Animals taught us Yogasanas -1 (Post.10,571 A)


Post No. 10,571-A

Date uploaded in London – –    17 JANUARY   2022         

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M R Jambunathan who translated all the four Hindu Vedas into Tamil says that humans learnt Yogasana from animals. He gives several examples to support his finding. He is right . I can cite more examples. The longest living animal is tortoise. They live up to 300 years . Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (2-58), Manu in Manu Smrti (7-105), Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar in his Tirukkural (Kural 126), Tirumular in his Tamil Tirumanthiram (2360) use the image of Tortoise to teach us self control. Unless they observed it for several generations, they wouldn’t have referred to it. They knew very well that the tortoises live longer than any other animal on earth because of breath control only. The most popular Frog poem (RV.7-103) in the Rigveda sows us how observant our ancestors were. There the Vedic Rishi refers indirectly to the hibernation of frogs. Vedic students begin or restart their Vedic studies after four month Chaturmasya Vratha time (rainy season). This is similar to hibernation of frogs. Several animals go into hibernation and stop their metabolic activities almost to nil.

Over 20 popular Yogasanas are named after animals, birds, insects and reptiles.

Let me give the examples shown by Sri Jambunathan. He says,

“Have you ever noticed a tired horse? It lies down completely and take some comfortable poses to refresh itself. Yoga is nothing but this activity  scientifically applied.  A weak man can never see the real Almighty says the Kathopanishad. Strength is greater than knowledge. Worship the strength said Sanatkumara to Rishi Narada.

I am the thunderbolt. I am the lion, eagle and what is all that are strong, said Sri Krishna to the valiant Arjuna. The object of the Yoga is to attain this mighty strength in and out.”

“God has endowed small animals with the faculty of protecting themselves from harm and of being happy. When we represent animals in limbs and form, in instinct and mind, what harm is there in copying some of the main activities which they do to protect and prolong their lives. If we observe all these animals, we can find that they keep themselves physically fit and enjoy happiness by adopting certain Asanas according to time and space.”

“There is no more beautiful sight in this world than that of a cat, tiger, lion sleeping or resting. It is the perfect picture of a repose with all the muscles relaxed. Thus, these animals get new life and vigour and enjoy life almost to perfection. In ancient times many Rishis in their wanderings in the forests observing carefully all the postures of wild animals, putting them to practical tests and finding them immediately profitable by their experiences , had given us these secrets in the Upanishads.”

“When a cat awakes it is a common sight to see stretching it’s body and then bringing it back in form of an arch standing stiff on all four feet. This is an everyday occurrence. It is only after assuming this posture that cat starts on its business. Instinct prompts this cat to adopt this Asana.

We may see it in a dog as well. When it turns lazy it stretches its body towards the front throwing all the weight forward and stretching it’s back without moving from the original place it throws all the weight in the rear. Thus, many animals do. Observe the monkeys adopting naturally many varieties of poses. They do take many postures like our professional athletes. They jump from one branch to another without fear and with great pleasure.”

“The question why we should copy the animals may appear to be not a reasonable one. But if you carefully study the universe and all other creations you will find that man is a representative of nature. The eye stands for the sun, the ear the sky, mind the moon, body the earth, and breath the air. Thus human body is a counterpart of all the elements of Nature.

Chandilyopanishad gives us a grand eulogism of the Asanas. Although Asanas are many in number we have only shown chiefly those that are very important. With illustration or each Asanna.”—M R Jambunathan 15-6-1933


 I am posting the Asanas in two of my blogs. Part A is published in tamilandvedas and part B is published in swamiindology.blogspot .com.

Please visit both the blogs to get all the 48++++ Asanas.

Tags- Asana, Yogasana, animal postures, Jambunathan book

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