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Description of the Main Postures

All the postures should be practiced gradually lest the muscles be injured; some need to be practiced from childhood. After some practice, most postures become easy and comfortable and no longer create pressure or tension which disturbs the blood circulation. The postures must always be practiced on a soft carpet or fur rug, or thick mat of kusha grass.

In all the main postures, both knees should touch the ground and should appear to have the same weight when lifted with the hands.

A list of the eighty-four postures and their effect will be found in Appendix III. The main postures only are described below.

(1) The Posture of Attainment (Siddhasana) is considered the best of all the postures.

"In the Posture of Attainment, he should sit motionless, the left heel hard-pressed against the yoni place (behind the testicles), the right heel placed upon the penis. The chin should be firmly pressed against the chest, the body kept erect, the senses withdrawn from perception, the eyes focused between the eye-brows. This opens the lock of the gate to liberation." (Goraksha Samhita 1, 11.)

In this posture a man should be careful to avoid any discomfort to the sex organs. The toes of the left foot should rest between the thigh and the calf of the right leg. the big toe resting on the right leg while the right foot rest on the left leg.

In this posture, the three main muscular contractions are used: the Net-holding-contraction (Jalandhara bandha), the Root contraction (Mula bandha), and the Flying contraction (Uddiyana bandha) (see below).

If the practice is to last for more than an hour, the eyes should not be focused between the brows, since this would fatigue the muscles, but should be closed. Both the arms should be straight, the hands palms up resting on the knees. The small finger should be crooked to touch the root of the thumb and the other fingers slightly bent. This prevents the vital energy (prana vayu) from escaping through the finger tips.

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