Yoga has really taken off in America and has become a huge industry in itself. It is a mainstream exercise yet still maintains a little bit of a cult attitude. There are those that practice yoga just for the physical exercise it provides and those that make a fervent daily ritual out of it. American style yoga, though, is still devoid of much of the true meaning of the practice, which is a combination of philosophy, meditation, natural medicine as well as the physical discipline. Ideally, the many stretches and poses are used to refine one’s purpose, and that is to unify mind, body, and spirit. Or at least attain a realization that the three are already one. Even more divine is the recognition that you, I, and the others are also one. Eventually, the mind dissolves that individualist notion and there becomes no self and no other. This awareness is the true goal of yoga.
There are many poses, or asanas. The asanas move the body, massage the internal organs, improve blood circulation, strengthen the muscles, and evoke the power of the mind. This asana that I am to teach you is called Tanoti Asana and falls into the last category. Tanoti, as many yoga practitioners know, means “expanding consciousness”. Fittingly, tanoti asana helps clear the mind, enhance the vision, benefit the third eye, and as the name suggests, expands consciousness.
Tanoti asana is to be done at the end of a yogic practice. In this way, it allows the prana, or circulating energy in the body, to perfuse throughout the head and neck area to balance the chakras. The tanoti asana can also be done as a stand alone meditation to open the awareness and cultivate the third eye. (It is recommended for persons well into their journey through yoga, meditation, and spirituality. I do NOT recommend it for beginning practitioners.)
To perform the tanoti asana, you will need a small ball about the size of a tennis ball and a long tube sock. A racketball, lacrosse ball, field hockey ball, etc. will do. Put the ball inside of the sock. Tie a knot at the top of the sock. (An excellent alternative to the sock ball is the Sciaticare Ball by August Point Wellness. It is perfect for this posture.)
- Sit on the mat in a Baddha Konasana posture (Cobbler’s Pose)
- Slowly recline until your back and head are on the mat (Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Cobbler’s Pose)
- Place the Sciaticare Ball (or your ball and sock) under the occiput with the ball in the depression just under the base of the skull.
- The cord and handle of the Sciaticare Ball should be above the head. (If you are using the sock method, the knot should be above the head.)
- The hands should be placed in a modified Dhyana Mudra position with fingers extended and slightly rounded. Now take the hands in that same position and put them over your head with the back of the palms facing the ground. The hole that is made by the index fingers and thumbs will be where the cord (or sock) will go through. You will close the hole to secure the handle and cord (or knot) between your hands.
- With your hands around the cord (or knot), you will slightly pull against the handle to provide a little tension. You will then tuck your chin towards chest while elongating your spine and extending your occiput away from the body. The slight tension on the cord lines up the occiput and gives a little stretch to the cervical spine.
I hope the tanoti asana will invoke your third eye and strengthen your conscious and subconscious mind. I hope that it will give you insight into yourself as well as your surroundings. Awaken!
We are always open to comments, suggestions, and questions. Namaste.
You can also download this asana with pictures here: http://www.augustpoint.com/Tanoti_Asana_pub.pdf
Please visit August Point Wellness to learn more about this asana as well as view pictures.