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Myths of the Asanas

by Alanna Kaivalya Shiva Rea Manorama Arjuna van der Kooij

Millions of yoga students around the world attend class regularly to reap the physical benefits of yoga, assuming the different poses and frequently calling them by their sanskrit names. While many probably know that hanumanasa is named for the Hindu deity Hanuman, fewer know why this is the case. Behind each asana and its corresponding movements is an ancient story about a god, a sage, or sacred animal, much like Aesop's fables or European folktales. Myths of the Asanas is the first book to compile and re-tell these ancient stories.The myths of yoga's spiritual tradition have the power to bring about a change of heart, helping readers and students realize their full potential. Meditating on the tolerance of trees while standing in tree pose can help one become more tolerant. Learning how the disfigured sage Astavakra came to be the teacher of a king can liberate us from our anxieties about external appearance and our self-imposed limitations. Marveling at the devotion of Hanuman to his lord Rama can serve as a source of spiritual strength and determination.Through discovering mythic tales such as these in Myths of the Asanas, readers will add a new dimension to their practice and study of yoga. As Eknath Easwaran, the founder of passage meditation, put it, "yogic myth has a genius to clothe the infinite in human form."

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