Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Work is Never Done

The equinox has come and gone, marking our portal into fall and winter. Since the beiginning of summer, the solstice, I started a creative project to track transformation in my garden space and in my practice; because the two are an expression and reflection of my Self. My goal in my practice was to do full natarajasana. My goals within the garden space, was to create beauty, to create a private patio space (deck), to build a luscious garden and watch it grow and produce. To this date I have not gotten into full nataraj (I may never, and I am learning to be okay with that). I have a beautiful garden and space, that is still in a process of transformation. A garden is never “done”. As our yoga practice is never done.

How does this reflect my inner self?
To be in full nataraj the upper back needs to be flexible and strong, thighs open, shoulders open, and front body sooo open. I have this place in my back that is stuck. Right in the middle, below my shoulder blades. It is the place in my body that mostly communicates to me. When its painful, when it feels like a rock in my back...I know I have been mentally or emotionally stressed, or I have been eating too much refined sugar and flour, or too much alcohol (even a couple of drinks is too much) or all of the above. Energetically this space is connected to the heart. And the heart chakra is the place in which we connect with each other. Where we can allow the circuit of give and receive to flow. It is the home to joy and to the smile that expresses it. This is also how we connect with our community of friends, family and colleagues. I’ve been working on this. Learning how to open up to others in a real authentic way. This is not easy for most of us; when we live in a culture that makes it easy to isolate and separate ourselves from each other and difficult to depend on each other for the support that we really need.

There is so much more going on with nataraj, the cosmic dance of Shiva. It is most challenging, and emanates ultimate balance of strength and grace. Through the process of some deep healing of my spine, I have realized a weakness in holding myself up. In times of stress or discomfort, my shoulders roll in, chest folds in, core collapses and I miss an opportunity to transform and grow stronger because I am essentially shutting down. So for me, there are other things that need to happen before experiencing nataraj. Cultivation of strength in lower belly (lifting up), flexibility in mid and upper spine and shoulders, open heart, and dedication to the practice in times of difficulty and ease.

Nataraj will remain a goal. As will a beautiful sacred garden space. Both require devotion; patience; constant weeding of unnecessary, non-beneficial plants that are in competition with the more desirable ones; years of cultivating fertile ground; recognition of patterns and an open receptive heart.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Strong Foundation, Light Heart

There is a subtle urgency happening; watch the birds, the bees, the animals, even the plants as they soak up and store the suns energy in its seed. The early morning chill tells us it wont be long before the wind pushes us to stillness and a freeze jolts us into dormancy. And the people...we scurry to save food, gather to celebrate, run around trying to get "it" all done before the anticipated cold wraps around us. Through all this I feel drawn to the Earth and all its harvest; I crave stability in daily and weekly rhythms. Lately, I have been staying with poses longer, taking in a more deep breaths, finding stillness.

Just as we prepare our home, the container of our daily living, for rain, snow, and cold. I am looking to strengthen the vessel that holds my interior Self, such that I am protected from the harshness of winter and can safely allow vulnerability of the emotional and mental bodies to come forth.  I am looking forward to the journey inward, and cultivating tapas in a grounding, energizing sadhana that will sustain me through fall, winter and early spring.

The sadhana looks like this: backbends, backbends, and more backbends!

Strong Foundation
Poses that strengthen legs, especially the inner thighs and pelvic region, help us to find deeper connection to Earth, strengthens our foundation for backbending, and helps to ground and find steady flow of prana rising from below, and further awakens our embodiment.
Key asanas: virabhadrasana 1 and 2, anjaneyasana, ardha candrasana, parsvakonasana, ekapadarajakapotnasana variations.

Light Heart
Lessening the intensity of the inner self. Poses that lengthen our sides, lengthening the spine, and open the chest and shoulders help to lift "the load", creating more space for light.
Key asanas: gomukasana, dhanurasana, anjaneyasana, salambasana, bhujangasana.

Jai ma!