Brief spotlight on Kukkutasana (cockerel pose)

The first in our series of ‘brief spotlights’ on different animal asanas…
Non-human animal:
  • The chicken is the closest living relative of the T-rex! Chickens are descendents from the jungle fowl of SE Asia.
  • Cockerels are renown for their dawn “cock-a-doodle-doooooo” calls.
  • There are now more chickens in the world than humans (vastly hidden away in huge sheds), due to our exploitation of chickens for meat and eggs. Sadly, cockerels have long been used in cockfighting around the world.
  • A cockerel is a young male chicken, so this posture may inspire us to connect with more masculine energies within and around ourselves.
  • Cockerels are associated with the sun and the dawn of wisdom. They are associated with an assertive quality.
  • This posture features in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (a 15th century text on hatha yoga). The hands and forearms represent the feet and legs of the cockerel. Let us begin or continue the process of de-othering and connect with chickens!
  • Within the human animal body, this posture activates the shoulders, wrists and arms. The core also strongly contracts to help lift the legs. The chest puffs forward. NB: images do not portray the posture to its fullest expression.
  • If it is a struggle to squeeze the arms through the legs, you can place the hands next to the thighs instead. If padmasana (full lotus) is not available, you can simply cross the legs or try with just one leg bent in if required. You can even sit on a chair and push down onto the chair with your hands, still imbibing the other qualities behind the physicality of the posture. Even if no lift is observed, you are still benefiting from the pushing and heading in the same direction. Direction over position! Visualizing the posture is also always an option.

Introducing our newest patron…

Long-standing yoga and movement teacher/mentor and imminent author Leonidas Peppas is the latest new patron of Animalia Asana®:

Embracing all that has come before us can help us to appreciate who we are as a species, to deal with the human condition and to respect the profound teaching that process has to offer. This can help us to become ecological human beings that are more at one with nature and to find the wisdom this humility provides. Understanding who we are can develop from an awareness not only of what makes us unique, but also of the commonality we share with animals. Much of what we have to learn simply comes from honoring what already is. Appreciating the nature of life can support our creativity and thus our intelligence can shine and differentiate.“ ~ Leo Peppas

Leo has created some stunning imagery around some of the animal yoga postures. He is kindly sharing these with Animalia Asana. We look forward to his forthcoming book, which is keeping us all in suspense and is sure to offer as much inspiration and grounding for our explorations into the animal element within yoga. Leo offers mentoring programmes for other yoga teachers and shares specialist workshops on the asanas and the ir origins (developmental movement patterns). We all have to wait patiently for his visit to our own respective countries or save up to visit another country he is due to share his valuable insights with… exciting! Take a look at some samples of his work. Thanks so much for your support, Leo!

New Animalia Asana® teacher alert!

Congratulations to Karen as the newest Animalia Asana® teacher seeking to dedicate some of her teaching to raise the profile of animal protection in all corners of society and alleviate the suffering of all animals, humans of course included!  🙂

Karen is based in Suffolk and keen to even introduce the multifaceted animal element of yoga to chair yoga!

Welcome aboard!

Animating Samadhi by Dr Valpey, aka Krishna Kshetra Swami


Animating Samadhi full essay

This paper seeks to move us beyond the commonly held images of Hindu (and Jain) traditions
associated with animal protection, namely, the principle of ahiṁsā (non-harming) and the
worship of the “holy cow.” Approaching the theme of animal protection through Yoga theory and
practice, which in turn draws from the ancient Sāṅkhya darshana (philosophical vision), my aim
is to show how important features of Sāṅkhya-Yoga could help to address the urgent crisis of
animal exploitation and environmental degradation.

The central argument of this paper is that Yoga traditions, in their acknowledgement of
consciousness as foundational to existence as a whole, provide processes and methods for
elevating individual human consciousness in ways that have direct bearing on collective animal
and human well-being. These processes and methods are informed by Sāṅkhya’s triadic modal
mapping of consciousness: Of the three modalities of behavior and experience, the luminosity
and balance of sattva-guṇa is favoured over the passion of raja-guṇa and the inebriety of tomaguṇa.
From this perspective, among animal species, cows are considered to be representative
of and characterized in their behavior by sattva-guṇa. Hence their protection by human beings is
understood as integral to both the cultivation of sattvika (illumined) consciousness in human
society and the expansion of what may be called the “circle of protection” that is the basis of
human civilization.

By seeing animals in general as sensate, conscious beings that are progressing on the
path of Yoga, the ultimate aim of classical Yoga practice – the attainment of samādhi (perfect
absorption) — takes on significance for animal-human relationality, extending Yoga’s potential
for environmental healing far beyond the pursuit of individual yogic accomplishment.

Research survey for yoga teachers launched!