Posts Tagged ‘Bhishma’

New Bhishma

September 11, 2019

Bhishma and the Bed of Arrows

Several years ago, I taught Bhishmasana as part of a restorative workshop at the Maha Padma Temple, Union Square, New York. Bishma surrendered to his fate, which was already ordained by Krishna. Stretched out on our yogis’ “bed of nails” and suspended in time, we surrendered to the moment, completely supported and utterly at peace.

Many stories are told in the Mahabharata of Bhishma. He was the son of a great king; he was also a yogi, a learned man and a great warrior. This particular story tells how Bhishma, unparalleled in the noble the art of archery was himself shot through by arrows as he fought in battle. As he fell, his whole body was held above ground by the shafts of these arrows, which protruded from his back and through his arms and legs. Bhishma was suspended this way for 40 days.
B.K.S. Iyengar tells us that Bhishma was kept alive for so long most likely because of the strategic positioning — similar to acupuncture points; behind the heart and at the coccyx — of the arrows.

Bishma meditated as he transitioned in a timely and dignified manner from the manifest world to the un-manifest, eternal world. Seeing Bhishma laid out on such a bed of arrows humbled even the gods who watched from the heavens in reverence, silently blessing the mighty warrior.

This settup from Pune is part of a set of poses given to students with heart problems.

Stephanie Quick was a mine of information on this subject.

“Guruji would refer to the poses in terms of them being psycho-somatic or somato-psychic. For the heart condition there is a 2 way flow; there is a downward flow from head to feet, and an up-liftment specifically to the heart, the heart is uplifted – but the head is kept at that savasana level”. Stephanie Quirk.

This is from a book called “BKS Iyengar. Yoga Wisdom And Practice”. Published by Dorling Kindersley. Sarapanjarasana. Bed of Arrows Pose. “When Bhishmasana was totally injured in Kuruksetra, he kept himasel alive with sheer willpower. He lay on a bed of arrows, known as Sarapanjara. But was it not a strain for him to lie on a bed or arrows? He preferred to lie in the same posistion. Why? Because he was supported by arrows at the cardiac nerve. The ventricle of the heart was supported and that brought him a restfull state. In the Institute (RIMYI), those who suffer from cardiac peoblems are asked to do this asana.

I asked Stephanie Quirk to clarify the two names: Sarapanjarasana and Bhishmasana. This is what she said:

“Sarapanjarasana is the original name. I once asked Prashant its meaning and he said pose of death”.

“It is called Sarapanjarasana in the 25th jubilee commemorative volume “Yogadhara” in an article by Mr Subramanium, about Gurujis treatment of his heart condition. Bishmacharyasana was termed by Guruji. I think Guruji linked the legend of Bishma to this pose because Bishma lay down on the bed of arrows to die – His name also means one who undertakes a terrible vow (bheeshma pratigya) and fulfills it. Bhishma has a boon from his father, Shantanu – to choose the time of his death. So he was shot full of arrows but waited to choose when to die – suitable for the heart patient – that the pose may bestow the chance to choose: “not now”.”

“Ive only ever seen the heart version in Pune, some with only little elevation esp in the early days but now more like a supported Salamba Purvottanasna”.

“When I first arrived in Pune, the pose was done with 3 bricks belted together under the buttocks and an inverted “T” shape arrangement of 2 bricks under the heart, and 2 bolster height under the head – the pose is a Savasana (even the heart versions) and placed at the end of the practice. The version with the head back below the heart make it “morph” more towards a viparita dandasana or pariankasana, and not a variant of Savasana”. Stephanie Quirk.

“I often see online students enjoying having the whole body elevated off the ground with bricks under all limbs. This is closley associated to savasana, and because of the precariousness of the position one stays aware/alert and vigilant (like Bhishma had to remain until death). I have never actually seen this in Pune – maybe you had earlier to my arrival – but my thought on this is that there were never enough bricks for so many people as there always is in Pune – I’ve only ever seen the heart version in Pune, some with only little elevation esp in the early days but now more like a Salamba Purvottanasna.
I like the reference of resting on the infinite ocean, but that is probably “Ananta-asana”, for Bhishma had an  infinite time to pass before he died, he had an unbreakable vow. Yes there is that feeling in the pose when up on all limbs – floating on the vast ocean – for the heart patient, it brought life and it also brought alertness and opened out from the centre of their consciousness – hridaya citta samvrtt”. Stephanie Quirk.

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

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Props Workshop in NYC: September 24, 2017.

October 14, 2017

Props: Awakening The Intelligence

I recently taught this workshop at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York. Props both inform us and ground us, holding the body secure and providing needed support. We explored the possibilities the props can unlock within the body in both familiar and lesser known set-ups. Here are just a few of the poses:

Adho Mukha Svanasana with rope. In this version, a small foam block was also used. Place the knot or small block where it is needed – where the intelligence needs to be bought to bear on area – and then slowly straighten the legs.  Not for beginners.

