By B.K.S. Iyengar September 1999 BHARADVAJASANAThis asana is dedicated to the sage Bharadvaja whose son, Dronacharya, was the military preceptor of both the Kauravas and Pandavas. Technique 1. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched straight in front of you. 2. Flexing the knees, draw the legs back and bring both feet to the right, beside the right hip. Rest the ankle of the right foot on the arch of the left foot. 3. Rest buttocks on the floor. Cup your palms. Place the left hand’s fingertips behind the left hip and the right hand’s fingertips outside the left thigh. Pressing fingertips on the floor, lift the trunk, extending the spine upwards. Do not sit on your feet; ensure that the buttocks are firmly on the floor. 4. Exhale and turn your trunk about 45° to the left. Place your right hand on the left thigh near the knee. Using the pressure of the right hand against the left knee, exhale and turn further. Then, straightening the right arm, insert the right palm under the left knee so that the face of the palm is on the floor. 5. Exhale. Turn left arm backwards from the shoulder. Bend at the left elbow and clasp the right upper arm with the left hand. 6. Tuck your shoulder-blades in and lift the sternum. Rotate the trunk till the right side of the body is in line with the left thigh. keep the left hip and the left shoulder in the same line. Do not lean backwards. 7. Turn your neck to the right and gaze over the right shoulder. 8. Hold this position for half a minute with deep breathing. 9. Loosen the grip of your palms and return to the first position. Then repeat the pose on the other side, taking both legs to the left and rotating the trunk to the right. Stay for the same duration of time on both the sides. Special Instructions• If you experience difficulty in practicing this pose, sit on a blanket 2 inches thick. The feet should rest on the floor. • A beginner can also practice this asana using the wall as support, so that the hips can twist around more easily. • Sit with your left buttock touching the wall. • Place both feet near the right buttock and the left knee and thigh against the wall. • Put your right hand under the left thigh. Place left palm on the wall in line with the shoulders. Pressing left palm against the wall, raise the trunk and turn it to the left. • Repeat the pose on the other side, with the right buttock against the wall. Benefits• The asana works on the dorsal and lumbar regions of the spine, making the back supple. • Regular practice of this asana relieves arthritis. MARICHYASANAThis lateral twisting posture is named after the sage Marichi, grandfather of Surya, the sun god. Technique 1. Sit with legs straight before you. 2. Bend your left leg at the knee and place the left foot flat on the floor, toes pointing to the front. The shin of the left leg should be perpendicular to the floor and the calf must touch the thigh. The left heel must be placed near the perineum. The inner side of the left foot should touch the inner side of the right thigh. 3. Stretch the right leg straight out in front. Pull in the knee cap up towards the thigh. place the left palm a foot behind the left hip. Lean towards the palm so as to release the abdomen. Then, while exhaling and keeping the abdomen soft, bring right arm over the left thigh. 4. Inhaling, lift the trunk vertically. Exhale and rotate the spine further to the left. Place your right shoulder beyond the left knee. Stretch the right arm forward by turning the spine more to the left and stretching the back. Exhaling, twist right arm round the left knee, flex the right elbow and place the right wrist behind the waist. Keep no space between the armpit of the intertwining arm and the thigh of the bent leg. Inhale and hold the pose. 5. Exhale deeply and turn the left arm from the shoulder behind the back. Then, from behind, clasp the left hand with the right. Initially, you can progress from gripping fingers, then palms and finally the hands. 6. Keep the extended leg stretched well out. Look over the right shoulder. 7. Stay in this position for half a minute with normal breathing. 8. Turn the head to the front, release the hand and return to earlier position. 9. Now repeat the posture, bending the right leg and stretching the left. Stay for equal duration on both sides. Special InstructionsBeginners can practice this asana in the following manner: • Sit beside the wall so that the right leg is extended along it. • Bend the right leg at the knee and keep the shin perpendicular to the floor.• Exhale. Turn the trunk to the right, so that its left side comes closer to the right thigh. • Grip right knee with the left hand and place right palm on the floor. Exhale and turn, bringing your chest in line with the wall. • Repeat the asana by bending your left leg against the wall. Benefits • It reduces the waistline. • Regular practice can lead to a complete cure of headaches, lumbago and hip pains. • The liver and the spleen cease to be sluggish as they are toned when contracted in this asana. • Shoulder muscles also gain a lot of strength. While performing the above asanas, you have to be totally involved, physically and mentally, in every movement. Only then can you achieve perfection.
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