YSN, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Nov. 2018)
The Film: History of Yoga
योग का इतिहास – हमारे पूर्वजो के जीवन पथ से।
Dr. Deepika Kothari’s comprehensive film spanning the 6,000-year journey of the history and philosophy of Yoga is well worth the watch!
YSN, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Nov. 2013)
Yoga Sculptures at Delhi Airport
Sculpture depicting a Set of Yoga Āsana-s (with Dr. Sarkar standing beside it) Photo credits: Dr. Dilip Sarkar
Sculpture depicting a Set of Yoga Mudrā-s (Hand gestures) at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, India (Photo credits: Dr. Dilip Sarkar)
Yoga Mudrā Sculpture at Washington DC Restaurant
Sculpture depicting the “Prithvi Mudra” (Earth Mudrā) at the Rasika Westend restaurant in Georgetown, Washington DC. (Photo credits: Pat Deepak)
Yoga Mudrā Sculpture, similar to the one at Delhi Airport (shown in this issue of YSN), depicting the “Prithvi Mudrā” overlooks the dining hall of the gourmet Rasika Westend Restaurant in Georgetown, Washington, DC, USA. A brief description of the powerful benefits of Prithvi Mudrā is given as follows;
Prithvi Mudrā (Mudrā of the Earth)
The tip of the ring finger touches the tip of the thumb, with the other three fingers stretched out. It should be done while doing “Kapālbhati Prānāyāma”, or can be done while doing effortless normal breathing for 2 to 4 times a day for 3 to 30 minutes each. It can be done while sitting in a chair or on the ground.
It reduces all physical weaknesses, and brings balance, for example, by adjusting excessively high or low weight or blood sugar.
It has no particular time duration, and can be practiced any time.
It helps to increase the weight of weak people or reduce the weight of the obese people
It improves the complexion of the skin, and makes the skin to glow.
It makes the body active by keeping it healthy.
It is good for type-2 diabetics, as it tends to remove excess sugar in the blood.
Look for more articles on explanation of, and research on, the powerful health benefits of different Mudrā-s in future issues of YSN.
Yoga: The Art of Transformation – The Exhibition and Two Paintings
The two paintings at the Sackler Gallery entrance are enlarged copies of the lavishly painted folios (ca.18th century hatha yoga treatise) that depict the transformation of an advanced adept (siddha*) in a blissful state experiencing his equivalence with the universe or cosmos, since at the philosophical core of Hatha yoga is the understanding that “everything – from the limitless Absolute to the lowest forms of inert matter – is one, yet manifested differently.”**
This essential equivalence allows the yoga-practitioner to progressively convert his gross body (sthula sharira, शरीर, in Sanskrit) into subtle body (sukshama sharira) and become a greater being than a deva (divine entity with unlimited or divine welfare-bestowing power). “With the sun and moon (identified as the ha and tha in hatha yoga), the siddha stands**” in meditation (dhyāna), depicted by his eyes crossed, as if having transcended each of the transcendent cosmos’ or universe’s 14 levels, depicted as a white palace city, from feet to head. In many yoga systems, equivalence of the Self (ātmā) and the Absolute (brahman) constitute the ultimate reality. The different works are artists’ attempts to make visible the yogic insight of this equivalence of cosmos as body. The yoga paths (yoga mārg), whether Tantric or hatha or others, were developed as systematized paths for adepts to understand this equivalence. These and other insights are beautifully explained and illustrated in the chapter on “The Cosmic Body” (p. 161-165) in the referenced Exhibition book.** It is a book worth reading for understating the complex history of Yoga based on available visual art form since 500 BCE as shown at this Exhibition.
For the Exhibition schedules in Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA and Cleveland, OH, see the YSN CALENDAR.
*The Sanskrit word siddha (perfected or self-realized being), also appears in conjugate form as in El Cid in Spanish, according to Barbara G. Walker’s The Women’s Encyclopedia of Women’s Myths and Secrets. Per Wikipedia, the name El Cid is a modern Spanish denomination composed by the article el meaning “the” and Cid (meaning a very strong and brave man or ‘Master’ ) which comes from the Arabic word sîdi or sayyid, which means “Lord” or “Master”.)
**Yoga: The Art of Transformation by Debra Diamond, with contributions by David Gordon White, et al. (2013), 328 pages, published by Freer Galley and Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC. Debra Diamond, Ph.D., is the Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, Sackler Gallery, who also curated and published the edited volume on the 2009 Exhibition entitled “Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur,” at the Sackler Gallery, with a scholarly description of the Nāth yogis who in the 12th century originated the Hatha Yoga philosophy and practices.
[Photo credits: Top – Dr. Dilip Sarkar; Bottom – Pat Deepak]