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When you practice skillful actions, Vishnu’s pose can feel as relaxed and peaceful as it look.

When the Hindu Deity Lord Vishnu is depicted in traditional images, resting on a cosmic-serpent couch as he dreams the world into existence, he looks calm and effortlessly equanimous. When you see yogis skillfully practicing Anatasana (Reclining Pose Dedicated to Vishnu), his namesake pose, you might imagine that their relaxed, poised demeanor means the pose is laid-back and easy. But looks can be deceiving: Anantasana requires you to balance on the fine line of the side of the body while one leg extends up to infinity. Any number of things can pull you off balance. If you lose your focus, you might topple over, tweak your neck, or bruise your pride. Lose stability along your spine, slouch your back, or round your shoulders, and the pose collapses.

Description: yogis skillfully practicing Anatasana (Reclining Pose Dedicated to Vishnu)

yogis skillfully practicing Anatasana (Reclining Pose Dedicated to Vishnu)

Throughout this practice, you’ll open your shoulders and hips while you create length in your torso, arms, and legs, in addition, you’ll engage your core in order to stabilize the spine. All of the movements and actions will help keep you balanced in the final pose. But remember, finding your balance is a constant, dynamic process. It’s a dance that changes from moment to moment. By staying sensitive, clear, and courageous in all of your poses, you can become more aware of the tiny adjustments that you need to make in order to stay stable in Anatasana. Also, it should be noted that losing your balance is not a bad thing; it brings the edges of extremes to light and shows you where you need more physical or mental support. And it’s preferable to holding on to or struggling through a pose. The following instructions will encourage you to coordinate a dynamic balance; so let go of the struggle to balance and instead play lightly to understand what kind of physical support is needed to create the luxurious reclining feel of this pose. When your physical alignment is in place, you just might find that you begin to open to the clear, quiet stillness of Vishnu’s repose on his cosmic serpent.

Practice this sequence all the way through, taking Supta Padanguthasana II (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose II) on the left side first. This will prepare the left leg to open fully when you lie on your right side to come into Anantasana. Then, when you release Anantasana on the first side, come back to the beginning and practice the entire sequence again on your second side.

Description: Lengthen your torso and limbs while you maintain the natural curve of your spine and engage your core

Lengthen your torso and limbs while you maintain the natural curve of your spine and engage your core

Description: Don’t worry that your leg doesn’t reach the floor. The prop here helps to isolate the leg action in your hips

Don’t worry that your leg doesn’t reach the floor. The prop here helps to isolate the leg action in your hips

Description: Plank Pose activates your core strength, calling on the muscles needed to maintain a neutral spine.

Plank Pose activates your core strength, calling on the muscles needed to maintain a neutral spine.

Description: Open your shoulders and take a deep hip stretch in this stable variation of the final pose.

Open your shoulders and take a deep hip stretch in this stable variation of the final pose.

Description: Final pose: with your shoulders and hips open and your core engaged, discover the dynamic balance of Vishnu’s pose

Final pose: with your shoulders and hips open and your core engaged, discover the dynamic balance of Vishnu’s pose

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