Welcome to our July newsletter. Let us know what you think…

Asanas of the Month
Article of the Month – Using Asana (yoga postures) as a Tool to Develop a Meditative State of Mind
Embarrassing Question of the Month
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Upcoming Events
Previous newsletters


Asana of the month- Padmasana
Padmasana, or Lotus pose is often considered the ultimate meditation pose. The following article is an explanation by BKS Iyengar, reprinted from Yoga Rahasya Vol 11, No 3: 2004

iyengar teaching
Padmasana is considered as the asana for pranayama. It is the pose for spiritual and meditative practices. Rishis and Munis, are often depicted to be seated in meditation inPadmasana. If Padmasana is given this very special position then much more attention has to be paid to it then just attaining the flexibility to cross the legs over each other.
If we are not flexible then we struggle and nearly fight with our legs to get them to “cross over”. If we are flexible than we just “cross our legs over”. Do we pay minute attention to achieve this yogicPadmasana wherein one can stay in comfort, undistracted for long periods of time? It was only when Guruji brought my attention to hisPadmasana that the anatomy of this asana was revealed.
The position of the feet:
In all the asanas, the “life in” the feet should in be as in Tadasana. The moment we bend our right knee to place our foot on the left thigh, the right foot becomes “dull”. The heel of the right foot seems to drag the foot down which distorts the meta-tarsal region and creates pain in the right foot as well as compresses the left thigh when one stays for a long time in the asana. The metatarsal region of the right foot tends to rest on the left thigh whilst it is the outer ledge of the foot that should rest on the thigh.
The positioning of the foot is correct only when the outer edge of the foot rests on the thigh and NOT the instep of the foot. When the foot is correctly placed, the ankle bone should not be descending down into the leg, but should clearly be visible. Care should be taken that the toes do not get distorted while the ankle and the outer edge of the foot is being adjusted.

iyengar teaching
The placement of the right foot on the left thigh.
The moment we place the right foot on the left thigh, the left muscles start to revolve inwards (from outside in). The right foot just has to be placed on the thigh and should not “distort” the left thigh. Thus while placing the right foot on the left thigh, care should be taken that there is no change in the position and orientation of the left thigh. The foot should NOT drag the thigh muscle down.
Adjusting the thigh muscles:
There is “belief’ that Padmasana is the asana of the knees and legs. But, one tends the forget that the knees are “the joints’ connecting the thigh bone through the quadriceps (thigh muscles) with the shin bone. We ignore the role of the quadriceps. As one bends the right knee to place the right foot and ankle on the left thigh, one needs to simultaneously relax the right thigh muscles. One can soften and gently lengthen the thigh muscle as one bends the knee. The left thigh muscle should also be relaxed in a similar manner as the left knee is bent.

iyengar teaching
Positioning of the knees:
The knees should be as close as possible to each other. The knees will come close only when the quadriceps do not shorten and are adjusted as described above.
Placement of the left foot on the fight thigh:
The “correct” asana can be performed only when the “other” parts of the body do not get disturbed while adjusting one part. This requires immense attention. For example, when the right foot has been placed on the left thigh and when the left foot is placed on the right; the right knee tends to drift away dragging the right foot down which in turn pulls the left quadriceps muscle inwards. The process of placing the left foot over the right thigh should be such that there is no change in the right leg and the left thigh muscle.
Such adjustments require intense attention so that the requisite anatomical parts are specifically moved and not the other. However, prior to the adjustments, one needs to know what happens to the “other” parts when a specific part is moved. To be able to comprehend this, one requires immense sensitivity to feel, identify and articulate the sensations in each joint and muscle. All these anatomical changes that take place while going into Padmasana seemed clear ONLY when Guruji explained them. Till then Padmasana only seemed to be “crossing the legs over each other”.
Even those who have stiff joints and are unable to do Padmasana, should not compromise on the anatomical adjustments in the asana to cross the legs over. They should make the same adjustments to the thigh muscles, the ankle, and outer edges of the foot. After placing the right foot over the left, if one is not able to take the left over the right, then one should not drag or pull the foot up. One can place a folded blanket underneath the left foot and gradually increase the fold so that finally the foot can easily slip over the right thigh.


Padmasana performed after being sensitive and conscious of all these adjustments brings about a correct positioning and lift in the spine. With the correct adjustments in the anatomical body, corresponding changes take place in the pranic body. It makes the asanas comfortable (sukha) and gives stability (sthira) to stay for pronged duration in the asana as required for pranayama or meditative practices. The effort required (prayatna) for going into and maintaining the asana is transformed into effortlessness. The asana then is performed as has been described in the yoga sutras i.e. sthira sukham asanam and prayatna saithilya Ananta samapatibhyam.


