The Evolution of Namaskāra in Medieval Yoga Practice
The Evolution of Namaskāra in Medieval Yoga Practice
What every Yogi needs to know. Cutting edge revelations on the roots and origins of arguably the core Vinyasa behind the innovation of postural Yoga known today. Join me for this exciting first course in my new Yoga Vidhi Series, based on the roots and evolution of Postural Yoga, drawn from my research into more than 1,200 (unpublished) source texts over nine years.
Four 90-minute sessions for $75.00
Features 4 Namaskara sequences first ever revealed to the West from source texts.
The Vinyāsa sequence known today as Chandra Namaskara, Devotional Offering of the Moon,’ was perhaps the most sacred movement meditations taught in the Tantras, the roots of which have been lost until now. Known by various names such as the ‘Circle Sequence’ (Chakra Vinyasa) and the Vinyasa of ‘Continual Body Engagement’ (Anga-Pradaksina), this empowering practice was taught as a ‘Garland’(mala) of Flowing Body Mudras, including poses (asanas, karanas) which survive to this day.
"Around the center of the mandala, from the East, to the South, to the West, and towards the North, at each direction one should perform the vinyasa of mudras with his/her own body, at each of the directions.”
-Ajita Tantra, ca. 1000 A.D., on Vinyasa that became Chandra Namaskara
The evolution of ‘Namaskara’ in three phases of its development (over 800 years), from three unpublished Source Texts.
How Elemental Mantras and Pranayama were choreographed within Namaskara sequencing
Chakra Vinyasa - How the shapes of the Chakras became Embodied Postures in the original sequence of Chandra Namaskara
Mudra Vinyasa - How Dance and Improvisational ('sahaja') based movement came to define the practice
The Tantric Roots of Chandra Namaskara and sister sequences taught by the Mysore School, source of Modern Vinyasa-based Yoga
WHAT STUDENTS RECEIVE
Experience the power of this daily, improvisational practice as originally taught by the Tantric Masters. Learn how this sequence, based on the re-birth cycle of the moon, served as an embodied expression of affirmation, surrender, and renewal, as a means to cultivating divine Love in one’s heart, held by the Tantrics as the birthright of all beings to experience. Discover how Chandra Namaskāra as a compassion-based sādhana, and learn how it was meant to bestow blessings on others.
Session I. Navarātrī Ritual Recitation of the 108 Names of Goddess Lalitā.
Students will learn a simple version of the Self-Empowering daily ritual of reciting the 108 Names of the Goddess, names which represent the qualities of abundance, freedom, and the dissolution of lack in one’s life that the yogi wishes to cultivate. This short pūjā practice was usually performed before all daily Namaskara Practices.
Session II. Chandra Namaskāra of the ‘Tantric Warrior’ Lineage (‘Vīra Shaivas’)
The earliest evidence of the Vinyāsa practice known today as ‘Chandra Namaskāra’ are in the Tantras (ca. 1000 A.D.) of the ‘Vīra Shaivas’, a radically life-affirming lineage of house-holder Yogis and one of the first Yoga traditions to honor women practitioners. We will study passages from the Kriyasāaa by the legendary Vira Shaiva Neelakantha, one of the first authors to teach the earliest forerunner of Chandra Namaskara, known as the Vinyasa of ‘Flowing with the Body’ (Anga Pradaksina).
“Through the glorious power of Shiva, imbued in one’s body, heart, and soul through the sequence of prostrating to and from the earth in a series of daṇḍa (bending) postures, one becomes a Rājayogī, a King (or Queen) of Living on this Earth.” - Neelakantha, from his ‘Essence of Ritual Action’ (Kriyāsāra), ca. 1350 A.D.
Session III. Chandra Namaskāra of the Goddess - the Kaula TantraS
This Session, based on the Goddess (Kaula) Tantras of the East Indian Kamakhya tradition, saw the evolution of what today is known as Chandra Namaskara into a sequence of Warrior-based Postures, including sword-based sadhanas and those based on the dexterity of the archer. We will learn how the emphasis on the martial aspect of Namaskara sequencing was actually a compassion-based practice, whose purpose was first to first to destroy ignorance and suffering in oneself, and then to bestow protection and blessings upon others in need.
Tantric Sources – ‘The All-Encompassing Thrill (Of Awakening)’ – the Sarvolasa of sivayogin; the ‘Ocean of Wisdom’ (Vidyarnava) Tantra (unpublished).
“O Goddess, through this Flowing Namaskāra (pradaksina namaskara) the experience is one of Dance (nryanam). Performed regularly, the highest Beloved will manifest. Within that liberating Fire-- cultivated in the heart-- She who Personifies the Force (Shakti) of liberation, She who is the embodied Power of Perfect Insight, Rises forth. She is one’s very own, intimate Shakti (Energy). As She arises within one’s Self, she will be recognized within Others. This is the way of our practice.” - Shivayogin, from his Sarvollasa Tantra.
Session IV: Chandra Namaskāra: the Vinyāsa of Cultivating the Highest Love
Source Text: Tattvacintāmaṇi ‘Wish-Fulfilling Gem which Grants the Highest Reality’ (16 th century). In this session, we will immerse in the inspiring teachings of the Śrī Pūrnānanda, ‘He who is imbued with the Bliss of Wholeness,” a devotee of Goddess Lalitā. In his unpublished Tattva Cintāmaṇī, Pūrnānanda presents the earliest known version of modern Chandra Namaskāra, including new names for poses which have come down to us today. Led by a three-part prāṇāyāma practice, Pūrnānanda opened the door for spontaneous expression and considerable variation in the poses, similar to the Chandra Namaskāras taught in Shiva Rea’s Prāṇa Flow. Experience Namaskāra sequencing as a means to cultivating divine Love in life, through Pūrṇānanda’s prostration-based Vinyāsa cycle of surrender, re-birth, and renewal.
“This [Chandra Namaskāra practice] is a continually moving flow (pradakshina) which immerses the practitioner in a pervading flood of divine contentment. It is best performed after reciting of 108 Self-Empowering Names of the Goddess. This Namaskāra practice manifests within Oneself the Love which sustains all Life. Each time it is performed, the attainment of liberation is closer at hand….comprised of a seven-part prostration sequence done twice (14 poses), it includes (variations of) Triangle pose, six body-part or Durgā pose; half-moon pose, Daṇḍa (Staff) pose, Eight-body part prostration pose (Aṣṭāṅga Praṇāma), and the Fierce (Warrior) Pose.” - Śrī Pūrṇānanda, from his Tattva Cintāmaṇi
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