Anantasana - Sleeping Vishnu Pose
Ethymology and Synonyms
Anantasana (Sanskrit: अनन्तासन; IAST: Anantāsana) comes from anantā (अनन्त) meaning "without end" or "the infinite one". The term has been suggested as being linked to the name of the thousand-headed serpent Shesha (IAST: Śeṣa, Devanagari: शेष) upon which Vishnu rested at the bottom of the primordial ocean.
The various names for this position in English include Vishnu's Couch Pose, Eternal One's Pose, or Side-Reclining Leg Lift. Such names regretfully brings the attention away from Ananta itself and the profound symbolism of the serpent, if only that of the coiled serpent in terms of the Kundalini. For further studies one may also want to refer Anantavrata, the retual dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Start lying down on the side with the body well aligned so that balance is felt. One arm lies along the body. The other supports the head at the level of the ear, with the elbow resting on the ground. The eyes are closed unless balance is not firm or to familiarize with other aspects of the pose.
The eyes fix a point (internal or external) and the focus is on the immobility in the movement. A strong Mula Bandha is applied throughout the pose. Breathing occurs in Visamavritti following at least a ryhtm of 3/12/6. upon exhaling, grasp the foot with the free hand on the inside, the plantar part of the foot resting on the opposite thigh. Do three complete Visamavritti breathing in this first station:
Upon an exhalation, while keeping track of the counting, take the foot by grasping firmly the toes with the free hand; continue the breathing control, still upon three breathing cycles in this second station:
Upon an exhalation, pass the leg bend behind with the knees touching one another, and by slightly tilting the hips forward, towards the ground. Continue without loosing count of the breathing for three cycles in this third station:
Upon an exhalation, bend the leg while switching the grip at the level of the ankle. The leg goes towards the head aiming to form a bow. Mulà Bandha is intensified. The breathing continues in a similar fashion in this fourth station:
Finally, upon the last exhalation, loose the pose and come back to the original position. Stop the breathing control and enter in silent observation mode until normalization. Finally, roll on the stomach and inverse the pose with exactly the same focuses and gestures.
At the end of the complete exercise, enter in silent observation in savasana.