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Asana Practice for Jan. 9, 2011

posted Jan 14, 2011, 10:52 AM by Balvihar Teachers Yoga   [ updated Sep 15, 2011, 10:47 PM by Balvihar Administrator ]
Rigorous Warm ups
Padmasana - Lotus pose
Navasana - Boat Pose
Sarvangasana - Shoulder Stand
Halasana - Plow Pose
Story behind the Plow Pose

Plowing of the Mind

Halasana means “plow pose” and refers to a plow that tills the dead earth to bring forth life.

I still remember the first time I saw someone doing the plow pose and I thought to myself, “are you serious? You expect me to be able to do that?” And I’m sure many people have had the same reaction. The plow pose is a difficult pose, but it’s a great stretch for your spine and shoulders.

Here’s the story behind Halasana, aka Plow Pose.

Krishna’s older brother, Balarama, was also known as Haladhara because he carried a plow. Despite their quarrels and differences, Haladhara helped Krishna to overcome many demons in the forrest of Vrindavan while they were growing up, and the two maintained a great relationship throughout their lives.

One lovely afternoon, Haladhara decided that he wanted to bathe in the great Yamuna River. Intoxicated by his favorite honey drink, he ordered the river to come close. Used to getting his way, Haladhara was surprised when the Yamuna River would not make its way over to him so that he could enjoy his bath. Rather than just walking over to the river, he took his great plow and dredged the river until it ran toward him.

According to yoga philosophy, all of our actions and thoughts leave traces in out consciousness. Our actions in this world can either remove impressions from the landscape of out consciousness or carve new ones.

Just as Haladhara dragged the Yamuna to him with his plow, the yogi seeks to draw the mind back from its negative wanderings in order to absorb the positive.

There is a sutra that talks about this kind of “plowing of the mind”: Essentially, this sutra says, just as a farmer plows his field to introduce water to the field for irrigation, if we remove the obstacles in our path toward yoga, we can lead our mind toward it. In this way, the plow of our mind leads us to liberation, based on the quality of our thoughts. The plow pose provides an excellent opportunity to plow the field of our mind with positive thinking.

Excerpts from Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition, by Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooij (Mandala Publishing, 2010). All rights reserved.