Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Week of Classes

The Tuesday morning class is transitioning into a level 2 class. This is very exciting and also means that during this 1st session we are going to work on getting very solid on all of the poses that lead up to level 2. Also it means that we are going to review the principles in a way that directly applies to these specific postures, in addition to the loops and some basic nuts and bolts philosophy.
This week we are working with 1st principle: open to grace as well as the 1st yama: ahimsa.

Open to Grace is the foundation of Anusara Yoga. It embodies a Tantric worldview of stepping into the currents of Grace. It holds within it both setting the foundation and inner body bright. Both of which have everything to do with intention. Setting the foundation not only means the mindful placement of our feet on the sticky mat, but it also means the mindful placement of our hearts into the flow of Grace, into the seat of our intention. Inner Body Bright is a filling up from within, both with the breath of shakti and the rememberance of our essential self. The Self who is perfect and complete and innately worthy. So this is where we begin our practice from and also where we begin each subsequent pose. For all effective purposes, Open to Grace is the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Ahimsa is non-harming or non-violence. It is very similar to the Christian commandment ‘thou shalt not harm’. Ahimsa is the undercurrent for many animal and human rights advocate groups. In fact Jivamukti is a great champion of ahimsa for a vegan lifestyle. Already you get the idea that this is a much more complicated concept than meets the eye as it becomes an issue of personal morality. Personally, my take on the whole cruelty to animals thing in particular has much more to do with context than content. But I am also fortunate to live in an area where I live very close to and often even know the farmer who is raising the meat that my family chooses to eat. And a large part of why we make the choice that we do is because of the intimacy of that relationship. Because we can be confident that we are not contributing to the poor treatment of livestock. (It really goes hand in hand with the willingness of the community to take a stand against proposed confinement farms in our area).

However, the aspect of ahimsa that I work (and struggle) with most in my own practice is in my head. Am I being non-violent, am I not causing harm to myself within my own thoughts and self-critical dialogue. This is a tough one, but maybe the most powerful. After all it is so much easier to be kind to others when I am loving myself. It is such a fine line between pushing myself appropriately and beating myself up. So Ahimsa. For the head.

Onto the sequence of the day:

  • Sun Salutes
  • Chaturanga
  • Bhujangasana
  • Virabadrasana 1
  • Lunge Twist
  • Vira 1
  • Parsvottanasana (hands on hips)
  • Standing quad stretch
  • Pigeon
  • Pigeon thigh stretch
  • Bhujangasana
  • Purvottasana (eka hasta variation) 2-3X
  • SetuBandahasana 3X
  • Eka Pada Setu Banda
  • Dwi Pada Yogadandasana
  • Savasana


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