Table of Contents
This chapter talks about yoga and biomimicry. A lot of yoga poses are inspired by nature and the natural world. This chapter tells us about some of these poses and how to practise them. It also informs us about the various benefits of these poses.
Biomimicry and Yoga
Since 2015, the world celebrates June 21st as International Yoga Day. Yoga is a culture of physical, mental and spiritual discipline perfected in ancient India. It is a complex practice, involving the mind, body and soul. It helps us improve concentration, flexibility, balance, and strength.
Biomimicry is the science of solving human problems with solutions already present in the natural world. Bio means life and mimicry means to copy. Yoga is also a form of biomimicry. In asanas or poses, we copy mountains, trees, fish, cats, and more. A few basic precautions regarding yoga practice are:
1. Beginners should practise yoga only in the presence of a teacher.
2. Asanas should be practised in a clean, airy and well-lit room with a level floor and a yoga mat.
3. The best time to practise is in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before dinner.
Animal Poses in Yoga
Bhujangasana is a beginner’s pose. Bhujanga in Sanskrit means a cobra. This pose looks like a cobra with a raised head. It helps us tone the muscles of the back and strengthen our spine, and benefits the chest and shoulders.
1. Lie face down and relax all muscles.
2. Place the palms on the sides just below the shoulders.
3. Breathe in deeply and slowly raise the head.
4. Then smoothly raise the upper part of the body.
5. Come up slowly in a smooth and flowing way.
6. Curve the spine well.
7. The navel must keep touching the ground. Hold the breath in this position.
8. Come down slowly while breathing out.
Simhasana or Lion Pose imitates the sitting position and facial expression of a lion. It requires very little effort.
1. Sit with your legs folded under so that the toes are pointing straight behind and you are sitting on your heels.
2. Keep the spine straight but relaxed.
3. Close the eyes and focus attention on the centre of the forehead.
4. Close the mouth and touch its roof with the tongue.
5. Take a deep breath through the nose.
6. Exhale while sticking out the tongue and opening the jaws. The arms should be thrown out and stretched with the fingers spread.
7. Roar while exhaling.
8. Hold the pose.
Marjaryasana is a cat pose. It stretches the muscles of the abdomen and the back and gets rid of any body-aches.
1. Start on the hands and knees so that the back is raised.
2. The knees should be positioned directly below the hips. Wrists, elbows and shoulders should be in line and perpendicular to the floor.
3. Centre the head in a neutral position, and look at the floor.
4. Exhale and smoothly arch the spine upwards.
5. Release the head toward the floor. Inhale and come back to the neutral position on the hands and knees.
Garudasana or the Eagle pose enhances the body’s ability to balance itself. It also strengthens the leg muscles and improves flexibility.
1. Stand straight on both feet. Raise the right leg and wrap it around the left leg.
2. The right thigh should be over the left thigh and the right feet should touch the calf muscles from behind.
3. Wrap the right hand around the left hand.
4. Place the palms together to resemble the beak of an eagle.
5. Slowly bend the left leg and lower the body until right toes touch the ground.
6. Try to remain in this pose.
Ustrasana or Camel Pose strengthens the back and boosts mood and energy. It adds flexibility and strength to the body and helps in improving digestion.
1. Kneel and place the hands on the hips.
2. The knees should be in line with the shoulders and the sole of the feet should be facing the ceiling.
3. Draw in the tail-bone towards the pubis while inhaling.
4. Arch the back and slide the palms over the feet till the arms are straight.
5. Keep the neck in a neutral position.
6. Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
7. Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose.
Nature can teach us a lot. Asanas or poses inspired by animals are a form of biomimicry. They help us stay healthy and make our body more flexible. This shows us that there are a lot of things that humans can learn from nature and animals. The practise of yoga is of great benefit to our life and we must try to add it to our daily routine.