Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's the 27th Pose?

I wonder what the 27th pose would be if Bikram Choudhury decided to extend his 26 pose sequence?

In late 2002, I met and practiced with Bikram at his College of India in Beverly Hills, CA . I should have asked him then - but didn't think of the question until now.

Bikram's 26 pose sequence is well thought-out and offers a complete asana "circuit." Working in a highly-heated (100+ degree) room has it's benefits as well.

Yet, what would the 27th pose be? If 26 poses were "good enough", then why does Dharma Mitra's yoga poster have 908 asanas? Why does Light on Yoga have 602 photos of Mr. Iyengar in poses?

Supposedly, according to yogic tradition, there are over 84,000 yoga poses. Maybe as many as 840,000! And it is said that 84 poses are a must for perfect health. It was also stated that the first yoga teacher was a cat!

In the appendix of Mr. Iyengar's classic book - "Light on Yoga" he offers a 5-year program of daily asanas (That's right - I said 5-years!).
Each week the poses become more challenging and deep. If you haven't checked out the back of your "Light on Yoga" - it's time to do so. If you don't have a copy of "Light on Yoga" - get one!

Mr. Iyengar is 93 years old - (b. 12/18/1918) and has a daily yoga practice of up to 3-hours each day. He can easily hold his headstand (sirsasana) for up to 30 minutes. It is not an exaggeration to say that he has been the greatest influence in the world on yoga in the 20th Century.

Mr. Bikram Choudhury is 65 years old - (b. 2/10/1946) and is also a highly respected and accomplished yogi. I found him to be very charming and approachable. Yet I just have to wonder. What would the 27th pose be? And why isn't he telling us? He must know that 26 poses is simply a start. Right?

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