THE RISHIKESH SERIES part 2

THE RISHIKESH SERIES RIVISITED FROM THE YOGA-RATNA POINT OF VIEW

2. part

One of the most famous sequences in the world, brought to and made known in the West by the renowned Swami Sivananda di Rishikesh.

So let’s continue with the Revised Rishikesh series.

In the first part we analysed all the inverted poses and I included Matsyasana because it also shows us the world from a different perspective.

This first part works mainly on the upper Chakras (from Anahata to Ajna), contributing significantly to establishing and maintaining an endocrinic and mental balance of both the basic and psychological/spiritual metabolisms.

The following poses work at the level of the lower Chakras (from Anahata downwards) strengthening the digestive and urogenital tracts and the reproductive system, increasing flexibility and strengthening the spine, opening the chest to improve breathing and much more.

Ugra_2_convertedUGRA-ASANA also known as PASHIMOTTANA-ASANA, and sometimes as BRAHMACARYA ASANA

Ugra – powerful, mighty, terrible, describes Shiva when he retreats into the forest to perform the strict ascetic practices in celibacy (brahmacarya). The position with posterior stretching is usually called Pashimottanasana.

Sitting with your legs extended forwards, pull the buttocks back to feel the support of the sitting bones on the ground. Inhaling lengthen upwards towards the sky, and with the exhalation lean forward, grasp the toes and gradually bring the whole torso forward onto the legs. First bring the lower abdomen in contact with the thighs, then lower the chest and finally bring the head onto or beyond the knees, with the elbows resting on the ground next to the legs. Initially you can practice the partial phase, with the arms folded under the flexed knees. It’s fundamental not to force the position by pulling, wanting to get down at all costs. Intense forward bends can cause damage to the spinal column if the body is not prepared properly or does not have enough elasticity and /or flexibility in the hips, the ileopsoas and the back leg muscles, etc.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that this position can cure all ills!
According to Gabriella Cella Al Camali it massages the urogenital system keeping it healthy; it tones the abdominal organs, kidneys, nervous system and spinal column. It facilitates diuresis; it cures headaches. It increases sexual potency and fertility: women should hold it for a long time, men for not more than five minutes.
It’s contraindicated in the case of herniated discs, during the menstrual cycle it greatly increases flow and in menopause heat increases excessively.
The Chakra activated is Manipura, the central fire chakra.

It helps to strengthen our will and determination. It has a masculine polarity.

Bhujanga_3_convertedBHUJANGA-ASANA, the cobra, symbol of the patron God of yogis, Shiva.

Lie on the floor face down, placing the palms on the ground at chest level. The forehead touches the ground. Inhaling lift the head, arching the neck and then using the arms and hands push your torso upwards. The pubis presses onto the ground and the slightly bent elbows push inwards towards the body. The face is directed upwards, or (especially with neck problems) forwards.

In the partial form of the asana the forearms rest on the floor supporting the trunk, with the arms perpendicular to the ground. The elbows are positioned just below the shoulders.
It donates and maintains flexibility in the spine, improving circulation in the back and toning the spinal nerves. It tones the reproductive organs, stimulates digestion and relieves constipation. It also tones the liver, massages the kidneys and adrenal glands favoring the production of cortisone. It regulates the menstrual cycle.

This position is contraindicated in the case of umbilical hernias, displaced or rotated discs in the lumbar sacral area and in pregnancy.

The water Chakra, Svadhisthana (of the pubis) is activated.

It helps us to overcome stuck patterns, facilitates letting go in emotional states and helps us to experience our sexuality at a deeper level. It has a neutral polarity.

Shalabha_2_convertedSHALABHA-ASANA, the grasshopper, the locust who calls for water when the earth is parched

Lie in a prone position, arms next to the body with palms facing downwards. Bend your right knee keeping it on the ground, inhale and raise the left leg bringing it to rest on the sole of the right foot. Exhaling stabilize the position by drawing the right side of the body closer to the ground and correct the position of the left leg bringing it into line with the shoulder. In the complete pose both legs are raised as high as possible from the ground.

