Animal yoga connections - Part 2
Varalika is a 3rd year Vet student at the Royal Veterinary college, a yoga instructor, and a friend of Vets4u. She told us about her background and a few animal-inspired yoga poses. In part 1, we explored butterfly pose, dog pose, pigeon pose, scorpion pose and cobra post. Click here to catch up if you missed it!
Let’s allow Varalika to re-introduce herself and show us a few more animal-inspired yoga poses.
I grew up in India, where I learnt yoga in school. My mother is a yoga teacher too and she inspired me to practise it regularly. I started seeing the benefits of yoga especially during my final exams, it calmed me down mentally and was a great form of exercise. From seeing the benefits of yoga physically and emotionally, I started getting curious about the principles of yoga and where it originated from. Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word, “yuj” which means to unify. Its health benefits are endless and my love for it grew as I started instructing people too. There is so much to learn, and I am still learning and practicing. It is a journey and with patience, one can see its long-term benefits and experience a better quality of life.
In the descriptions below, you will see me refer to the term ‘asana’. This is a Sanskrit term that translates to ‘posture’. The positions we take when practising yoga are known as asanas. Sanskrit and English names are assigned to each position.
Swan pose - Hamsasana
The basic word's letters Ham and Sa stand for "breath" and "spirit," respectively. Hindu deity Saraswati travels in the form of a swan and is also known as the "mother" or "goddess of knowledge." Because of this, the swan-like concentration of the Hamsasana enables the practitioner to sharpen his mind.
This is the yogic term for the well-known front splits. Vayu, the God of the Winds, was the father of Hanuman, the Monkey God. He was renowned for his powerful leaps since he was able to clear enormous heights, hence the splits.
Cat pose - marjariasana
To perform Marjariasana, one must be seated on all fours (two hands, two legs), extend their backs out like cats, and coordinate their breathing with their spinal motions. It shows one must also be aware of every moment and be alert like a cat. It improves airflow to the lungs, strengthens the spine.
Camel pose - Ustrasana
The backbend known as "Camel Pose" stretches the entire front of the body. It is carried out on the knees and frequently utilised as a warm-up for deeper backbends. The posture's name comes from the shape the body makes in this asana, which resembles a camel's hump
The Garuda-inspired Eagle Pose is known as Garudasana. Garuda is half eagle and half human in Hindu mythology. He is referred to as the "King of the Birds." The challenge of maintaining balance and the tipping from side to side fosters steadfast focus, steady gaze, and eagle vision. That stability and attention in fact help to relax the mind.
Crow Pose - Kakasana
Bending the arms with the elbows bent past 90 degrees is necessary for the Crow Pose or Kakasana. It’s as if a crow is close to the ground picking up food. The balancing pose enhances the power of concentration.
Thank you, Varalika for this interesting insight into an animal-inspired yoga practice.