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Description of the Main Postures

The aim of this posture is to give rest to the body. It should be taken every day for half an hour after practicing other postures. In this posture, the blood circulation is easy, the muscles are not contracted, the vital breath rises towards the head and the mind is at peace. Some consider this the best of all postures.

(15) The Fish Posture (Matsyasana): "Placing the right foot at the root of the left thigh and covering the knee with the (right) hand and holding the main left toe with the left hand is the Fish posture." (Trishikhi Brahmana Up. 48-49.)

(16) The Posture of the Great Teacher Matsyendra (Matsyendrasana): This posture is to be practiced on both sides.

(a) Place the right foot on the left thigh, the heel near the navel; bring the left hand round the back and catch hold of the right leg three inches above the heel; the thumb of the hand should be towards the knee and the little finger towards the heel. Place the left foot in front of the right knee, the left knee touching the heart region and the toes of the left foot somewhat below the right knee. The face should be turned to the right and the eyes firmly focused between the brows.

(b) Place the forepart of the left foot on the right thigh; passing the right hand round the back, catch hold of the left ankle from above. The right foot should then be placed in front of the left knee and the left hand passed behind the right foot to catch hold of its big toe. The face should be turned to the left with the eyes focused between the brows. This position is the exact opposite of the previous one, and both should be practiced for an equal length of time.

(17) The Peacock Posture (Mayurasana): "Place the palms of both hands side by side flat on the ground, with the elbows pressed on both sides of the navel and raise the head and feet straight like a peacock. This is the peacock posture." (Trishikhi Brahmana Up. 47-48.)

This posture should only be attempted after the muscles of the body have already been suppled by the practice of other postures. It is necessary to (be careful to see that the bowels are empty before practicing it otherwise it may cause pain and disease. It should be practiced for seven or eight minutes before the Purificatory act of washing the bowels.

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