Blog: Yoga, Nutrition & More

Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

Transitions ARE yoga

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Last night as I taught yoga to a room jammed full of deliciously dedicated yoginis at Healthworks, a pattern emerged. You know how sometimes your yoga teacher will cue “Inhale your right leg up then step it quietly next to your right hand?” Sometimes I do that, OK, I do that a lot. It’s rhythmic…..it’s soothing to the brain to know the flow. It’s challenging to the brain to mix it up – which I do a lot of that, too. Mechanically, but haltingly, when I stop that cue, some of those legs pop up. Not cleanly. Or smoothly. Class stops. What a teachable moment!

I haven’t done the math but yoga poses take up only a small bit of time in class. So just what goes on in that 75-minute span of time if not yoga poses? Transitions.

Break it down. Everything in red is NOT the pose. Mountain pose. Inhale arms overhead. Exhale, fold forward. Standing forward fold (uttanasana). Inhale, extend heart forward. Half forward fold (ardha uttanasana). Exhale, fold. Uttanasana. Inhale, step your right foot back. High lunge. Inhale, open your left arm to the sky, exhale and release. High lunge. Exhale, step forward and shoot the other leg back. High lunge. Exhale, step back downward facing dog………and so on. See what I mean? Yoga poses are just the exclamation point, the cream drizzling down the strawberry shortcake, the delicately designed froth atop your latte – not the juice. 

Mindfulness, smooth and steady thoughts and a quiet heart accompany a grace-filled transition. Those pauses between the poses. Those pauses we learn to grow bigger and hence, more Grace. Asana teaches us how to live off the mat, in our real day-to-day challenging conversations, confrontations, critical moments of comparison. We bind ourselves into contracted postures then breathe and relax – in other words, we find the pause of balance between simple enjoyment of life and embracing suffering. Oh yes, challenging though they be, we adore those beneficially uncomfortable yoga poses, the release of tension and tightness that crept into our shoulders, neck and hips.

Gracefully, with gentle reminders of ‘transition,’ ‘transition,’ transition,’ these yoginis infused the space with quiet fortitude, the pause between the poses growing intensely out of their bodies into the room. As the pacing slowed, the pause expanded, the energy quickened, the vibration buzzed, the frequency heightened. Yes, thank you. Boom! That’s all I know.

 

The tapestry of you – the gunas

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Reality isn’t real. Well, not in the sense that what’s happening isn’t really happening but more that our perception of what’s happening can be quite convoluted. Say that fast three times.

Let’s say you’re in conversation with someone. They make a comment you think is hopelessly insincere. You categorize the person as superficial, better-than. But over time, you realize it was just something really stupid they said and they are truly genuine at heart. That’s what I mean by perception. It’s not really the truth, but how we accept the information based on how comfortable we are in our own skin.

Reality is a heady topic. It’s divided into two catetories. Category one is The Self (aka the one who is always aware and knows) and the self (everything that comes before us, tangible and intangible, everything and anything that can be known).

In other words, the Self is the the voice that speaks to us when our own voice is too loud or soft. Aka God, Universal Consciousness, Grace or whatever you want to call it…….and the self (little ‘s’) is us, our life, thoughts, images, conversations, situations, events, all that we experience now, in the present moment, and memories past and those to be had. It’s our job, or spouse, child, bank account, grades in school.

We all are vast and expansive containers of unlimited potential – possibilities. These possibilities are made of 3 energies or qualities that balance with each other. They weave, merge, connect to each other. All that can be known in this world is the manifestation of these energies called gunas.

Guna means thread, strand or fiber. The gunas weave together not only on the larger scale to form the grandness of the Universe, but also the tapestry of our own consciousness.

What do they feel like, these gunas? (more…)

Chrysalis – A Boy and a Butterfly

Monday, August 31st, 2009

ChrysalisOne day a boy found the cocoon of a butterfly and a small opening appeared. He sat and watched it for a very long time as it struggled to force its way through a tiny opening. All of the sudden it stopped, appearing to have gotten as far as it could on its own and could go no further.

The boy decided to help the butterfly and with a pair of scissors, snipped away the last remaining bit of cocoon.  The butterfly emerged easily. When the butterfly emerged it had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The boy watched and waited for the butterfly to take flight but that did not happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with shriveled wings and a swollen body and he never did fly.

What the boy did not understand in his kindness and haste to help the butterfly was that the restricting cocoon and the butterfly’s struggle were all a part of the universal plan. The restriction of the cocoon and the butterfly’s struggle would give the butterfly strength so that when free, the butterfly could force the fluid from his body into his wings so that once free, he would be able to fly.

We all have the crysalis around us.  Sometimes struggles are what we need in our lives.  If Grace allowed us to go through our lives without any struggles, if She shattered our chrysalis, it would cripple us and we would never fly.

Like the butterfly, a deep longing arises inside us to push out against the pressures of life.  Against this stress, we become more open.  We have the capacity to draw in energy to equalize against the pressure.  We are drawn into the strength of the power of Grace. We are pulled more strongly into the brightness inside. 

 The crysalis is like a manifestation of Grace.  Without stress, we do not grow.  Offer a prayer to the spacious energy.