Shalabhasana stimulates the whole autonomic nervous system, especially the parasympathetic system. It strengthens the lower back and the pelvic organs. It tones the sciatic nerve giving relief in disorders such as back pain, mild sciatica and herniated discs, as long as these conditions are not severe. It tones and balances the functioning of the liver and all the other abdominal organs and relieves stomach and intestinal problems. It regulates the menstrual cycle and hormone dosage in menopause.
The water Chakra, Svadhisthana is activated.
It helps us to be less rigid and fussy. It has a feminine polarity.

 

Dhanur_1_convertedDHANUR-ASANA, dhanur is the bow, weapon of the Gods and the Ksatriya (warriors)

Lie in a prone position with the legs and feet together, arms and hands along the sides. Bend the knees, bringing the feet to the buttocks and grasp your ankles with your hands. During a deep inhalation activate the leg muscles to create distance between the feet and the body, then lift the thighs, chest and head from the floor arching the back, and directing the gaze upwards. The arms are active and extended. Only the abdomen supports the body.

It relieves congestion in the solar plexus and the whole digestive system giving great benefits and increases the efficiency of the entire digestive tract. It tones the pancreas and adrenal glands. It massages the kidneys and reduces excess fat in the abdominal region. It helps cure gastrointestinal disorders, dyspepsia, chronic constipation and liver failure. It also helps in cases of diabetes, incontinence, colitis and menstrual disorders.
It strengthens the spine, removes stiffness and improves blood circulation in general. It is contraindicated in pregnancy; with umbilical, inguinal and disc hernias; disc disease, cervical arthritis, swollen liver or spleen and very weak abdominal organs.
The water Chakra Svadhisthana is activated .
It helps eliminate toxins and impurities from the body and mind. It has a masculine polarity.

Matsyendra_4_convertedMATSYENDRA-ASANA, the position of the sage Matsyendra is one of my favorite poses! Of this pose there are many variations, varying from very simple to advanced. This is a version of moderate difficulty.

In a sitting position bend the right leg and bring the foot next to the left buttock, the left leg crosses over the right bringing the foot to the ground near the knee. With a deep inhalation the torso lengthens and rotates towards the left. The left hand rests on the ground behind the back at a distance of about a hands length, the arm is straight and active supporting the torso. The right arm pushes against the outside of the left knee towards the right and the hand tries to grasp the ankle. The shoulders are in line with the right thigh.

Matsyendra_1_convertedIn a simpler version the right leg is extended forwards, the right arm embraces the left knee pushing against the abdomen.

It increases thoracic volume improving respiration; it massages the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It tones all the muscles of the back and nourishes the spinal nerves; it elasticizes and donates flexibility to the spinal column eliminating stiffness; it tones joints and calms excessive emotivity.

It’s contraindicated in the case of severe back problems like disc disease or various types of hernias, in pregnancy it should only be practiced with an open twist.

The activated Chakra is Manipura as well as the smaller Vira-Chakra Surya on the right and Candra on the left that respectively govern the liver and the spleen. It helps to overcome excessive emotivity and to be less volatile. It has a masculine polarity.
After the execution of the series take the time for a deep relaxation, lie down on the floor in Savasana, gradually relax the whole body from head to toe by dissolving, with each exhalation, all the tensions that may have been accumulated in your body during practice.

For further details on yoga-ratna I recommend Gabriella Cella Al Chamali’s book:

Yoga-Ratna, il gioiello dello yoga (the jewel of yoga)

 

Did you like this article? Share it and/or leave a comment

 

With thanks

Sabine

 

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The ‘Yoga is Magic Newsletter’ highlights the best in poses, sequences and advice. Learn about special programs, retreats, vacations and events. After signing up to the newsletter, you will receive my 'Yoga Ratna' video course completely free (€ 27 value), and the diploma thesis I wrote while studying at S.I.Y.R. School (School for Teachers Training of Yoga-Ratna). For my thesis I wanted to elaborate yoga sequences which could help reactivate the femininity inside us. By reading my thesis you will learn four yoga sequences - I created one sequence for each element: earth, water, fire and air. I called my thesis "The Feminine Dance", because I perceive life as a dance, sometimes frenetic, sometimes slow, sometimes serene and so on. I hope you enjoy the magical world of Yoga Ratna!

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