|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 207 ]
Rathacharyasana is the "charioteer pose." The practice of this asana requires a great deal of steadiness and concentration, which can be seen symbolically within the position.
The extended foot (toes) are the horses, which represent the 5 external (unruly) senses. They are held firmly and controlled (via the reigns, or Higher Mind) by the charioteer; while the other arm, extended high overhead, signifies the hoisted flag of victory.
Thus this asana instils one with the steadfastness of mind over body (over the senses).
Note: stand firmly without bending your other knee.
- From the sama sthiti asana, bend one leg and reach down with your hand to grasp the foot. This can be done in several different ways. One may catch the big toe with the thumb and index finger; grasp around the instep with all the fingers; or grasp overtop of the toes with the whole hand.
- Hoist the flag (raise your opposite arm straight overhead) with the palm open and facing forward.
- Slowly extend your leg directly out in front of you. Try to straighten the knee fully.
- Maintain your balance by focusing on a point directly in front of you, at eye level.
- Try to hold the position with absolute stillness for as long as possible while breathing deeply in a relaxed manner.
- Slowly retreat out of the posture in the reverse manner and repeat on the other side.
Effects and Benefits
As another balancing posture, rathacharya asana also helps to combat nara and improve proprioception, balance, concentration and steadiness in the body.
The bilateral practice of this asana brings a balanced strength into the hips and pelvis. In fact, the same could be said for the whole body, as this posture demands not only flexibility, but also strength throughout the body, especially to be able to maintain it for any length of time.
Its practice stimulates the heart and nervous system and energizes the being, leaving one with an overall sense of strength and vitality.
This is a very good practice for the development of concentration. As may be suggested in the name, this posture helps to instil unwavering resolve and steadiness of mind in the practitioner, as that of the charioteer who rides skilfully and unshakably into battle.
The contents of this web page are intended for informational purposes only. One should not engage in any yoga practices based solely upon the directions given on this web page or any other page of this web site. Anyone atempting to perform any of the yoga exercises introduced on this website assumes full responsibility and does so at their own risk.
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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