THE SAGES OF YOGA: VISHVAMITRASANA – PERSEVERANCE BY JAMIE MARTIN
Before becoming a great yogic sage, Vishvamitra was a powerful ruler. Legends say that on one of his military journeys, King Vishvamitra reached the hermitage of the great sage Vasistha. Vasistha opened his arms to Vishvamitra and his army, providing them with food and shelter. Vishvamitra was impressed by the amount of food Vasistha provided and inquired how he was able to feed so many people. Vasistha told him that the magical cow, Nandini, was responsible. Vishvamitra was awed by the ability of the fantastic animal and asked for the cow as a gift. Vasistha refused which enraged Vishvamitra who then challenged Vasistha to a battle for the cow.
Despite King Vishvamitra’s great strength, Vasistha easily defeated him with his mystical powers. The king realized that the sage’s strength was far greater than that of a mere warrior. Vishvamitra decided to renounce his kingdom and become a great sage himself through the practice of yoga.
The yogi Vishvamitra was known for his bad temper, causing him to lose the yogic powers he had obtained through much hard work and practice. He constantly became distracted but always resumed his meditation when he became aware of his shortcomings. Ultimately, the yogi Vishvamitra became the sage Vishvamitra and he embodied all the qualities of sage: patience, forgiveness, and compassion. Even Vasistha came to respect him.
Vishvamitra’s journey shows that progress in life comes through trial and error and that persistence will lead to success. The pose dedicated to Vishvamitra is a twist, standing pose, hip opener, and arm balance all in one! Because Vishvamitra’s spiritual path, or sadhana, was a challenging one, so is his pose. This asana reminds us that yoga isn’t always an easy path, but certainly one worth pursuing with perseverance and dedication.