana (Crane or Meditative crane posture)
  • Parśva bakasana (Side crane posture)
  • Janu śirṣasana (Head to knee posture)
  • Dandayamana janu śirṣasana (Standing head to knee posture)
  • Pavritta janu śirṣasana (Revolved head to knee posture)
  • Nadiśodhanasana (Nadi purificatory posture)
  • Ekapada bhujasana (Unilateral foot hand posture)
  • Dwipada bhujasana (Bilateral foot hand posture)
  • Śirṣa janu sparśasana (Knee touching posture)
  • Supta vrisčikasana (Sleeping scorpion posture)
  • Utthita parśvakonasana (Extended side angle posture)
  • Baddha utthita parśvakonasana (Bound extended side angle posture)
  • Utthita trikonasana (Extended triangle posture)
  • Parivrtta trikonasana (Revolved triangle posture)
  • Śirṣa anguṣtha yogasana (head to big toe posture)
  • Samasthiti (Equal standing posture)
  • Tadasana (Palmyra Palm Tree posture)
  • Tiryaka tadasana (Swaying palm tree posture, lateral stretch)
  • Samatvamasana (Toe balance posture)
  • Khanjanasana (Wagtail posture)
  • Ekahasta bhujasana (Unilateral hand-arm posture)
  • Aṣtavakrasana (Sage Aṣtavakra posture; from ekahasta bhujasana arm balance)
  • Janu bhumi sthirasana (Knee support posture)
  • Pada hastasana (Foot-hand posture)
  • Bhagasana (Vulval posture)
  • Tolagulasana (Finger balance posture)
  • Purva uttanasana (Anterior stretch or reverse plank posture)
  • Čatuṣpadapitham (Four-footed, crab or table top posture)
  • Dwipada viparita dandasana or Grivasana (Inverted two-legged staff posture, supine backbend, on head, a.k.a. neck posture)
  • Ekapada viparita dandasana (One-legged variation of Viparita dandasana)
  • Śirṣa pada bhumi sparśasana (A variation of Viparita dandasana)
  • Śirṣasana or Viparita karani mudra (Headstand posture)
  • Baddha hasta śirṣasana (Bound hands headstand posture)
  • Pretasana (Ghost posture)
  • Dandasana or Prarambhik sthiti (Staff posture or base position)
  • Parivrtta dandasana (Twisting seated staff posture)
  • Utpluti dandasana (Floating/flood staff posture, a.k.a. Brahmačaryasana or Celibate posture)
  • Urdva dandasana (Upward staff posture, a.k.a. pike press)
  • Čaturanga dandasana (Four limbed staff posture)
  • Halasana (Plough posture)
  • Karnapidasana (Pressure on ears or spider posture; a variation of plough posture)
  • Supta urdhva pada vajrasana (Lying Upward Foot Thunderbolt or Adamantine posture)
  • Parśva bhuja dandasana (Dragonfly posture)
  • Lolasana (Pendulum or pendant posture)
  • Tulasana or Jhulasana (Uplifted lotus posture)
  • Supta padanguṣtha nasa sparśasana (Lying toe & nose posture)
  • Padanguṣtha nasa sparśasana (Toe-nose posture)
  • Čatuskonasana (Four-cornered posture)
  • Kokilasana (Cuckoo posture)
  • Vrisčikasana (Scorpion posture)
  • Bhuja vrisčikasana or Taraksvasana (Scorpion handstand posture)
  • Takiyasana (Pillow posture)
  • Mayura padmasana (Peacock & lotus posture)
  • Paksyasana vayuyanasana or Durvasasana (Baby Kriṣna or Irascible Sage Durvasa posture)
  • Viśvamitrasana (A variation of Vasiṣtasana, dedicated to Brahmarshi Viśvamitra)
  • Kala bhairavasana (Black Bhairava posture, dedicated to the Lord of the March of Time incarnation of Śiva, a variation of viśvamitrasana)
  • Ekapada śirṣasana or Kaśyabasana (Foot behind the head or Kaśyaba posture)
  • Virančyasana or Omkarasana or Pranavasana (Virančya foot behind the head posture; Om posture; seated)
  • Kapilasana (Kapila pose, a variation of Kaśyabasana)
  • Vatayanasana or Utthita svastikasana (Posture dedicated to the swift flying horse) (Vatayana: moving in the wind; or fleet as wind)
  • Ardha čandrasana (Half moon posture)
  • Parivrtta ardha čandrasana (Revolved half moon posture)
  • Aśva sančalanasana or banarasana (High lunge equestrian posture)
  • vini mudra (Seal of the horse rider)
  • Maha mudra (Royal seal)
  • Sanmukhi mudra (Six-faced seal)
  • Manduki mudra (Frog seal)
  • Yoga mudra (Seated yoga seal)
  • Dandayamana yoga mudra (Standing yoga seal, hands interlocked behind back)
