Full name: PASCHIMOTTANASANA = INTENSE STRETCH OF THE WEST POST Paschima = West* Uttana = Intense stretch Asana = pose (pronunciation: POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)
*West… What? The back of the body is referred to as the west side, and the front of the body is the east side. Legend has it this is because, traditionally, you would practice yoga at the break of day facing the sunrise in the east (think of those Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations), hence the front of the body being the east side. If this is confusing for you, sub out west for ‘back of the body’. Paschimottanasana = intense stretch of the back of the body pose. Or just call it a seated forward fold because that is what it is!
Full name: BHUJANGASANA = COBRA POSE Bhujanga = snake or cobra* Asana = pose (pronunciation: booj-ahn-GAHS-anna)
* The direct Sanskrit translation of bhujanga is snake. However, as cobras are common in India, and the form of bhujangasana is said to look like a cobra with a flared hood, it is translated as cobra for the position in yoga.
Yoga is more than just asana, and that’s why I make an effort to read yoga books and watch yoga movies to deepen my knowledge about the rich cultures of this practice. For a while now, I’ve been curious to learn more about the philosophy and practices of Tantra yoga.
Friends, couples, random people you meet in the park — there’s nothing quite like the bonding experience of partner yoga poses. And with a second lockdown looming and people looking for things to do at home, these yoga poses for two people will give you an afternoon of fun and a good stretch. These are also great couple yoga poses for those looking for a new bonding experience. Get yer grabby-grab-grab on for yoga poses for 2!
Yoga has been for me so much more than a sport. As my practice has deepened over the last ten or so years since I started taking some online yoga course and reading books about yoga, at some point, something shifted, and I am so thankful for this. One of my favourite yoga quotes comes from Patanjali and goes: “A mind free from all disturbances is yoga”.
The technique of Kriya Yoga is an ancient practice that was revived in the East in 1861 when Mahavatar Babaji taught the technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. It was then brought to the West in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda and popularised in his 1946 book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ — which is often cited as one of the most important spiritual books of the 20th Century.
As someone who has read countless books about yoga and watched several yoga movies, I know all too well the positive effect that they can have on your practice and on your daily life.
Yoga is so much more than simply taking classes. It’s about changing our outlook on life and boosting our physical and mental wellbeing. It’s developing harmony between the mind, body and environment. And perhaps, most importantly, it’s a spiritual tradition that dates back thousands of years. So where better to learn about the fascinating history, traditions and practice of yoga than in the pages of a book?