Celebrate World Yoga Day with the elves’ Rimgar (Dance of Snake and Crane)

rimgarToday is World Yoga Day, and to celebrate, we’re highlighting the elves’ Rimgar: a series of exercise techniques used to prepare the mind and body for battle.

The Rimgar, also known as the Dance of Snake and Crane, is a multi-leveled series of elven exercises involving stretching and maintaining strenuous positions. Originally conceived for elven Dragon Riders, Rimgar has since become the favored exercise program for all elves.

We first encountered the Dance of Snake and Crane as Eragon began his Rider training with Oromis in Eldest. While the elven Rider had mastered the technique long ago, Eragon struggled advancing beyond the first of four levels, finding his lack of flexibility difficult to overcome. Throughout the rest of the series, Eragon worked to master the second and third level of Rimgar. It’s unknown if the Rider ever managed to complete the fourth and final level.

In real life, Rimgar is similar to a sequences of yoga poses. Christopher Paolini’s official website suggests Sun Salutations as a fun exercise similar in nature to Rimgar. Originating in India, the Sun Salutations (or Surya Namaskara) are a sequence of twelve yoga movements combining physical exercise with meditation:


Sun Salutations, similar to the Inheritance Cycle’s “Rimgar”

Take some time out of your day today to try the real life equivalent of the Rimgar to prepare to become a Rider in training!

  • Nick

    For the whole “Ask burning questions about Book V” thing, here’s mine- When Firnen and Saphira mated, did Saphira ever lay hatchlings?????/

    • Mylan Young

      My burning question is, what power does the ancient language wield over the truth? Supposedly it binds people to only tell the truth, but as we can see from Murtagh’s saying that Morzan is Eragon’s father, the truth can be subjective. For example, if someone was sworn to secrecy through the ancient language, but were in fact actually just saying jierda thrysta brisingr etc. while thinking they were actually saying the oath, would it still bind them? I think I am missing something.

      • Kyle Smalldridge

        The ancient language doesn’t let the person speaking it lie. Murtagh told Eragon Morzan was his father because that was what Murtagh believed. It wasn’t a lie to him.

  • Mylan Young

    If the Rimgar is anything remotely like sun salutations, then my opinion of it has decreased tremendously.

    • Why is that?

      • Mylan Young

        Judging from the image you posted, sun salutations look very easy, and if I am not mistaken, then I personally will not have a hard time at all doing the poses. I always thought of the Rimgar as very rigorous and requiring of the utmost flexibility and strength – these are elves, after all – but if it is at all similar to sun salutations, then it must be extremely easy.

        • Well, the comment on Paolini.net relating the Sun Salutations to the Rimgar seemed to suggest that the two are only similar in nature (as I wrote in the post). The way I interpreted that was that the Sun Salutations are a good place for a person to start if they’re looking into real world applications of the idea.

          From the research I did for this post, those Sun Salutation poses look deceivingly easy. I know that I personally wouldn’t be able to do half of them without practicing for days.

          I also look at it as the Sun Salutations being similar to the first of the four Rimgar tiers. As I mentioned in the post, Eragon struggled with even the first tier and, as far as we know, hasn’t finished the fourth and final. We can use this as an indication of how challenging the Rimgar poses actually are, as Eragon is physically fit and capable, especially in the later half of the series.

          Anyway, the “too long, didn’t read” of this: the Sun Salutations are, I believe, more of a “here’s what we believe the average reader would be capable of doing in real life, at this minute, to get a good indication of the spirit of the Rimgar” and not a literal interpretation or demonstration.

          • Mylan Young

            Now I see your point. If I am understanding correctly, then the Rimgar is only similar to Sun Salutations in that they both require flexibility and strength respectively for elf and human, and that the Rimgar is like a hundred times harder.

          • Sounds about right! 🙂

          • Michael

            Are you even aware how incredibly insulting to actual yoga, which dates back millennia, this comment is? Why don’t you try it before you dismiss it as ‘easy’?

        • Sedjwick

          Speaking as someone who’s done yoga before, sun salutations are not as easy as they look. You might look at pictures of how it’s supposed to look and say “I could do that,” but when it comes down to actually doing it, you’ll find that it’s a lot harder than the pictures make it look. I still have trouble with some of those poses, not to mention the proper way to transition from one pose to the next.