Topic 3 | Asanas: Practice
For the final lesson of asanas we will describe three difficult asanas:
- Dwi pada kandharasana
- Poorna matsyendrasana
Very few people will be able to do these. In fact, we strongly suggest that you do not try them unless you have a very strong flexible body and have been practising asanas for a few years. This will prevent strained muscles and torn ligaments due to premature practice.
Dwi Pada Kandharasana (Two-Legged Shoulder Pose)
The Sanskrit word dwi means ‘two’; pada means foot’ and kandha means ‘shoulder’. Thus in English, this asana can be called the ‘two feet shoulder pose’ for both feet are folded over the two shoulders.
This asana is also widely called yoga nidrasana – ‘the yogic sleep pose’. Those people who feel sufficiently comfortable, and this will not be many, can sleep or rest in the final pose. Needless to say, we do not recommend that vou attempt to practise yoga nidra in this position.
Eka pada sirasana1 is an excellent preparatory asana for dwi pada kandharasana. In fact, dwi pada kandharasana should not be tried until eka pada sirasana is first of all mastered.
Place a blanket on the floor.
Lie flat on your back.
Stretch the legs and place the arms on the floor beside the body.
Relax all the muscles of the body.
Bend one leg upwards.
Place the foot behind the head and the leg under the armpit of the arm on the same side of the body.
Some careful manipulation will be required.
Then repeat the same process with the other leg so that both arms rest above the two legs.
Gently press the legs downwards with the arms.
Try to cross the feet behind the head.
Place the palms together.
This is the final pose.
Relax the whole body completely.
Close the eyes.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Stay in the final pose for a comfortable period of time.
Then carefully unfold the legs and straighten them.
This is the end of the practice.
Be aware of deep and slow breathing in the final pose.
Immediately after doing dwi pada kandharasana you should practise any backward bending asana such as bhujangasana, matsyasana’, etc.
Dwi pada kandharasana is an advanced forward bending asana. It revitalizes the nerves of the whole body. It has a profound effect on all the abdominal organs, especially the kidneys, liver, spleen, intestines and pancreas. The pelvic organs are also massaged which brings about efficiency of the sexual and eliminative systems as well as removal of any associated ailments. The solar plexus and the adrenal glands are profoundly massaged; this helps to replace lethargy with abundant vitality. Dwi pada kandharasana brings many benefits to those who are able to do it.