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Yoganidrasana, Sanskrit योगनिद्रासन​ or Yogic Sleep Pose is a reclining forward-bending asana in modern yoga. It is sometimes called Dvi Pada Sirsasana, but that name describes the balancing form of the pose.

In hatha yoga, the pose, Pasini Mudra, was a mudra, a seal to prevent the escape of prana, not an asana.

Etymology and origins as a mudra[edit]

The name of this pose comes from योग​ yoga meaning "uniting", निद्र nidra meaning "sleep", and आसन āsana meaning "posture" or "seat".[1] The asana's name derives from the yogic sleep mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata:[2]

[The Ocean] becomes the bed of the lotus-naveled Vishnu when at the termination of every Yuga that deity of immeasurable power enjoys yoga nidra, the deep sleep under the spell of spiritual meditation.

— Mahabharata, Book 1, section XXI

Yoganidrasana is described in the 17th century Haṭha Ratnāvalī 3.70.[3]

The pose is illustrated in an 18th century painting of the 8 yoga chakras in Mysore.[4]

The pose is illustrated as "Pasini Mudra" (not an asana) in Theos Bernard's 1943 book Hatha Yoga: The Report of A Personal Experience.[5] Pasini Mudra is described in the Gheranda Samhita 3.84: "Throw the two legs on the neck towards the back, holding them strongly together like a noose (Paśa). This is called Paśini Mudra; it awakens the Shakti (Kundalini)."[6]

The pose appears as an asana in the 20th century in works such as the 1966 Light on Yoga.[1]


In Yoganidrasana, the back is on the ground, the feet are crossed behind the head, and the arms are wrapped around the legs and body, the hands clasped behind the lower back.[1][7] The effect is of a strong forward bend; B. K. S. Iyengar rates its difficulty as 18 out of 60.[1][8] The practice is said to warm the body rapidly.[1][9]

In Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the pose is in the intermediate series.[7]

In Sivananda Yoga, as described by Vishnudevananda Saraswati, the pose is named "Dwipada Sirasan" (sic) and "head-knee pose"; other authors treat Dvi Pada Sirsasana and Janusirsasana as quite different poses.[10]

In literature[edit]

The pose appears in Barbara Henning's 2005 novel You, Me and the Insects, where the protagonist travels to India to study with a meditation and hatha yoga master.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Iyengar 1979, pp. 304-307.
  2. ^ "Mahabharata Book 1 Section XXI". Sacred Texts. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  3. ^ Birch, Jason; Hargreaves, Jacqueline. "Yoganidrā". Embodied Philosophy. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  4. ^ Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. pp. 80, 89, 96. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
  5. ^ Bernard, Theos (2007). Hatha yoga : the report of a personal experience. Harmony. p. 128, plate 27. ISBN 978-0-9552412-2-2. OCLC 230987898.
  6. ^ Bhatt, Govardhan P. (2004). The Forceful Yoga: Being the Translation of Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Gheraṇḍa-saṁhitā and Śiva-saṁhitā. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 114. ISBN 978-81-208-2055-5.
  7. ^ a b Maehle, Gregor (2012). Ashtanga Yoga - The Intermediate Series: Mythology, Anatomy, and Practice. New World Library. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-57731-987-0.
  8. ^ Doane, Nicki; Modestini, Eddie (28 August 2007). "Get Wrapped Up in Yogic Sleep Pose". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  9. ^ Vasireddy, Nishanth Babu (31 July 2015). "Yoganidrasana". Abhyasa Yoga. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  10. ^ Vishnudevananda 1988, pp. plates 71, 74.
  11. ^ Henning, Barbara (2005). You, Me and the Insects: A Novel : Mysore, India. Spuyten Duyvil. pp. 32, 263. ISBN 978-0-9720662-6-6.