Here in the heart of winter, bitter dry winds, cold rainy days, or a sense of heaviness and stagnation are often the hallmarks of this dark time of the year. This is a prime time to focus on wellness for body, mind, and spirit; and, to deepen our relationship with self, spending time in meditation and self-exploration.
This month we will practice Bhastrika pranayam, stoking the fire residing in our solar plexus–the Manipura Chakra. This fire warms us, and lends steadiness and flow to our vinyasa practice as we release stuck energy and patterns. Ultimately, the vinyasa practice prepares us to simply sit.
In the Modern Western Yoga practice, we have come to associate the flow of poses practiced as ‘asana.’ The direct translation of ‘asana’ is to ‘take a seat.’ If we can achieve a sense of steadiness and ease in each pose, then it could be said we have achieved ‘asana.’ But…….
“By tradition, the conditioning asanas of hatha yoga were practiced in the service of the meditation postures: they provided enough suppleness and strength for the yogin to remain in a meditative posture–usually the lotus posture–with steadiness and ease for a long time.” [Elliot Goldberg, ‘The Path of Modern Yoga’]
Once we have released the disturbances that arise from the physical body, our contemplative practice begins. A still body allows us to move our attention inward and witness the flow of phenomenon–thoughts, feelings, sensations, sound, breath. As the mind begins to settle we experience the pauses and quiet spaces in between thoughts, sensations, and breath. The pauses, gaps, are where we ultimately connect with the awareness that resides behind it all. Those are the golden moments we seek!
Let’s breathe, and flow, and sit together, shall we?!
See you on the mat!