Venerating Tirthankaras through Yoga – Part 4 Yoga asanas can become a medium of expressing our reverence towards the Tirthankar Bhagwans. Inspired by the work on Jain Yoga by Shri Shantilal D. Parakh, these asanas are derived from various aspects of the 24 Tirthankars like Their life stories, symbols (lanchans) and virtues. Let us add an element of devotion in our yoga practice through these asanas What Makarasana honouring Shri Suvidhinath Bhagwan Why this Name This asana derives its name from the Sanskrit words ‘makara’ which means ‘crocodile’ and ‘asana’ – ‘pose.’ The crocodile is the lanchan of the ninth Tirthankar Shri Suvidhinath Bhagwan. How to do it Lie down on your chest (prone position) on the mat. Lift your chest up and place the elbows ahead of you making a stand with your hands. Place the chin on the palms and rest the face on them. Allow the lower end of the palms to touch each other. Keep some distance between both the feet with the toes pointing outwards. You can even bend your legs from the knees and swing them back and forth one at a time, allowing your ankles to touch the hips. Be in this position for 10-15 counts and breathe deeply. Chant the mantra ‘Ṇamo Suvihiṇaṁ’ mentally or loudly while performing this asana. Repeat this pose at least three times. Release the pose and relax back in prone position. Which Benefits Stretches muscles of the legs and hips. Improves digestion and relieves constipation. Helps relieve respiratory problems. Helps relieve back pain or pain due to spondylitis and slip disc. This pose is beneficial for relaxing after performing other asanas. Contraindications Avoid performing this asana if you have a severe neck or back injury. What Vrikshasana variation honouring Shri Shitalnath Bhagwan Why this Name This asana derives its name from the Sanskrit words ‘vriksha’ which means ‘tree’ and ‘asana’ – ‘pose.’ The kalpavriksha tree is the lanchan of the tenth Tirthankar Shri Shitalnath Bhagwan as per Digambar tradition, while as per Shwetambar tradition it is Shrivatsa. How to do it Begin in Tadasana. Inhale, bend the right leg from the knee and place the right foot high on the inner side of the left thigh. Keep the right heel flat against the inner thigh and the left leg completely straight. Inhale and interlock the fingers of both hands. On an exhale, place the hands behind the neck. Ensure the lower arms and elbows are in a straight line. Focus the eyes on the tip of the nose or a spot in front of you. This will help you to maintain balance. Hold this position for 10-15 counts and breathe deeply. Chant the mantra ‘Ṇamo Śīyalāṇaṁ’ mentally or loudly while performing this asana. To release the pose, carefully bring the right knee straight in front of you and then place the right leg down, coming back to Tadasana. Repeat the pose on the other side. Which Benefits Improves blood circulation in the legs, arms and shoulders, thereby increasing strength. Strengthens and stretches the spinal column. Improves concentration, memory and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Helps prevent osteoporosis. Contraindications Avoid performing this asana if you are suffering from arthritis, vertigo, migraine, high or low blood pressure. Avoid performing this asana if you have had a leg or knee injury recently.