Practitioners around the world reap the physical benefits of yoga, assuming poses and frequently calling them by their Sanskrit names. While many know that hanumanasana is named for the deity Hanuman, few understand why this is the case. Behind each asana and its corresponding movements is an ancient story about a god, sage, or sacred animal, much like Aesop’s fables or European folktales. Myths of the Asanas is the first book to collect and retell these ancient stories. The myths behind yoga’s spiritual tradition have the power to help students of all levels realize their full potential. Meditating on the tolerance of trees while standing in tree pose can help one become more tolerant. Learning how the disfigured sage Astavakra came to be the teacher of a king can liberate us from anxieties about our external appearance and our self imposed limitations. Marveling at Hanuman’s devotion to Ram can serve as a source of spiritual strength and determination. With more than sixty beautiful illustrations to frame the stories, Myths of the Asanas will add a new dimension to your practice and study of yoga.
myths of the asanas
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The popular names of many yogic asanas - from Virbhadra-asana and Hanuman-asana to Matsyendra-asana, Kurma-asana and Ananta-asana - are based on characters and personages from Indian mythology. Who were these mythological characters, what were their stories, and how are they connected to yogic postures? Devdutt Pattanaik's newest book Yoga Mythology (co-written with international yoga practitioner Matt Rulli) retells the fascinating tales from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain lore that lie behind the yogic asanas the world knows so well; in the process he draws attention to an Indic worldview based on the concepts of eternity, rebirth, liberation and empathy that has nurtured yoga for thousands of years.
The mantra and kirtan (call-and-response devotional chants) of yoga practice sometimes get short shrift in the West because they aren’t well understood. These chants are an integral part of most every Eastern spiritual practice because they are designed to provide access into the psyche while their underlying mythology helps us understand how our psychology affects daily life. Sacred Sound shares the myths behind the mantras, illuminating their meaning and putting their power and practicality within reach of every practitioner. Each mantra and kirtan includes the Sanskrit, the transliteration, and the translation. Clear retellings of the pertinent myths highlight modern-day applications so that readers discover their own personal connection to the practice. Alanna Kaivalya has refined her teaching over a decade with tens of thousands of diverse audience members. Her unique and popular approach to human connection and self-knowledge turns a time-tested tradition into a versatile and potent tool.
While many engage in asana, the physical practice, yoga's most transformative effects are found in the realms of the spiritual and psychological. Yoga Beyond the Mat shows you how to develop a personal, holistic yoga practice to achieve lasting and permanent transformation. Join Alanna Kaivalya as she guides you through a complete range of topics, including Removing Obstacles Appreciating the Present Moment Balancing the Chakras Healing Childhood Wounds Creating Your Own Rituals Transforming Your Archetypal Energy Entering the Blissful State This book shows you that yoga doesn't make your life easier; it makes you better at your life. Through ritual, meditation, journaling, asana, and other spiritual practices, Yoga Beyond the Mat provides techniques for developing a personal mythology and allowing the ego to rest, leading modern-day yogis toward what they have been missing: the realization of personal bliss. Praise: "[Alanna] guides and inspires students and teachers alike toward their own liberation, with patience, generosity, and wholehearted enthusiasm."—Linda Sparrowe, former editor-in-chief of Yoga International and author of Yoga At Home "This is the book I dreamed of when I started my yoga path...[Yoga Beyond the Mat includes] all the steps, tools, rituals, and wisdom for lasting bliss."—Dana Flynn, founder of Laughing Lotus Yoga "Alanna has pioneered a relevant, educational book; deep thinking and laced humor."—Ana T. Forrest, founder of Forrest Yoga and author of Fierce Medicine "Alanna reveals with great clarity and approachable language the nuances, shadings and shadows of this ancient ritual of wellness. I highly recommend it."— Dennis Patrick Slattery, PhD, author of Riting Myth "Alanna's rigorous scholarship interweaves with applicable and tangible to-do's that brings reality to your spirituality."—Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up® and bestselling author of The Roll Model "In today's hectic life, the revival of yoga-past when combined with soul centered engagement offers the remedy we seek...a breakthrough book."—Stephen Aizenstat, PhD, chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute "In this groundbreaking book integrating yoga, Jungian psychology, and personal mythology, Alanna Kaivalya recovers the spiritual dimension of yoga for contemporary Western practitioners."—Dr. Patrick Mahaffey, professor and associate chair of Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute and author of Evolving God-Images "Alanna writes with honesty and clarity about the quest to find self-knowledge and bliss, perfectly balancing skepticism and enthusiasm. The result is a practical guide to the history and philosophy of yoga, and a useful map to living an integrated, satisfying and richly meaningful life."—Dave Stringer, Grammy-nominated Kirtan artist "Drawing on yoga, psychology, mythology, and ritual, Alanna guides readers on a transformative journey toward self-awareness and 'personal bliss,' through an amazing array of practices. Yoga Beyond the Mat is like a library of ideas for studying your self."—Kaitlin Quistgaard, writer and former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal
Every night we enter a mythic realm, a dark, primordial world of fear and desire. What this world offers, Anthony Stevens suggests, may well be the key to understanding our waking mysteries--ourselves, our society, and our history. A prominent psychiatrist and practicing Jungian analyst, Stevens views dreaming from both psychological and neurological perspectives to show how dreams owe their origins as much to our evolutionary history as a species as to our personal history as individuals. A work rich in symbolic and scientific insight, Private Myths traverses the course of dream interpretation from distant hunter-gatherer times to the present. This analysis is as authoritative as it is wide-ranging, including discussions of the biology of dreaming and the discovery of REM sleep, elaboration of the latest neuroscientific techniques in sleep research, and an assessment of the century-long legacy of analytic practice to dream interpretation. In a close look at the actual processes of dream formation, Stevens relates "dream work" to other creative capacities such as language, poetry, storytelling, memory, play, symptom-formation, magic, and ritual. He draws on his many years of experience to analyze key historical dreams, such as Freud's dream of Irma's injection and Hitler's dream of being buried alive, and enriches this discussion with analyses of his own and his patients' dreams. Remarkable in its breadth, Private Myths makes the principles of dream interpretation accessible to scientists, the findings of dream science accessible to analysts, and the discoveries of both available to anyone intrigued by the mysteries of dreams and dreaming.