Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Full Moon Obscured

When I teach the Experience Sanskrit workshop, I usually tell people they'll know they're starting to catch on to the meaning of the Sanskrit word roots when someone in the room cracks a Sanskrit joke and everyone laughs.

Someone usually gets this rolling by blurting out a funny new name for a pose that everybody knows.

I like to use what I call opposing pairs as one mnemonic tool to help me strongly associate a Sanskrit word with its meaning.

For example, I know there's a pose called downward facing dog pose, adho mukha svanasana. If someone thought to name this pose downward facing dog pose, then surely there must be an upward facing dog pose, right? Of course. It's urdhva mukha svanasana.

Just knowing these two opposites exist, I can scratch my head a little bit and apply the half of the equation I know and often figure out the other pose name or part of the pose name that I don't know...yet.

There's arha navasana, a half boat pose. So surely there must be a full boat pose. Of course, there is. It's paripurna navasana.

But this scheme isn't perfect. It starts to break down. If there's an adho mukha vrksasana, downward facing tree pose (most of us call this a handstand or full arm balance), there must also be an urdhva mukha vrksasana, upward facing tree pose. I'm sorry to report that there is no upward facing tree pose, there's only tree pose, vrksasana.

Similarly, if there's a half moon pose, ardha chandrasana, there must be a paripurna chandrasana, too!

This is the point at which someone says, "Wait! There is a full moon!" Then we watch as our yogi stands up, faces away from the group and then bends over in uttanasana, giving everyone the full moon.

I've done a lot of deep probing research for this message today. I've found that, according to Wikipedia, mooning is:
the act of displaying one's bare buttocks by removing clothing, e.g. by lowering the back side of one's trousers and underpants, usually bending over.... Mooning is used in some cultures to express protest, scorn, disrespect or provocation but can simply be done for shock value or fun.
I mean no scorn or disrespect by my Tip today. But I do intend it for shock value and fun, because shock and fun make things memorable. Hopefully, after reading this, you'll never forget the Sanskrit word for moon again. It's chandra.

Since mooning is done with a bare bottom, I will not post a picture with the Daily Yoga Tip of the "full moon pose," paripurna chandrasana. But I will provide a photo a some full moon poses, the full effects of which are thankfully obscured by clothing.

It's very cold here in Missouri as I write this message tonight. But that hasn't kept me from running out on my back porch every 10 minutes for the last hour to view the beautiful and rare eclipse of the full moon. It's fabulous. We won't see another one until 2010.

If you haven't figured it out by now, that's the inspiration for today's Daily Yoga Tip.

I'll sum it all up for you: let the beauty and awe of the natural world inspire your yoga practice; and enjoy it--have fun!

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was parsva. Parsva means flank or side as in parsvottanasana, the intense stretch to the side pose.

p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is sukha. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.s., If today's Daily Yoga Tip is too weird for you, it might be because the full moon has strange effects on people, myself included. (One of my favorite movies, which I watch over and over again, is Moonstruck.) For a more serious Daily Yoga Tip on moons and moon poses, read One Small Step on TV, One Giant Leap in My Cubicle, a message I wrote in July, 2005.

p.p.p.p.s., Did you notice in that picture above that those three yoginis were making use of one of the most widely known and popular yoga aids of modern times? Twister. What a game! I haven't seen one of those game mats in years. Which, I might add, is like most yoga "aids." You buy it. You use it for while. And then you lose it in the bottom of your closet for a decade or two.

p.p.p.p.p.s., Our Sanskrit Experience workshop in St. Charles, MO is filling up. If you'd like to be with us, and we hope you will, for this 4-hour jam-packed experience of the Sanskrit names of yoga poses, sign up right away here. Tuition is $65. Every participant receives a 120-page course guide. We'll be at Jane's House of Wellbeing on Saturday March 15th at noon. See you there.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 680-6737


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I really enjoy reading your blogs and I love yoga and yoga loves me!!! Kelly from Canada

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