Healing and becoming whole with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mother Earth's Great Opening


Old Hook Mountain's forest, Nyack, New York

This post has been within my thoughts for the past few weeks wanting me to have the quiet time to sit down behind the computer to write it down.

These pictures were taken in early May on Mother's Day May 8th by my husband and son Ryan while baby Krishna stayed at home with his Dadi Ma (this means Grandma on the Father's side in Hindi) for her 1st Grandma's/Mother's Day. The boys asked me where I would like to go after teaching yoga in the morning. As always the yoga fairy in me is game to head into nature and breathe in the new and fully greened trees of New York State.



this forest is alongside the Hudson River

May is always an active month for me and I'm sure for everyone else out there who is experiencing warmer weather and longer sunlit days. Between my life's basic domestic and yoga teaching demands, personally it is now time for me to research the best plants to buy and nurture in my New York City terrace garden. In May I also teach my annual Mother's Day workshop at http://www.bamboomovesyoga.com/. The physical, philosophical and healing focus of this yearly class is always in alignment with exactly what is happening in nature during May in the Northern Hemisphere along with it's effect on our body's consciousness. At this time of the year Mother Nature is in a magnificent blaze of rich life and color. So is the potential of our creative selves to blossom fully if we're open to it.

This year I co taught the Mother's Day workshop with my psychic healer girlfriend Carol Lynne Parker. I led us through yoga postures, breath work and a meditation which opened, chipped away at and started the conscious healing process of the 2nd chakra. Chakras are light energy centers that run along our spine and beyond our skull. The 2nd chakra, orange in color, is located below the navel and above the pubis. This energy center is sometimes referred to as the sacral chakra or swadhisthana chakra (in Sanskrit). This center is where we store our emotions related to our likes and dislikes mostly sexual along with our creative force.


a view along our path

After I led us through a physical and meditative clearing, Carol channeled the Mother Earth Goddess, Gaia, along with giving everyone an individual message related to healing their 2nd chakra. Gaia reminded us that she is always here for us to rest on and feel supported. She said "Why not give it a try and believe in her, nurture her and create the life you invision for yourself?" There was so much more said through Carol Lynne, but there is something about listening to channeled messages. Summarizing them never gives the message justice.You need to hear them in person to receive the wisdom and healing that is flowing in between the words that spark an understanding for your consciousness.

Days before and after this practice, I felt heat coming out from my reproductive lower body along with a whole slew of emotions and dreams related to my sexual and creative self. I've got a lot of healing to do within my reproductive body related to feelings of dishonor from past intimate relations along with creations to produce, release and share.

This workshop was on May 14th about a week after Mother's Day. Along with the heat emanating from my ovaries my spirit knocked me out even further with a huge sinus cold which started on Mama's Day.




the cold started here

The benefit of having the type of cold that puts you on your backside for a day, which happened to me the day after this photo was taken, is you get to be still and hopefully served. When you are completely quiet you can watch, in this case for me try to breathe and feel. Days after the initial knockout punch from this cold, the spacey congested feeling really worked in keeping me out of my head most of the time and connected to feeling within the present moment rather then planning my way through the days preceding the Mother's Day 2nd chakra workshop.




the view above

There is so much to feel that is new in nature in the Northern Hemisphere during May. It is a time when the God, Father Sky, and the Goddess, Mother Earth have emerged from a cold sleep of early spring to make love and create their baby, nature, with a spectacular show of color and lush green life.

My Irish ancestors celebrated May 1st and called it Beltane. I believe there's no mistake that the English
Royals, Prince William and Kate chose the auspicious date of April 30th the eve of Beltane to wed. Traditionally this time celebrates the union of couples, by dancing around the Maypole, jumping over a fire and making love. Flowers which symbolize the lovemaking between the God and the Goddess are given to Mothers. This ancient European May custom eventually evolved into America's Mother's Day.

I do remember dancing around the Maypole sometime in grade school. It's significance was never discussed back then. My inquisitive adult nature has led me to learn that the Maypole is a representation of the God's private part inserted into Mother's Earth's womb.

Now that I'm a Datwani, Indian by marriage, I always seem to have the American Irish side of me telling the Indian Aunties and Uncles I meet at family parties that the Irish and Indians from India have a lot in common. As I write this I'm realizing subconsciously my ego cuts in and says this often because the integration of being the first Blondie with a pre teen son in a traditional Hindu only family has not been the easiest love journey to take. I guess my Celts and Hindus commonality belief I share with most of the Indian family and friends I meet is to affirm that we all come from the same source. Warts and all, we are not seperate.

What I'm learning now as I go deeper into my Indian life is that the Celts long ago adopted much of ancient India's sacred rituals.