  • Pada sančalanasana (Supine cycling posture)
  • Čakrapadasana (Leg rotation)
  • Janu naman (Knee bending)
  • Janu čakra (Knee crank)
  • Janufalak akarṣan (Kneecap contraction)
  • Padanguli naman (Toe bending)
  • Skandha čakra (Shoulder rotation)
  • Goolf čakra (Ankle rotation)
  • Goolf naman (Ankle bending)
  • Goolf ghoornan (Ankle crank)
  • Muṣtika bandhana (Hand clenching)
  • Manibandha naman (Wrist bending)
  • Manibandha čakra (Wrist rotation)
  • Kehuni naman (Elbow bending)
  • Kehuni čakra (Elbow rotation)
  • Śroni čakra (Hip rotation)
  • Greeva sančalanasana (Neck movement)
  • Nauka sančalanasana (Rowing the boat posture)
  • Čakki čalana (Churning the mill)
  • Tribandhasana (Triple lock posture)
  • Natavarasana (Lord Kriṣna posture, dedicated to the eighth avatar of Vishnu, a.k.a. balancing flute player posture)
  • Natarajasana or Dandayamana dhanurasana (Standing bow posture, dedicated to the Lord of the Dance incarnation of Śiva)
  • Ganeśa natarajasana (Lord Ganeśa in Lord of the Dances posture, a.k.a. Dance of Śiva)
  • Parivrtta natarajasana (Śiva Twist posture)
  • Vasiṣthasana or Vasitha tapasya (Side plank posture, dedicated to the Most Excellent sage)
  • Adho mukha dandasana (Plank posture)
  • Čamatkarasana (Wild thing posture, “consciousness without obstacles”)
  • Anjaneyasana (Son of Anjana posture, a.k.a. monkey posture; low lunge holding back ankle in the full pose, a.k.a. ekapada rajakapotasana II)
  • Hanumanasana (Monkey posture, splits)
  • Kailaśasana (Posture of the Lord Kailaśa, a splits variation, a.k.a. ekapada rajakapotasana IV)
  • Samakonasana (Centre splits posture)
  • Paśasana (Noose posture)
  • Kraunčasana (Heron posture)
  • Čakorasana (Partridge posture)
  • Skandasana or Ručikasana (Kartikeya, the god of war posture, or Sage Ručika
    posture; forward fold with foot behind the head, from Čakorasana)
  • Bhekasana (Frog posture)
  • Ardha bhekasana (Half frog posture)
  • Supta bhekasana (Sleeping or inverted frog posture)
  • Ekapada rajakapotasana (One-legged king pigeon posture; mermaid posture)
  • Adho mukha ekapada rajakapotasana (Easy or Sleeping pigeon posture)
  • Kapotasana (A variation of Laghu vajrasana)
  • Ekapada kapotasana (A variation of Laghu vajrasana, with one leg raised upwards)
  • Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja Twist posture)
  • Maričyasana (Sage Twist posture)
  • Utthita maričyasana (Standing or Extended Sage Twist posture)
  • Yoga nidrasana (Yogic sleeping posture)
  • Dwihasta bhujasana or bhujapidasana (Bilateral hand-arm or shoulder-pressing balance)
  • Pada skandha dandasana (Foot shoulder staff balance; a variation of bhujapidasana)
  • Tittibhasana (Firefly posture; from dwihasta bhujasana)
  • Parighasana (Gate posture)
  • Parivrtta parighasana (Revolving beam or Kripalu stargazer posture)
  • Supta trivikramasana (Three stride posture)
  • Adho mukha śvanasana (Downward facing dog posture, a.k.a. Meru Asana or Sumeru Asana)
  • Ekapada adho mukha śvanasana (One-legged downward facing dog posture)
  • Urdhva mukha śvanasana (Upward facing dog posture, a variation of Kokilasana)
  • Virabhadrasana (Warrior posture, dedicated to the Virabhadra incarnation of Śiva)
  • Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick a.k.a. Virabhadrasana III)
  • Virabhadra mudra (Warrior seal)
  • Salamba viparita karani (Legs up the wall or waterfall posture)
  • Sučirandhrasana (Eye-of-the-needle posture)
  • Čandrasana (Salutation or crescent moon posture, a variation of Anjaneyasana)
  • Viparita virabhadrasana (Reverse warrior or exalted warrior posture, a variation of Anjaneyasana)
  • Baddha virabhadrasana (Humble warrior or devotional warrior posture)
  • Parivrtta parśvakonasana or Parivrtta anjaneyasana (Revolved extended side angle posture)
  • Namaskar parivrtta parśvakonasana (Prayer twist extended side angle posture)
  • Uttanasana or padahastasana (Standing forward fold posture)
  • Urdhva mukha uttanasana (Upward face stretch posture)
