Yoga journey

Props: A yoga mat and a blanket. Avoiding pitfalls Yoga journey : Keep your shoulders back and do not overuse your arms. If you get up into Yoga journey the pose and find your shoulders around your ears and your chest collapsed, come down and start over. This pose is about expanding the inside of you, and supporting yourself with the muscles of your spine. Lie on your stomach with a blanket placed under you for comfort. Lift one leg up an inch and pull it back. Repeat with the other leg. This creates a good length in the lower back.

Supernatural powers had many names, the most often used being siddhi. But words like bala, aisvarya, vibhuti andprabhava are also used (Jacobsen 2012 Malinar 2012b). The fascination and dread seen in the great Epics for the ascetic wanderers of the forests became an ongoing theme in India’s narrative and folklore (White 2009). These identities occupied central roles in numerous medieval tales, romances and farces. We hear how they could turn princes into serpents; how they could appropriate the bodies of others; how they could envision past, present and future; read peoples’ minds; how Pasupata yogis revived dead bodies and took possession of them; how yogis could pierce the sun and gain immortality; make women fertile, replicate themselves at will etc.161 The power they acquired through their practice sometimes surpassed even that of the gods, so in order to re-gain their power even the gods needed to practise.

It is in these narratives made for courts and the wider population that the notion of Jogi evolves. However, he is never described as sitting in the lotus position practising meditation and breath restraint (i.e. the technical meaning of yoga), but he is described in his symbolic significance: an evil wizard, a sinister sorcerer, a power hungry magician (White 2009). This is what yoga is – according to popular narratives – for the general population of India.

Listen for instance to what Siva reveals in one of the Puranas: through the creative power of yoga, I will then become a [new] self through yoga. [This I will do in] the body of a chaste brahmin student, to the wonder of the world. Seeing a dead body left unprotected on a cremation ground I will enter [intoit] through the supernatural power of yoga for the welfare of brahmins.

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