Asanas in Shandilya Upanishad

A successful Yogin is one who has overcome anger and is skilled in the theory and practice of yoga. Yoga is best done in a quiet and pleasant place, according to the Upanishads, such as near river banks or bodies of water, a temple, a garden full of fruit, water falls, a place of silence or where Vedic hymns are recited, visited by fellow yoga practitioners and the like, and there the Yogi should find a flat place.

Once he adjusts to his posture, he should do breathing exercises to cleanse his body and then meditate, the text states.

The Upanishads practice eightfold or Ashtanga yoga, without quoting Patanjali. The Upanishads define every Yamu and every Niyam. For example, Ahimsa (virtue of nonviolence) states that the text of Yamas is “that does not cause pain to any living being at any time, either mentally, loudly, or physically”.

Asanas in Shandilya Upanishad

Eight main asanas from Shandilya Upanishad – (clockwise up left): Mayura, Simha, Goumukha, Padma, Mukta / Siddha, Bhadra, Swastika, Vira.

Section 1.3 of the text describes eight Asanas, which include Swastikasana, Gomukhasana, Padmasana, Virasana, Simhasana, Bhadrasana, Muktasana and Mayurasana.

A yogi who has mastered all of Yama, Niyama and Asana, according to the Upanishads, should proceed to Pranayama to help cleanse the inner body. The text is significant in that it repeatedly reminds us of the importance of ethical virtues in yoga, virtues such as truthfulness, non-anger, moderation, proper eating habits, proper behavior, and others, as it passes from one stage of yoga to the next.

Recalling the ethical precepts, the Upanishad describes three types of Pranayama, namely Ujjayi, Sitkara, and Sitala.

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