  • Parśva uttanasana or Dandayamana bibhaktapada janu śirṣasana (Sideways-facing forward bend posture)
  • Jathara parivartanasana or Supta udarakarṣanasana (Supine abdominal stretch or spinal twist posture)
  • Ayurčakrasana (Wheel of life posture, twist)
  • Udarakarṣanasana (Seated abdominal stretch posture)
  • Śaśankasana (Moon posture, or mark of hare posture, a.k.a. balasana)
  • Balasana or Mudhasana (Child posture, a.k.a. Śaśankasana)
  • Setu bandha sarvangasana or kandharasana (Bridge posture, a.k.a. dwipada pitham)
  • Ekapada setu bandha sarvangasana (One-legged bridge posture)
  • Čakravakasana (Ruddy Shelduck or Brahminy Duck posture)
  • Marjarasana or Bidalasana (Cat posture, round back)
  • Bitilasana (Cow posture, backbend)
  • Vyaghrah kriya (Tiger breath, a.k.a. Cat-Cow posture, a variation of Čakravakasana)
  • Uttana śiśu asana (Extended puppy posture, a variation of Anahatasana)
  • Anahatasana (Melting heart posture, a variation of puppy posture)
  • Agnistambhasana (Fire log or double pigeon posture)
  • Ekapada bakasana (One-legged crane posture, a.k.a. Flying Crow posture; from tripod headstand posture; counter variation: extend one leg forward/horizontally instead of upwards)
  • Ekapada galavasana (Sage Garlava posture, a variation of Flying Crow posture; from tripod headstand posture)
  • Kaundinyasana (Sage Kaundinya scissors posture)
  • Adho mukha vrkṣasana (Handstand posture)
  • Ekapada adho mukha vrkṣasana (Handstand on one hand posture)
  • Dekasana (Airplane posture)
  • Prasarita pada uttanasana or Dandayamana bibhaktapada paścima uttanasana (Standing straddle forward bend posture)
  • Mukta hasta śirṣasana (Tripod headstand posture)
  • Paścima namaskarasana (Reverse namaste posture)
  • Utthita tadasana (Five pointed star posture)
  • Ananda balasana or Dwipada yogadandasana (Happy baby or bug posture, prep for yoga nidrasana)
  • Malasana (Garland or wide angled squat posture)
  • Upaveṣasana (Wide angled squat posture with hands in prayer)
  • Utkatasana (Squat posture with knees together)
  • Prapadasana (Tiptoe posture)
  • Urdhva prasarita ekapadasana (Standing splits posture)
  • Urdhva prasarita padasana or Uttanapadasana (Upward stretched leg raise posture or leg lifts)
  • Trianga mukaikapda paścima uttanasana (One-legged forward fold posture)
  • Viparita śalabhasana (Inverted grasshopper posture)
  • Ganda bherundasana (Locust scorpion or formidable face posture; from Viparita śalabhasana)
  • Vamadevasana (Vamadeva Twist posture)
  • Merudandasana (Spine posture, a.k.a. balancing bear posture)
  • Ardha merudandasana (Half balancing bear posture)
  • Dandayamna baddha konasana (Balancing bound angle posture)
  • Dradhasana (Firm side, or side relaxation, posture)
  • Utthan priśthasana or Godhapitham or Arani asana (Lizard posture, a variation of low lunge posture)
  • Kati čakrasana or Kulala čakrasana (Standing waist rotating posture)
  • Mukta hasta kati čakrasana (Standing waist rotating posture, hands free)
  • Tiryaka kati čakrasana (Swinging waist rotation; a variation of Meru priśthasana)
  • Gatyatmak meru vakrasana (Dynamic spinal twist)
  • Kapinjalasana (Čataka bird/Jacobin Cuckoo drinking raindrop posture)
  • Ardha čandračapasana (Sugar Cane in the Half Moon posture, a variation of Kapinjalasana)
  • Surya yantrasana (Sundial or compass posture)
  • Parivrtta surya yantrasana (Revolved sundial or compass posture)
  • Śayanasana (Elbow balance posture)
  • Aśtang pranam or Aśtapadasana (Eight limbed or caterpillar posture)
  • Mandalasana or Parivrittasana (Revolving posture)
  • Nahuṣasana (King Nahuṣa posture)
  • Anantasana (Sleeping Vishnu/Shesh Nag posture or posture of the Infinite, a.k.a. Vishnu’s couch posture)
  • Jhula lurhakanasana (Rock and roll on back)
  • Rajju karṣanasana (Pulling the rope)
  • Kaṣta takṣanasana (Chopping wood)
  • Kava čalasana (Crow walking)
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Fourth day of Jivamukti yoga immersions led by David Life and Sharon Gannon

