Osho on Shirshasana in Yoga

Osho – In the old ashrams everybody had to sleep on a rocky bed – actually also, because it helps. In yoga, your spine, your backbone, is very important, and not only in yoga but in biology also. Now biologists say man could become man because he started standing erect, his backbone erect. Animals’ backbones are parallel to the earth, only man has a backbone which is not parallel to the earth but makes an angle of ninety degrees.

This changed the whole being of man, this angle of ninety degrees with the gravitation created the possibility for the mind to develop. Now biologists say that just by standing on two feet the animal became human – because it changes the whole thing. Less blood flows in the head, so the head and the nervous system there can become more delicate and refined. When more blood flows in the head the subtle tissues are broken, they cannot grow.

So don’t do too much shirshasana. Unless a master suggests it to you don’t do shirshasana, because I have never seen a person who has been doing shirshasana who is not stupid. You will become stupid. You will become more healthy of course, because animals are more healthy; so if you are just after health, shirshasana is good, do it forever. You will become healthy like a bull but at the same time stupid also, because when more blood moves into the head delicate tissues are destroyed, and those delicate tissues are needed for intelligence. When man stood erect the possibility developed for more delicate tissues in the head.

You see primitives sleep without pillows, and they will remain primitives if they continue to sleep without pillows, because more blood flows in the night. A more intelligent person will need more pillows. He may not be healthier, but intelligence needs a certain mechanism in the mind, a very delicate mechanism. And mind is very complex; seventy million cells are there, and so delicate, bound to be so delicate, when in such a small head there are seventy million. They are very delicate, very small particles, and when blood flows fast, in great quantity, they are destroyed, they are killed.

So biologically, and scientifically also, the spine is the most important thing in man. Your head is nothing but a pole to your spine: you exist as a spine – on one pole is sex, on the other is your mind, and your spine is the bridge. Yoga worked very much on the spine, because yogis became aware of its significance – that the spine is your life. The angle of ninety degrees will be more exact if your spine is straight, so yogis say that when you sit, sit with a straight spine. They worked out many postures, asanas; all their asanas are based on an erect spine, straight. The straighter it is, the more is the possibility to grow in intelligence, awareness.

You may not have observed: if you are listening to me and you are interested your spine will be straight, if you are not interested then you can relax. If you are looking at a movie in a cinema, whenever something interesting comes you will sit straight immediately, because more mind is called for. When the interesting scene has gone you can relax again into your chair.

In the day the spine has to be erect for yogic postures, and in the night also it has to be trained to be more straight. On a rocky bed it is more straight than on a Dunlop mattress. On a rocky bed it is bound to be straight, because the rocky bed is not going to give way for it. If the spine is erect the whole night it will become conditioned to being erect, so in the day also, while walking, sitting, it will remain erect. This is good. So this is physiologically, biologically, and in the eyes of yogis, very helpful. But this is only one part of it, the other part is symbolic.

Whenever a person goes through suffering we say he is lying on a rocky bed. And the ashram is going to be a long suffering, because many old habits are to be broken and they are hard; many old patterns are to be broken and they are very fixed. Really you have to be destroyed and created again, and in between there is going to be suffering and chaos. That is the rocky bed.

With a master you will have to move through much suffering. You have got many blocks in the body and the mind; they have to be destroyed, and to destroy a block is painful. Unless those blocks are destroyed you cannot flow, you cannot become spontaneous, your energy cannot rise high, it cannot move from the sex center to the sahasrar, it cannot move to the ultimate center of your being. So many things have to be destroyed and every habit has a big pattern, its own system – it takes time.

If you are ready and you trust your master it will not take so much time, because trusting him you can pass through suffering. If you don’t trust, then every suffering becomes a problem, and the mind says, ”What are you doing here? Why are you suffering here? Leave this man, go away! You were happy before.” You were never happy before, but when suffering starts you will feel that you were happy before.

For the real happiness to happen you will have to throw all suffering, you will have to pass through it – it is part of growth. And when all suffering has been passed through, only then you become capable of bliss; for the first time you can become happy. And there is no other way.

Source – Osho Book “Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi”

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