Meaning of Guptasana
'Gupta' means concealed or secret in Sanskrit. The asana may have been termed as such because it conceals the genital organs or because students of Yoga guarded its knowledge and passed it on as a secret posture.
Yoga Texts and Guptasana
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (1400 AD), a major Hatha Yogic text, mentions that the Siddhasana is also referred to as the Guptasana, indicating that the contemporary Guptasana may well be a variant on the Siddhasana. Later texts that describe the Siddhasana do not mention any alternate name for it, except Muktasana. Presumably, Siddhasana, thanks to its high importance in the Hatha Yogic canon, had several variations devised on it, which found their way into subsequent yoga texts.
Practice of Guptasana
This is a cross between Hathasiddhasana and Muktasana so far as the arrangement of the heels is concerned. In this pose, when placing the heels, first remember to place one against the public bone, somewhat horizontal, so as to cover the genitals completely and then place the other heel across the frist near the arch of the foot. The purpose is to cover the genitals. In this the soles are tuned upward and the upper surface of the feet touches the ground instead of pressing the same against the opposite thigh as in the case of previous postures. The hands may be arranged as convenient. Hold the body straight, the spine and the neck erect.
The hiding of the two feet under the thighs and then placing the anus over the feet is regarded by some authorities as the real Guptasana. Since this is inconvenient and partly impracticable, we recommend the previous technique which is in general use.
Effects of Guptasana
Guptasana, being a variant of the Siddhasana, exercises the abductors, the flexors, the external rotators of the hip, and the ankle plantar flexors. The knee flexors are also exercised thanks to the cross legged posture. It also stretches the anterior aspect of the ankle.
Precautions in practice of Guptasana
Guptasana may be practiced either in the morning or in the evening for a period of five to ten minutes. In the case of spiritual students there is no time limit. Persons suffering from hydrocele and other complication of the lower abdomen like hernia etc should avoid such Asanas as they require the heels to be pressed against the reproductive organs and take to other simple meditative poses which are free from this technique.
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