The new student of yoga is pleasantly surprised to find that the yoga postures are named after animals, plants, and objects: Cat, pigeon, tree, plough. But sometimes it is hard for a student to see how the name of the posture relates to the posture itself.

What we must remember is that the names are not supposed to be taken literally. Instead they are metaphors, rich in multi-dimensional meaning.

Deep in her practice, if a yogini will hold the name of the posture in her mind's eye, the fullness of the posture will reveal itself quietly.

Move away from the literal. Embrace the metaphor. The Ancients thought that was a good guide to a life of wonderment.

 Abhay Ghiara is a teacher, writer, and Gandhian economist. He studied economics and yoga at Bombay University, graduating exactly 100 years after Mahatma Gandhi. He has practiced yoga all his life.

Abhay has lectured on yoga and life in San Francisco, London, Bristol, Chicago, and Mumbai, India. photo: Maritstar

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