The myth behind Vasisthasana
Yoga postures are often dedicated to sage and mythical heroes from indian cultures. Those figures embody values and attributes we aspire and we can access through a dedicated practice of asanas. Knowing a bit more about those figures allow us to dive deeper into the yoga practice and offer a new perspective on how to approach a posture.
Vasisthasana embodies grace and wisdom personalised in the sage Vasistha. Son of the god Brahma, Vasistha is naturally destined to the spiritual path. Out of the many stories surrounding the sage vasistha is the battle opposing him to the king Kaushika who was to become one of the greatest sage known as Vishwamitra.
What started as an argument for material belongings over the wish fullfilling cow nandini shifted to a spiritual journey for the king. The same thing tends to happen when we practice yoga what often starts as a pure physical practice turns to a search for truth, a unification with ourselves and liberation.
After the sage offered hospitality to the king and his army, Kaushika wondered how an isolated and small place could provide such a feast to him and his army. Vasistha explained he had a cow nandini, given to him by the goddess Indra, to provide for everything he needed.
Kaushika determined to get the cow engaged in a battle, insulting, threatening and using brute force trying to get the magic cow. Despite all the insults made to him, Vasistha remained calm, and unshakable. Striked by the graceful reaction of Vasistha he desired more than a cow but gain power through spiritual attainment. After a undergoing a time of penitence and austerity, the king finally became a brahman, under the name of vishwamitra and one of the most renowned sages of India. Vasistha himself gave him the title of brahmarishi and paid homage to him. Here is another act of grace and humility performed by Vasistha testifying of his great wisdom.
In vasisthasana grace is embodied with the lift of the leg and arm reaching up to the sky. The challenge of the posture lies in the ability to hold the alignement sideways in order to keep the balance, going against gravity pulling you out of alignement. In order to maintain the posture, one must root itself deeply into the ground pushing the hand and the anchor foot into the floor to lift the hips up away from the ground, and find steadiness of mind to reach physical stability. The connection to the core by breathing less but efficiently allows to connect deep within the center line of the body balancing gracefully with ease.
It takes time, practice and humility to reach the goal. Surrender to the journey, it is within the turmoil of our own mind that the spiritual path starts. The body is merely the tool to freedom and a place for realisation.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the practice!