In response to my post yesterday about whether it is possible to have an abortion by doing yoga, Roselil commented that in his book, "Yoga for the Three Stages of Life", Srivatsa Ramaswami quotes a verse from Sage Nathamuni giving a list of asana to be used as contraception for women (on page 222). According to Roselil, Ramaswami mentions that unless these asana are practiced from an early age so that they are mastered, they will have limited application. These asanas are: Pasasana, Yoganidrasana, Garbha Pindasana, Bhadrasana, Matsyendrasana. When these are mastered and practiced, conception will be prevented.
According to Roselil, Ramaswami also states that certain asanas are also prescribed for conception/healthy development of the fetus. These are: Purvatanasana, Dvipada Pitham, Baddhakonasana and Padmasana. In addition, Sarvangasana and Sirsasana are suggested (p 212). I am not familiar with Dvipada Pitham. Can anybody out there clarify? Thanks!
Many thanks to Roselil for providing this information :-) I thought I'll share all this here, since this might be useful and/or edifying to some of you out there.
I am not very familiar with Ramaswami's work. I did take a workshop with him in Miami several years ago where he discusses yoga practice for the three stages of life: Youth, Householder, and Old Age (I don't think these are the exact terms he used, but I think I got the general idea). I distinctly remember him saying that one needs to do different practices for different stages of life, because you really don't need to be able to jump through your arms when you are middle-aged! Hmm... if this is true, then I probably have only a few years of jumping through and jumping back left :-)
But all this is neither here nor there. Coming back to the lists of contraceptive and conceptive asana, I notice, from just taking a quick glance at the two kinds of asana, that the contraceptive asanas seem to have one common feature: They all exert some kind of strong binding pressure on the pelvis/reproductive organs. My speculation is that this serves to "bind" and "limit" the reproductive capacity. On the other hand, the conceptive asanas also seem to have a common feature: They all promote an "opening" or expansion of the pelvis/reproductive organs. Which seems, to me, to promote circulation to these organs and foster their healthy functioning, thus enhancing the chances of conception. If we go by this logic, then I suppose backbends would also be conceptive asanas, since backbends, by their very nature, promote the opening and expansion of the front body in general, and the pelvic area/reproductive organs in particular.
Roselil also wonders what happens if we practice both conceptive and contraceptive asanas in the daily practice, as we do in Ashtanga. If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to share.
I have not read Ramaswami's book, and (as I mentioned) have very little knowledge of his work. If you have anything to add in this area, please also feel free to share.