Don’t judge a pose by its appearance

The arm balance called Astavakrasana is often translated from the Sanskrit as “eight angled pose” simply because “asta” translates as eight and “vakra” translates as crooked or angled.  But, as with a lot of the asana that we practice, there is a much more powerful and interesting story which could help you connect to the real intention of this pose.  The story of Astavakra begins when he was in his mother’s womb.  It is said that he corrected his father’s recitation of verses from the Rig Veda eight times and as a result of this his father became very angry and cursed his son.  The curse was said to result in Astavakra being born deformed and his name is said to refer to the eight crooked angles of his limbs.  Astavakra even as a boy was very wise and people were always surprised when, as humans tend to do, they judged him by his appearance and when he opened his mouth to speak they realized that he was a person of great insight and intellect.  As with Astavakra the person, Astavakrasana the asana is a pose that should not be judged by its appearance.  It is often said to be one of the easier arm balances because it relies on technique rather than strength.  Maybe the mind/body connection that we are attempting to achieve with this pose is simply to realize that things that seem difficult may not always be so.  If you are able to spend some time working out the right angle or technique, insteading of pushing your way through to a solution, things may just all of a sudden fall into place.

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