With Spring in full force, it’s time to bloom. While taking a walk to get fresh air the forest, grass, and ferns, all paint a vibrant green on the mind’s eye. It is through our observations of these spring time changes that we become a witness to Grace. Joy seems to come easily from this season of noticeable rebirth. Our hearts can be thought of as the seeds which are sowed. With our ability to crack open our hearts, and grow we are able to feel more and think less. But, how do we break free from all the confines of our heart? Patanjali explains we must practice yoga daily, for a long time, with devotion and all earnestness. He does not explain how long, but that it is for a long time, and this will eventually lead to liberation. Prakriti or the nature of things is also explained. He states you must first fully understand Nature completely so that you can properly handle it and rise above it. You can’t run from Nature because it will always find you. Like going to University you study Prakriti and earn your undergraduate degree, but the seeds of desire and attachment are still within, and you are still confined. You are not yet liberated, so you decide to go back to school and study Prakriti learning to master how to leave behind all desire and attachments. It is only at this point, when fully understanding Nature do you leave Graduate school. Now you have become a jivamukta, which translates to a sage who is liberated from all bondage. (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) For most, getting to this level takes getting schooled, repeatedly. It’s not easy to leave all desires and attachments, especially when stuck in a rut. Life is full of changes, and with each change comes challenges and choices to make. Your choice of how to act will either bring you closer to liberation or forever stuck in a rut and bound. From the Jivamukti month focus… consider this…
Before you undertake any action ask yourself, “Will this action get me closer to the essence of life, or will this action only mire me deeper into ignorance?” Sometimes this is a very difficult decision to make, and we rarely have the time to sit and ponder our next move. That is why a yoga asana practice seeks to reveal unconscious tendencies and habits of mind that keep us running the same treadmill, unfulfilled. When unconscious tendencies become conscious we are awarded with a moment of deliberation before we react. Unconscious tendencies are replaced with a new structure for movement that is in alignment with the forces of the Earth. The geometry of the yoga asana practice opens the subtle pathways throughout the body and mind to the flow of prana, gravitation, levitation and electromagnetism. The fearless application of yogic techniques reveals the meaning of life – to live as a conduit of Universal Consciousness and become a “knower of The One Thing.” Living is the meaning of Life. (David Life, Jivamukti.com)
My teacher Tina James explains “yoga is not for everyone, it is for those who wish to be liberated.” So you have the choice. Remember…
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, It just blooms”
This is the centering thought that may bring the answer to how long you should practice yoga until you fully bloom. Teaching Notes:
- Focus on Ujjayi breath to stimulate the inner fire, and help focus the mind inward
- Meditate on letting go of past and future and developing appreciation for the grace in the immediate moment. This is a perfect moment. Nothing is lacking. There is no other place or time than this moment. The moment is a moving celebration. Instruct the use of the Let-go mantra. “Let” on inhale, “Go” on exhale. (As From the Jivamukti month focus)
- Practice heart opening asanas – camel, bridge, wheel prep, full wheel, standing backbends, variations of lunge with backbends, mermaid, and maybe even king pigeon.
- Create a ceremonial bonfire – meditate, dance, jump through it, repeat mantras, make music, or simply stare at the flames in awe of its magnificence.