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Yoga Beyond the Body

The Deep Spiritual Significance of Anantasana

Anantasana is a favorite pose for many yogis, and understanding the beautiful mythology behind this pose can take you deep into its practice and its benefits.

Ananta is the one beyond time, the ultimate witness, the upholder and protector of the universe.

Ananta literally means “infinite” or “unending”, or describes someone who is timeless—beyond birth, life, death, or any other modifications—existing in a limitless state of joy and contentment. This state is embodied by the vast mythological serpent, Ananta, whose coils support the universe and who serves as Vishnu’s couch, where Vishnu rests between avataric incarnations.

It is said that whenever the universe is in trouble or danger, Ananta stirs its coils and Vishnu wakes up to take an incarnation, or avatara. At all other times, Ananta, like an ultimate witness, remains at the bottom of the ocean, untouched and unchanged by all the surface activity.

Ananta (also known as Adishesha) is an inspirational figure for all yogis. Maharishi Patanjali, the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras, is said to be Ananta’s incarnation. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita 10.29, “Among serpents, I am Ananta.”

Most of the images of Maharishi Patanjali show that there are seven serpent hoods forming a divine umbrella protecting Maharishi Patanjali. These seven hoods symbolize his mastery over the five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether—along with the attainment of samadhi and moksha, enlightenment and liberation.

According to yogic philosophy, the Muladhara (root) chakra houses the Kundalini Shakti represented by a coiled serpent—the energy that is waiting to be awakened. This asana is believed to activate the Muladhara Chakra and awaken Kundalini energy. It makes the mind calm and yet alert, providing stability and a sense of security. This pose can help us cultivate an innate sense of enthusiasm, contentment, equanimity, and timelessness.

Find Your Happy Place Now with Anantasana, or Sleeping Vishnu Pose

Practicing Anantasana or Vishnu pose takes you deep within to realize that you are infinite energy, a state of limitless joy and bliss. It inspires you to remain in a restful witness state without being caught up in the drama of the external world.

At the physical level, this pose improves balance, and stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, inner thighs, and calf muscles. Thus, this is a pose that is very helpful for runners and athletes.

Here are step by step instructions on how to practice Anantasana.

Next time you find yourself in Anantasana, remember this ancient mythology and go deep into it to experience and enjoy your real nature.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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