Posted on: 5 April 2013

Gouache painting on paper from a portfolio of sixty-three paintings of deities and daily life. Ten vignettes of Shaiva ascetics performing penance in two rows of five.

ca. 1820
Company School

Row 1
a) A standing ascetic naked but for a minute loin-cloth, performing panchagni tapas, i.e. 'five fires penance' standing in the sun, surrounded by four fires.
b) An ascetic, as above, stands on his hands, his eyes closed in deep meditation. His knees are slightly flexed and his feet crossed.
c) An ascetic, as above, hangs upside down from a branch of a tree.
d) An ascetic, as above, floats mid-air, his legs in padmasana. His eyes are shut; with one hand on the nose he controls his breath intake. On the ground is the tiger skin on which he was seated before levitating into mid-air.
e) An ascetic, as above, stands on his left leg, while his right leg is flexed above his left knee.

Row 2
f) An ascetic, as above, immersed up to his neck in the water of a lake in which grow clusters of lotuses.
g) An ascetic, as above, seated in utkutikasana on a tiger skin placed in the shade of a banyan tree. A yogapatta is wound around his knees and keeps them in position.
h) An ascetic, as above, stands on his head. His left hand is placed on the ground to keep his balance.
i) An ascetic, as above, stands, the palms of his hands turned upwards. A yajnopavita (sacred thread) is shown across his chest.
j) An ascetic, as above, seated in padmasana on a tiger skin. His hands are in anjali mudra, his eyes are closed.
The background of these ten scenes is a rural landscape enlineved by trees and rocks and the occasional cloud in the sky.

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Unknowingly a tendency for comparing these remarkable yogis with present day business minded spiritual marketers or the modern yogis or rishis or sanyasins or whatever!

...well, do the best with what you have, or are, or whatever!


retro eh!

Hi Naasi; That we Call Vaasi Yoga - The Secret Breathing Techniques..:)'

Hey that's my morning routine!

I love this. thank you!!!

Very interesting

This is very valuable for those of us interested in collecting historical evidence for the introduction of various asanas.

Thanks for displaying this great Yogis picture. Many are undertaking classes without real spirit. This should be the eye opener to all.

wonderful. Fourth pic from left is of the state where the yogi defies the gravitation

wonderful.......... om

original YOGA asanas