Yoga handstand

The symbolic meaning of early-yoga

The Upanishad power discourse

We recall that the Upanishads were secret teachings revealing hidden connections, but only to higher status castes. These texts contemplated the new worldview of the One, karma, samsara and liberation in a Brahmin context. Here knowledge woven together with ascetic yoga technologies became central in what I call a combined ascetic-wisdom discourse. But the importance of knowledge was not new to the Upanishads. Already in the Vedas knowledge played an important role: brahman – knowledge or truth – holds the sacrifice together. The knowledge of how to perform the sacrifice was therefore critical, as it would not work if performed incorrectly. So it is evident how knowledge (Gnosticism) in the Vedas was already part of a power discourse benefitting the Brahmins.

According to W. Kaelber (1989) this ideology was extended in the Upanishads. Knowledge – brahman – was now not just holding the sacrifice together but the whole universe. Brahman was the underlying force making the universe possible. In a smart move -as we have seen – the Upanishad discourse, combined this non-duality with the new aspiration for liberation: when the adept realised that underlying the universe was the One – brahman -then through this insight there was release from desire. And release of desire was important because desire was central to karma and re-birth.

WALL QUAD Eka Pada Rajakapotasana variation Purpose: To extend the Yoga handstand hip and stretch all four of the quadriceps one leg at a time. Contraindications: Prepatellar Yoga handstand bursitis, knee effusion, hyperlordosis. Props: A chair, one or two folded blankets, and a pad. Avoiding pitfalls: Keep the pelvis squared to the direction you are facing, do not let one hip go back or forward. Line up each leg from hip to knee to ankle. Place the back of a chair against a wall, and a folded blanket on the floor beside it. If you have a pad, put it along the wall. Sit on the front left corner of your chair and manually broaden your thighs and hips, as in the Pressure Cooker.

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