With the liberation of my being at stake, how could I not work any less harder than the previous three days? Anyway, today’s workshop seemed to have eliminated my neck and trapezius muscle pain. It may have been the final headstand that helped to channel the energy flow outwards, otherwise, if I had not completed the release, it would have created an energy blockage. I was too exhausted to manage the headstand, but Sharon Gannon assisted me.

The practice of yoga is not “normal”, according to David Life and Sharon Gannon. The “normal” cycle of life is depicted in nature by big fish eating small fish. This eternal cycle of life is what the yogis refer to as saṃskāra. We only have to turn on the T.V., to be bombarded with imagery that makes us afraid, and/or tempts us to buy things. One’s compulsion to hoard, due to greed and fear, represents an obstacle to overcome. If one desires to be free from saṃskāra, and to become jivanmukta (one who attains the state of liberation while mortal), the way of yoga is to be selfless and fearless.

Third day of Jivamukti yoga immersions led by David Life and Sharon Gannon

On the third day my body was sore as ever, but I stuck to the regime of strengthening mind and body. My Hanumanasana (splits) had improved. Joyfully upped the count of Čakrasana (full wheel) from three to four.

Second day of Jivamukti yoga immersions led by David Life and Sharon Gannon

The second day of Jivamukti yoga workshops involved the handstand pose (Adho Mukha Vrksasana). Not surprisingly, more sweating was involved in today’s class.

In the afternoon session, David Life presented an interesting discussion about sacred divine geometry as it relates to yoga asana, and why we should strive towards the Pythagorean divine proportion in the pose, in order to connect with the divine. He surmised that, as each pose is an art form that can be read as divine language and we are receivers of the benefits of yoga, then it stands that we could be transmitters of the benefits yoga.

Jivamukti is perhaps one of the most challenging styles of hatha yoga. David Life said: “The practice of yoga should be ‘hard’. If you want ‘soft yoga’, go eat an ice cream.”

First day of Jivamukti yoga immersions led by David Life and Sharon Gannon

Whew! What a day crammed with Jivamukti yoga!
I was one of the 167 attendees that sweated it out at the Petersham Town Hall event hosted by Samadhi Yoga. David Life and Sharon Gannon are fantastic yoga teachers.

One down, three more days of the workshops to go.

Sanskrit word of the day is Śūnyatā, which refers to the emptiness of all independence of beings and phenomena. All things are connected and exist because of their relativity towards one another.