Article of the Month – Using Asana (yoga postures) as a Tool to Develop a Meditative State of Mind
Daniela Casotti

Essentially asana is designed to be used as a tool to assist us in developing a meditative state of mind. When we first start to practice asana it may be mistaken as a physical exercise. We have to learn to arrange our limbs and joints correctly so we can use our body more efficiently. In order to advance to the next stage and use it as a meditation tool, however, we have to acknowledge that asana is more than just a physical exercise.
Ironically, to get to this point we have to stop trying to accomplish in the pose, and just be in the pose. Our emphasis has to change from “I’m doing this pose so that I can become more flexible, or lose weight, or tone up etc” to “being in this pose I see my legs working, my arms working, my neck working, my back bending etc”. This subtle modification of consciousness frees us from the heavy burden of expectations, and allows us to genuinely connect with the present moment.

Once we have reached this stage, we can focus on the body as it is – not as we think it should be. We gain insight in how each part of the body co-operates to form alignment. We develop our ability to stay present. The more we stay present the more skilful we become at rising above our thoughts.

daniela chemo“Merely doing an asana by the body and for the body is not Yoga. Yogasana-s are to be done by the body but for the mind, for the psyche, for the consciousness and for the culturing and refinements of a human being”  Prashant Iyengar.

Photo the first one on pg 25 of yoga rahasya.

This photo is a clear example of doing an asana with a meditative state of mind. BKS Iyengar totally engrossed in his practise. A challenging posture for someone who was then in his 80’s, but look at the serenity in his face and body! (photo be Stephanie Quirk)


Embarrassing question of the month – If meditation is just about being still, why is it so hard?
Sages as far back as the 2nd century BC have mulled over this question. Many complicated books and thesis have been written about this subject. Simplified: in order to be successful at meditation, first you have to consciously and systematically ‘close the door’ to the outside world of movement. Then you have to consciously and systematically ‘open the door’ to the inside world of stillness. Sounds easy in theory, but in reality, this process is really hard to pin down.


When our mind is tuned into the external environment, we are at the mercy of our five senses. Our mind is bombarded by sounds, visuals, smells, tastes and touch. Our mind has to be constantly on the move interpreting all the barrage of information hitting it from every angle. Trying to be still when we are tuned into the external environment is next to impossible. The mind is too distracted; it comes up with all sorts of excuses to keep us on the go, all of which seem completely legitimate. When this is the case, we have to consciously decelerate the mind. Yoga Nidra is an excellent technique to do this. When practiced, it brings about relaxation, and systematically guides the body, energy and mind to slow down and become focus.


The next stage is to sharpen your ones observation skills. Refer to the above article of the month on ‘Using Asana (yoga practice) as a Tool to Develop a Meditative State of Mind’. Other techniques that can be used include watching your breath, staring at a candle flame, watching your thoughts etc. But all of them have the same basic theme: developing your ability to stay focused on stillness without being influenced by movement.


Meditation requires preparation. Staying focused, and remaining genuinely present requires an enormous amount of strength, unwavering vigilance and immense determination! Asana, relaxation, introversion, concentration, self – reflection, and contemplation are used to strengthen the ‘mental muscle’, and train the mind to be still. In the process of becoming still, we develop greater awareness. This is valuable as awareness is the key to health, higher knowledge, greater intelligence, intuition, and to uncovering our hidden abilities.


When the mind is ready, meditation occurs spontaneously. Paradoxically, the more you try to be still, the more it will elude you. Our focus needs to be on the journey, rather than the end product. Otherwise it is really really hard!

Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month

Chapter 2 verse 46
“Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit” BKS Iyengar. Light on the yoga sutras of Patanjali pg 149


Quote of the month

“In meditation, the mind is still, but razor sharp. Silent, but vibrant with energy”
BKS Iyengar

Upcoming events
Free meditation session Sunday 14th July
4pm to 5.30pm

Once a month (every second Sunday), we will be holding meditation sessions at the Yoga Room. Anyone can join us.

Normally these sessions will be completely un-guided, however this month will be a little different. We are giving away one of Daniela’s Yoga Nidra CD’s on facebook, so to start off this meditation session, Daniela will be giving you to taste of the benefits of Yoga Nidra by guiding you through the technique.


Yoga Nidra   (guided) 20 mins
Sitting Meditation   (unguided) 15 mins
Kinhin (walking meditation)  (unguided) 5 mins
Sitting Meditation (unguided) 20 mins
Kinhin (walking meditation) (unguided) 5 mins

Later, you can carry the stillness away with you, or join us for a quiet cup of tea

Bookings essential call 0438 837 244 or email


Spring Intensive with Maurice McCann 16th – 28th September.
for more information


Bali Retreat 14th – 27th October.
For further information…Bali 2013 Yoga Retreat 


facebookThank you to everyone who has joined our page Facebook page, its great to see a wonderful community forming there and contributing. This month we will be giving away one of Daniela’s Yoga Nidra CD’s as well as sharing the Asana of the month and some inspiring photos. If your yet to join you can find our page by following the link