Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sat Nam.

Some things attributed to Buddha:
"All that we are is a result of what we have thought.We are made by our thoughts; we are molded by them."

What does it take to change our minds? They sometimes spiral in a direction we don't want them to go; but once spiralling, they gain momentum and we become slaves to them. The mind can spiral downward or upwrad. Changing the direction of the spiral is linked to the breath; change the breath and change the mind.

We began class with a simple breathing exercise based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. He said to change the mind, inhale deeply, retain the breath for seven seconds, then exhale slowly. While holding the breath we repeated one of our tune-in mantras, Lokha samastah sukhino bhavantu - May the whole world be happy, and may my thoughts and actions contribute in some way. We spent a few minutes with this exercise before we officially tuned in. This was followed by kaplabhati and nadi sodhana for several rounds each. Our opening ensure the upward spiral of the mind!

Asana began with a soft uttanasana, deepening as we held it. It's a semi-inversion which prepared us for sirsasana, the headstand. After that, we returned to uttanasana. Each of these was held for about two minutes, three for those who could hold the headstand that long.
A standing sequence to open the hips, stretch and strengthen the spine was next. We did warrior 2, triangle, twisting triangle, parsvokonasana, twisting parsvokonasana, and wide leg forward fold. Then came balances - 2 eagles, 2 dancers, and a tree (sounds like a fairy tale).

Reminders to check in see where the mind was spiralling came often here, due to the challenge of balancing poses. No matter how "well" they're performed, the after effect feels like the legs were deeply massaged.

Cow's head arms accompanied the next forward bends to prepare the shoulders for handstand. handstand was practiced three times, 10 breaths each. Child's poses sandwiched 1/2frog, two bows,and two camels.

Then came the forward bends - wide leg seated forward fold, double pigeon with cow arms (we called it the freak of nature), and paschimo., the full seated forward fold. We then completed our inversions with shoulderstand, plow, and fish.
We lied down and did our favorite reclining twist, knees to chest, and then fell back into a deep savasana. At the end, we returned to the first breahing exercise with the mantra. It was a hot evening outside, the sun setting earlier, the room filled with calm and focussed sadhakas.

If you don't have time for the asanas, please be sure to practice the breathing exercises and meditation at home. And please call me if you have any questions regarding how to adapt these practices to suit your needs and environment. Love, Rosie

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