ADVANTAGES

In the more current variations of this asana the right foot is not grasped by the left hand; instead, the hand is placed on the back as far over as possible. This is seen in our illustration. Slight variations in asanas or occasional variations in name have arisen because several teachers developed the same asanas. The variations occur only in minor points. This becomes quite evident by a comparison of our with the more common and much later work, the For the first time the text mentions kundalini, a latent force of highest potential, said to lie in three and one-half coils, like the snake in the churning of the ocean of milk, sleeping at the lowest center (muladhara chakra) at the foot of the "tree of life," the spinal column. This serpent power, kundalini, cannot be described fully, even by one who has succeeded in awakening it. When it awakens, it shoots through the body like an electric shock, and, trembling and amazed, the person realizes that a powerful event has taken place within him. This is only the beginning.The whole body trembles. A door seems to have been pushed open through which a flood of light flows from some unknown world, a light of incomparable radiance. After a long time the trembling body becomes calm, but the flash of light shooting through the spinal column to the crown of the head is unforgettable.This flash of light is not really the kundalini, however. It is merely a sign of its awakening. The kundalini itself does not shoot up, but will later rise slowly, passing through the stations (the chakras), each of which creates another new and powerful experience.Whether the kundalini can really be awakened through this particular asana alone is questionable. But the asana will surely be helpful in the process. And the "moon"?As mentioned above, the "mountain in the center of the world" has the earth at its foot and the sky at its peak. Between earth and sky are the sun (the center of the planetary system) and the moon.In the center of the triangle formed by the navel and the two nipples is the "sun" [solar plexus]; at the upper end of the spinal column, at the medulla oblongata, sits the "moon." "Sun" and "moon" are not chakras but arespheres that stand directly under the influence of two chakras, lying respectively just above and below.Through this asana the "moon" sphere is "massaged," which is all the more important as it is presumably here that we find the source of the fluid of life (kapha). But also the opposite pole, the "sun," is affected by this process of twisting the spinal column. And since it is here that the "fire of life" (pitta) originates, there arises from the combined work of these two well-springs a powerful stimulating influence upon the physiology of the body. [pashimottanasana].

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