Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Practice of Yoga & Opening to Grace

Patanjali's first Yoga Sutra defines yoga...

Atha yoga nusasanam ... With prayers for divine blessings, now begins the practice of yoga.
Yogah cittavritti nirodhah ... Yoga is the stilling of vibrations (vritti) in the consciousness.
Consciousness (citta), is the path taken by the mind (intellect and ego) to the soul.
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The phrase "It's all yoga" was repeated to me several times this past week; when said, an air of grace was released into what could have been a tense moment. I thank all of my teachers for their patience and guidance.

There's nothing like grace to stop the mind, our intellect, and our ego from bringing up associations (samscaras) that may cause us to over react or become defensive in what we perceive to be a battle. As Patanjali suggests, through the practice of yoga -from the adherence and observances of the yamas and niyamas, to breath awareness and the proper alignment of our attitude and actions in asana- are minds can be freed from the "bad vibrations" (more samscaras) that plague us. We can develop the ability to sit in meditation- empty, yet full of grace- ready to take the path towards pure consciousness (samadhi).

May each of our paths be taken with grace...

In moments when bad vibes prevail, and when beginning asana, practice "Inner Body Bright" - the first Anusara yoga Universal Principle of Alignment:

Shine light on your path first and foremost by setting an intention to be open to grace. Recognize your divine goodness within, and shine that brightness from the inside out by actively puffing up your chest with breath and filling the back body behind your heart. Soften any tension in your heart by releasing the space between your shoulder blades; lengthen your side bodies from your waist to your inner arm pits, and plug the head of your arm bones back. Now let your heart's light shine.

We all have love and light in our hearts - just think of what you truly love in life - think of everything and everyone you love and feel your chest expand. When you walk, talk and practice yoga with your inner body bright you are opening yourself to bliss, the universal soul path. When you begin an asana bright you begin with intention and the path clears... the vritta begins to fall away and makes room for possibility.

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