Yoga exercises

Try to maintain a vertical plumb line through your whole body Yoga exercises , from ankles to knees to hips to shoulders to ears. Respect the natural curves of Yoga exercises the spine. TADASANA URDHVA HASTASANA Mountain Pose with arms reaching up Inhale and lift your arms out to the side and up to your ears. Make a sweeping movement that stretches your ribs and sides. As you move, the tops of the arms stay close in to the shoulder joints, but the hands and forearms reach out. Exhale as you lower the arms back to your sides. Repeat this several times, following the natural rhythm of your breath. TADASANA URDHVA BADDHA HASTASANA arms up, hands clasped Repeat the sweeping movement as above to raise your arms.

Power and submission – the establishment and legitimisation of social hierarchy – in this discourse is not a by-product but at the eye of the storm. Those who comply and submit – those who practise this theistic yoga – are promised divine powers, as they are released from a world, where they were powerless

Yoga in various monotheistic genres and milieus

Yoga in the texts of Puranic Hinduism

As a range of new major gods or even monotheistic gods emerged in this period, all this gave rise to the Purana genre. This genre steps into the footsteps of the MBh. Each god and his accompanying clan of kings and rulers now had their own text canon – their Purana. In this epic genre the religious community, solidifying around king and religion, collected their rituals, myths, ancestor lists, hero legends, god descriptions, and philosophy (Malinar 2009). We are talking about religious communities – sampradaya – where state (king) and religion were hard to distinguish since the king as an institution seemed to be nothing but a political-religious ritual. The Puranas became a strange mixture of political constitutions, religious doctrines, legal frameworks, regional history, god mythologies, ideological legitimisation and entertaining narratives. They were popular and known even in the lower strata of society and helped to generate social identity and cohesion.

Sociologically and evolutionarily we could say that these communities reached a level of complexity and size where old local- and clan-based institutions and worldviews had long since become redundant. Instead there was an on-going institutional and ideological adaption to larger political and hierarchical societies. It is in this context that the Puranas emerged. However the new institutions and worldviews were still not strong enough to resist local and decentralised forces and then disintegrated. This gave the opportunity for the succeeding new local warrior lord, his god and his community to expand and introduce the next monotheistic god requiring another Purana to be written in order to legitimise the new ruler. Hence the huge number of texts in this genre.

It is no surprise that the upper classes adopted this theistic yoga. The various forms of yoga as discussed in the Mbh would charge them with supernatural powers. However the yoga of the Gita would deliver even more power as it transformed the whole cosmos into a power hierarchy, where they fortunately found themselves placed at the top. Never before had yoga radiated so much social symbolic power.

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