Parivritta Parsvakonasana toward the trestler.

Marichyasana III. The Simhasana (heart) bench provides help with the seated twists. I.e., provides access to the top of the sacrum so it can be lifted and moved into the body.

Marichyasana III again. Pushing against the curve of the viparita dandasa  bench to provide a fulcrum from which to lift the anterior spine.

Paryankasana with the simhasana bench.

Pariankasana with simhasana bench and platform.

Being dropped back to the viparita dandasana bench.

Parivritta Janu Sirsasana with a weight and trestler.

We were all very happy that Kevin Gardiner dropped by!

We finished with Bhishmasana.

Click to read my blog post about Bhishma.

© 2017 Bobby Clennell.

 

Kids Love Savasana

November 1, 2014

Savasana (Relaxation Pose) is not just about lying around

We will begin with a few restorative poses. These setups were all done by the kids themselves.

This is 4½-year-old came with her mother to a morning class at the Iyengar Yoga Center Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv taught by Gabi Doren. “She was amazing! I asked her to be my assistant and she took it very seriously. She demonstrated all the poses.” Here she is in Supta Baddha Konasana.

Next up, Chair Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). Make sure your hips are secure on the chair seat. Notice how this young student holds the chair legs to stop her sliding off the chair.

Donna Pointer's grand daughter. Chair Sarvangasana.

Donna Pointer’s granddaughter.

Savasana on stilts.

Bhishmasana, it’s  sort of like savasana on stilts.

Is everybody ready for Savasana? Place yourself very carefully in the center of your mat. Let your arms become limp and floppy, like perfectly cooked spaghetti.

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Here is Eleana, daughter of Michelle la Rue and Matt Dreyfus, who both teach at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Greater New York. Photo by Bobby Clennell. She set herself up with the legs elevated, and a bolster just touching her head.

Completely relax your legs.  Covering the eyes can help you become still and quiet.

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Sue Fazoli’s daughter loves going to Mom’s classes, at the yoga studio in Chile.

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This little girl at a restorative class at Natural Yoga, Bogotá, Colombia, was not quite in the center of her mat.

Close your eyes and let the head feel soft.

Restorative class, last one of the year, at 4PM! — Iyengar YogaSchool Amsterdam

This little boy interpreted, very much in his own way, how to use a mat for Savasana. The class took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

……shhhh.

Galia Yogawalla took this photo last July on her yearly visit to RIMYI of her twins Amitai & Leela, 8 months at the time.

Galia Yogawalla took this photo last July on her yearly visit to Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), Pune. Here are her twins Amitai & Leela, 8 months at the time, in the asana hall.

See if you can find Savasana in my picture book Watch Me Do Yoga.

Watch-Me-Do-Cover

© 2014 Bobby Clennell

Bhishma

August 8, 2013

Many stories are told in the Mahabharata of Bhishma, the son of a great king and also a yogi, a learned man and a great warrior. This particular story tells how Bhishma, unparalleled in the noble the art of archery was himself shot through by arrows as he fought in battle. As he fell, his whole body was held above ground by the shafts of these arrows, which protruded from his back and through his arms and legs. Bhishma was suspended this way for 40 days.

B.K.S. Iyengar tells us that Bhishma was kept alive for so long most likely because of the strategic positioning — similar to acupuncture points; behind the heart, at the coccyx — of the arrows.

Bishma meditated as he transitioned in a timely and dignified manner from the manifest world to the un-manifest, eternal world. Seeing Bhishma laid out on such a bed of arrows humbled even the gods who watched from the heavens in reverence, silently blessing the mighty warrior.

I taught Bhishmasana as part of a restorative workshop at the Maha Padma Temple, Union Square, New York. Restorative yoga teaches us to be in the asana longer and penetrate deeper. It allows us to be to become familiar with a deeper level of internal practice and it prepares us for pranayama.

Bishma surrendered to his fate, which although already ordained by Krishna, was not violent. Stretched out on our yogis’ “bed of nails” and suspended in time, we surrendered to the moment, completely supported and utterly at peace.

Practice this pose and see how it makes you feel. The student, whose feet were placed apart on separate blocks and belted to stop them flopping out, said  she felt as if she were floating. After this picture was taken I lowered the blocks under her arms which helped create more space in her chest.

It’s a wonderfully cooling pose in the hot weather!

A modified version of this pose is often given in the medical classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), Pune, India, to help those with heart problems.

Bhishmacharya

Photo by my host at Maha Padma Temple, Veronica Alicia Perretti