The Vivaraṇa Commentary by Śaṅkara
Manuscript Trivandrum L 662 Edition: Rama Sastri and Krishnamurthi Sastri 1952 Translations: Leggett 1996; Rukmani
The commitments (yama) and obligations (niyama) have been stated, together with the special abilities (siddhi). Now we shall explain the postures and so on. A posture becomes steady and comfortable.
Posture is steady and comfortable.
One should practice that posture which produces steadiness of mind and limbs for the person who is in it, and which does not lead to suﬀering.Thus, for example: The names Lotus Posture (padmāsana), and so on, that are well known in other disciplines, are presented.
In this connection, a pure person should sip water in the proper manner in a pure temple, in a mountain cave, or on the sandbank of a river, in a place that is not close to ﬁre orwater, where there are no people, and that free from blemishes. He should bow to the Supreme Lord, the one Lord of the Whole World, the revered Masters of Yoga, and to his own teachers. Facing east or north, he should take up his position on a seat that causes no discomfort, covered with cloth, antelope skin, and kuśa grass. He should take up one of the following postures.
In this context, the Lotus Posture (padmāsana) is like this:drawing the left foot in towards oneself (pādamupasaṃhṛtya), one should then place it over the right. And likewise, the right one on top of the left. Stiﬀening (viṣṭhabhya) the hips (kaṭi), trunk (uras) and neck (grīva), with the gaze ﬁxed on the end of the nose, like a dead or sleeping person, with the cavity of the lips (oṣṭhasaṃpuṭa) closed like a box (samudgakavat), not touching the tops of the teeth with the teeth, one’s chin and chest separated by a space the measure of a ﬁst, with the tip of the tongue placed between the front teeth, with the hands on top of his heels,one makes either the Tortoise (kacchapaka) or Brahmāñjali gesture.
The posture in which one is seated, after once establishing the position in this manner, having completely given up
repeated eﬀort at a particular adjustment of the body, is the Lotus Posture (padmāsana). And all this is the same for the other postures (āsana) too. There is just a little variation (viśeṣa).
Thus, the posture in which one is seated, having placed the right foot on top of the left, and the right hand on top of the left, is the Good Fortune Posture (bhadrāsana). Everything else is the same.
Thus, in the Hero Posture (vīrāsana), one of the feet is curled in (ākuñcita), and the lower (apara) knee is placed down on the ground. In each case, I am explaining only what is special (viśeṣa)./
The posture in which one is seated with the right big toe tucked in between the left thigh (ūru) and calf (jaṅghā) so that it cannot be seen, and with the left big toe tucked invisibly in between the right thigh (ūru) and calf (jaṅghā), in such a way that the heels do not hurt the testicles, is theLucky Mark Posture (svastikāsana).
The posture in which one sits down like a stick, stretching out the feet with the ankles, big toes and knees aligned, is the Staﬀ Posture (daṇḍāsana).
Or,the Supported (sopāśraya) is with a support such as aprop or a yoga cloth ligature (yogapaṭṭa).
The Couch Posture (paryaṅkāsana) consists of lying with the arms stretched out towards the knees.
Sitting Like a Sarus Crane (krauñcaniṣadana), Sitting Like an Elephant (hastiniṣadana) and Sitting Like a Camel (uṣṭraniṣadana) can be understood from their similarity to the sitting position of the Sarus crane, etc.
Being Situated Flat (samasaṃsthitam) consists of having the calves and thighs placed down on the ground.
Steady Calm (sthitapraśrabdhi) is sitting in any diﬀerentmanner that one has thought of for oneself. And also that posture in which one becomes free of eﬀort is called Steady Calm (sthitaprasrabdhi).
And As is Comfortable (yathāsukha). As is Comfortable (yathāsukha) is that form which produces comfort for the seated person.
From the expression “et cetera” one can infer any other posture as taught by the teacher.