Monday, June 28, 2010
Photo by Sol Dust Love
As a teacher I attempt to say things more clearly and precisely without killing the effectiveness of what I am trying to articulate. I like the wisdom of Rene Daumal's take on this.
"It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content... it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble, and from babble to confusion."
Monday, June 21, 2010
Yoga Mala is a practice that Yogis enjoy during each turn of the seasons. Cleansing, challenging, and gratifying, the 108 sun salutations of Yoga Mala allow us to begin the new season with a meditative and awakened state of body and mind. There are many reasons that we practice 108. There are 108 Upanishads, the anciets Vedic texts. There are 108 beads on the Mala prayer bracelets. There were originally 54 sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet, which doubled is 108.
I started practicing Yoga Mala about ten years a go and have been in love with its powerful message ever since. Four times a year I come to my mat and move through Surya Namascar A, the first group of sun salutations in the Ashtanga primary series. I always find the first fifty four to be the most challenging as my mind frantically tells me to stop and do anything but another fifty four sun salutes. As my mind becomes quiet and the flow of my breathing takes over, this practice becomes enchanting, better yet, meditative. For today's summer solstice I will step onto my mat with a student and good friend of mine and we will welcome in summer 108 times!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In my afternoon class yesterday was a seemingly aware young woman who informed me that although she heard my suggestion to lift the inner arches of her feet she just couldn't. Really? She had such a lovely body full of potential but her energy died at her feet. She had accepted the base of her body as dead, useless, ugly. Just two pancakes that hang out at the end of her ankles. Her embarrassment towards her malformed feet lived in the rest of her structure. She struggled to find grounding through her legs and stability in her spine. When we cannot connect with our roots it becomes very difficult to adjust and grow. Sadly this is a common response from students when given an adjustment during an advanced Yoga class. The thinking seems to go: why should I feel like I can change such a body structure? I'm well into my thirties, an advanced Yogi, and have already had one surgery.
Again and again I walked over to her and lovingly touch her inner arches to find her flinch every time I got close. She hated her feet. She hated me noticing them. So I decided to love them. Quietly I listened to her tell me why she would not lift them, why it was useless to even try. I decided to agree and instead ask her to lift her inner ankle bones. She gave me an awkward look and then lifted her inner ankles seemingly effortlessly. Attached to her inner ankles were the inner arches of her feet. Her flat collapsed feet followed suit and lifted with her ankles. Amazing. Her feet looked nice! We both smiled and I reminded her throughout class to lift her inner ankles/inner arches and I saw life begin to sprout in her feet and legs and spine.
As Theresa Bertherat writes in ' The Body Has Its Reasons' "... it's never too late to offer your body the time to pause and re-evaluate itself. It requires a little bit of humility, but you're amply rewarded by the joy of moving with grace and precision, of making full, round gestures, of rediscovering all the sensations in a body free at last to live its real life."
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Perspective. Through my twenties it was a thing I rarely applied. I was interested in fighting reality and forcing my way through life's ups and downs, allowing each event, each confrontation or hardship, to be swallowed up and stored in my digestive track. Ouch! The lesson each life event would produce, whether negative or positive, would get lost in my attachment to control the outcome.
There are few things in life which are under our control but I strongly believe our perspective is. Epictetus wrote " Our hopes and fears sway us, not events themselves... Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions..."
Whether sitting with heartbreak, a transition in your career, or moving to a new city, hold close your perspective and the potential lessons that lay brightly beneath the events surface. Expansion is always around the corner!