Friday, July 13, 2007

Yoga and animals

During my time in HCL-CODC, I saw a series of posters with this theme. Spoke about that recently with a friend. Wanted to recreate the idea from HCL-CODC here.

Many yoga poses are modeled after some organism or the other. The rate at which many animals are being killed and the nonchalance with which we are destroying their habitats might lead to scenario where we are forced to describe about these animals to our kids through these yoga poses. So, its better to be informed about some of these poses.

1.) Kurmasana (Tortoise)

2.) Kukutasana (Cock)
3.) Salabasana (Locust)
4.) Ustrasana (Camel)
5.) Mayurasana (Peacock)6.) Bhekasana (Frog)
7.) Vrischikasana (Scorpion)
8.) Kapotasana (Pigeon)
9.) Tittibhasana (Firefly)

I hope the day that this theme talks about does not come about in reality.

PS: Didnt want to embed all images as it might be too much of a load on some connections.


Karthik said...

I don't have enough theoretical/practical information about Yoga to comment on this. But I still wish to say this.

Sometime back, when you showed me these pictures from your screensaver, I was just wondering about these "imitations" of animals' postures. My first thought was to dismiss these as "infant humanity's babble". Someone was probably amused with these nonhuman creatures and was trying to amuse himself/herself by posing like them. And then, it evolved from there, probably.

While this maybe true in itself, it may not do enough justice. While I am not interested in whether we should be assigning glory to these people who invented and shaped it, I am definitely interested in the effectiveness of the techniques themselves.

In that light, I was then wondering.. each such animal has some similarities to us.. in terms of physical structure and ofcourse, the common environment that we had. Each such animal is some kind of very good solution in evolutionary terms.. ofcourse, the animal's posture in itself might be an important aspect of this solution. So maybe, the posture of the tortoise helps its organs in some sense. Given similar anatomy, maybe it does help us as well in some sense. Maybe, since Yoga has evolved from these basic poses to suit our body.

Then I was asking myself.. What use can be had from posing like these animals for a short duration. Then it struck me.. Yoga requires regular practice. My thought process pretty much stopped there for want of further information.

So any further gyaan/corrections is much appreciated.

Partha said...

I dont understand what gyaan ur referring to here... If its how yoga evolved, I have no clue. But, ur idea of imitation need not be true. There are very many poses which have no relation to animals. I dont know which poses came first and which came later (and havent found any literature on that). So, I wouldnt readily agree with that hypothesis.

If the question is regarding what use we might have by imitating animal postures, you pretty much have it correct. Imitating the posture of an animal provides us some of the characteristics of that animal. For e.g., poses that imitate the rabbit stimulates the adrenalin and helps with the flight or fight behaviour.

Of course, you need practice. A perfect body can get into those poses easily. To attain that perfection takes practice. The actual benefit comes from imitating to a reasonably correct extent which is not possible immediately for anyone. This takes practice.

Karthik said...

>But, ur idea of imitation need not >be true. There are very many poses >which have no relation to animals.

Yes Yes, my point wasnt clear. I wasn't pinning the origins of Yoga on imitations of animal poses. (happened unconsciously) My comment's range was just within the poses that imitated animals. So its essentially, a tautology! ;)

Partha said...

thought about these and related issues for sometime... will may be put up a post once I feel more at home with my thoughts on this...