Definition - What does Bhairavasana mean?

Bhairavasana is an advanced asana from Ashtanga yoga. It is part of the third series of asana sequences and one of three asanas that plays with gravity. In order to practice bhairavasana yogis must have completed both the primary and secondary series of Ashtanga yoga.

Bhairava is a Sanskrit term that means "terrible" or "formidable." It is also the name of one of the eight aspects of the Hindu god, Shiva. The Western name for this asana is destroyer of the universe pose.

Yogapedia explains Bhairavasana

Different resources list slightly different variations of bhairavasana. One variation the pose is entered into from kapilasana, by releasing the grip and reclining backwards. The drishti is to the third eye. In another variation, the leg is kept behind the head, but the body is held in a side plank position. Both variations of bhairavasana require a significant degree of openness and flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

It is said that the reward of this pose is sublime serenity. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga yoga, referred to this asana as kashyapasana.

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