Old Pose, New Pose

I’ll remind you in class from time to time that Yoga poses – asanas – are usually not as old as we think they are. And, while some instructional Yoga guides to asanas are a couple hundred years old, there aren’t any that are truly “ancient.”

As I mentioned in our Sun-Moon class on Monday, the Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar – is probably only 100 years old or so. The Moon Salutation, Chandra Namaskar? Well, it’s younger than the Internet.

But, there’s nothing wrong with poses being young. They are born of the spirit of Yoga – which is ancient – and the knowledge of modern science, anatomy, and physiology. They are the perfect balance of old and young.

And, that’s what Yoga is, isn’t it? The balancing of energy – sun and moon, right and left, young and old.

Here are two poses for you to ponder. One old and one is so young it hasn’t been invented – yet. But, maybe you can help me with that.

Old Pose

Lilias Folan was one of the great teachers of Yoga in the United States. Her Yoga programs on PBS beginning in the late 1960s introduced thousands to the practice at a time when there weren’t many Yoga studios around.

During Wednesday’s heart opening class, we practiced Gormukhasana. It’s a wonderful way to open the shoulders and stretch the heart center.

I’ve always known it as “cow face pose.”

So imagine my surprise to find it in a book by Lilias from 1972. The pose hasn’t changed. But, the name certainly has …

lilias 1972 warrior

Any guess on what Sponge pose is? (I know the answer … we do it all the time and we call it something else entirely.)

New Pose

California blogger Casey Karp writes about all sorts of things, including technology, the Bay Bridge, baseball, and cats. Every Friday he shares a photo of one – or some – of his cats doing … something.

Today, he featured Rhubarb, curled up and sleeping in what looks to me like a wonderful, brand-new Yoga pose. A pose that hasn’t been invented yet.


Photo of Rhubarb from koiscribblings.com Thanks Casey!

Check out the entire post for Casey’s description of the specific alignment Rhubarb is demonstrating: Read here.

Casey believes that cats get short-shrift in Yoga. He knows about Down Dogs, but he doesn’t know about cat tilts … cat-grabs-its-tail … lion pose … tiger in the grass.

I told Casey if anyone could turn his cat’s photo into a Yoga pose – Rhubarbasana, of course – it would be us. Take a look and see what you think.

If you want to share your thoughts on how to make Rhubarbasana come alive on the mat, let me know or comment below.  Or, maybe we’ll invent something new on Monday!

(And, a Friday treat for you. Here’s the Heart Sutra from Wednesday’s Savasana.)


10 thoughts on “Old Pose, New Pose

    • I thought it was child’s pose too. (She calls child’s pose “closed leaf” pose which I like better anyway … I often call child’s pose “turtle shell” because that’s what it feels like to me.)

      But, sponge is savasana … full lying-on-your-back relaxation. I like that, because savasana really IS the time to, as I always say in class, “absorb the fruits of your practice.” So I guess it is time to be a sponge!

  1. Thanks for the heart sutra. Kitty’s are pretty agile creatures. For me, considerable adaptations would be needed for Rubarbasana. I’m game for trying anything.

    • “I’m game for trying anything.” That’s the Peaceful Hands Yoga way! 🙂

      We’ll have something to play with on Monday in our “Spine Awakening” class, which seems like the perfect time for a Rhubarbasana.

  2. So here we are a couple of Mondays later, and I haven’t heard a report! Is Rhubarbasana a thing, or is the general lack of tails among yoga practitioners proving an insurmountable obstacle?

    • Hey … We have tails! Yoga Fun Fact: Coccyx means “cuckoo” because the tailbone is shaped like a cuckoo’s beak. It was also known as the “whistle bone” because … uh, well, uh … it was thought to be the source of the “toot.”

      Patience, Casey. Yoga took thousands of years to develop. Rhubarbasana will be a thing … it’s just not a thing … yet. The tail isn’t the issue, we just haven’t found the sweet spot in the pose. Cats are always light years ahead of us when it comes curling up just so. But, we haven’t given up.

      • And thus you see one of the main reasons I don’t practice it myself: too impatient.

        And I refuse to believe you can use your coccyx as a pillow.

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