The Ghosh lineage of yoga is unique in the way it understands the relationship between effort and ease. There are three distinct ways, all of which are at play in asana practice.
In this blog series we will describe each of the three, beginning with the first and most basic: posture & rest.
SHAVASANA: A VERY BRIEF HISTORY
Shavasana, called Corpse or Dead Man Pose, was named as an asana (posture) in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Prior to that, it was a practice called laya yoga in which the practitioner tried to dissolve their material body.
In the Ghosh lineage, rest is at the heart of asana practice. This is due to the influence of weightlifting, in which the exertion of force is followed by (sometimes a few) minutes of rest.
As asana practice developed in the twentieth century, shavasana was emphasized in the practice of yoga, particularly in northern India and by weightlifters.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PRACTICE
In the 1960s, Dr Gouri Shankar Mukerji not only writes about the importance of shavasana but says that it must be practiced after every other asana. He writes, "Any asana that you practice gives the full benefit when you end it with Shavasana (p. 12)."
Taking it a step further, he explains:
"The starting position for all exercises is a relaxation pose that is called Shavasana or Dead Man Pose. This posture is also resumed after each exercise and is to be considered an essential part of Yoga, because this system is based on an alternation between tension and relaxation (p. 5-6)".
Not only is shavasana an important posture, but it represents a system of effort and ease that is foundational to the Ghosh lineage style of practice.
In the next two blogs, we will examine the other two relationships of effort and ease: pose & counter-pose and muscular function.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
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