Shiva

The maypole's concept of representing male fertility is originally from India. Rather than a pole there's the "Great Lingham" a dome like shape. I remember seeing a lingham sculpture at one of the multiple wedding ceremonies Amit and I had. Look at the above image of Shiva, the great creator and destroyer.  In the foreground you will see a lingham, an adorned dome. By the 15th Century most of Europe adopted this phallic image, called it the maypole and decorated it with ribbons and flowers similar to India's lingham.




tunic vintage from London http://www.monsoon.co.uk/

I'm wearing green and brown to celebrate Mother's Day as the day of the great Goddess, Mother Earth. I also chose to wear this tunic because I like it's lightweight semi sheer fabric. Also seen in an April post "Bird's Eye View."Earlier in the day I taught yoga in a Hindu temple, the Sadhu Vaswani Center in Closter, New Jersey. I felt it was only appropriate to keep my tunic on in this sacred space while guiding the practice. For this reason I opted for this movable fabric.



My Father in law's Guru

There are several Sadhu Vaswani centers throughout the world where Dada (which means Grandfather in Hindi) graces everyone with centering, pacifying and life enhancing wisdom. If you've never been in the presence of a living light master you just may want to. Being in the presence of a human angel like Dada is very inspiring and humbling to the ego.

He turns 93 (or is it 94?) this August. His ashram is in Poona, India. Despite his earth age this light master can still do a little touring and teaching. Amazing! You can visit http://www.sadhuvaswani.org/ for more details on Dada.

For the yogis, he and Swami Satchidanada, founder of Integral Yoga, spent a lot of time together.



Warrior 2 legs


All the previous sexy talk is because my Warrior posture focus at this time is on opening. Just in time for nature's high spring rebirth of vibrant green color. In earlier posts "Brown Sugar Magnolia" I highlighted the precision details of where you place your hands and feet in Warrior 2 pose. Being precise while practicing postures allows our mind to cut through the extra chatter and focus. In "Joan of Arc-The Warrior Saint" post you can connect to the wisdom of being a gentle warrior who's confident and strong while offering an open heart by way of a mini back bend. In an earlier post "A Peaceful Warrior" very few words are needed as you see the great non violent leader Gandhiji holding a peaceful protest sign stating "No More Islamophobia" in Union Square, New York City.



making sure my back arm is level to my back shoulder 



These days my yoga teaching is primarily focused on teaching Basics classes. Years ago I was the fast paced person who loved a strong practice as well as teach one. I've come to realize that being rajasic, Sanskrit for fast, all the time made me more of a Speedy Gonzalez. To balance, to heal and change my personal behavior I decided to bring it down several notches in my personal yoga practice and teach mostly Basics classes. The result has been outstanding for me personally. I now have more energy, time to do what I love, write and for the most part my old injuries are clearing. Also I've come to meet so many new people who will only come to a Basics level class. While when I only taught fast and advanced classes I kept on seeing the same people year after year with every so often a new face. The cool part is that students who studied hard core style with me in the past have been filtering into my Basics level classes, feeling great results and are sticking with it too.

Basics class is not easy. In fact they are very deep. Rather than rushing through poses there's more holding, analyzing and breathing in each posture. I always offer add on options for the hyper bendy, super strong and encourage everyone that if you can't breathe or turn the corners of your lips up while in a pose back off and return to the yoga zone. A balance between being not too tight and not too loose.



a modified extended side angle


What made me open to change from being a fast paced lady was feeling how most days ended in pure exhaustion, wanting a new life where my yoga practice and yoga business was not the only thing I had going on. Bringing my family, my interests and my overall well being under the microscope to reanalyze and rearrange is not easy to always maintain perfect balance. My old and deep fast paced behavioral patterns always wants to creep out and get some attention. What counts the most is that I was finally open enough to be curious to see my ways and change it a bit.

There's way more to go!




open your chest and gaze towards the sun light


I discovered if life is only about being in the love, love love, being veg, veg, veg, positive, positive, positive frame of mind... then you are not open. You are then stuck in the belief system of this is the way I will operate and that's it. Being sad, crying, angry, jealous, attached and wanting a little crab cake (my veg weakness) from time to time is all part of being human.



the view over my modified extended angle pose


As you sit in a yoga pose and gaze above as I am here, feelings of heat from holding this difficult sun pose and a little anger wells up for me. Anger is what I'm working on. Rather than numbing this feeling and ignoring it, I watch it. It doesn't mean I'll act on my anger instead I take my next inhale and breathe it in then I release a bit of it the best I can with an exhale. This is where the healing comes in. You see if I rushed through this posture and didn't pay attention to what comes up for me then I'm just doing a yoga glorified exercise class. Instead I've learned it is most helpful for me in the ascension process to slow it down, to feel everything that comes up, breathe it in, release it little by little, heal and watch my personal feelings of anger transform into something else.



back view


Warrior poses and in this case I evolved my warrior into extended side angle pose stimulate every part of us. However most of our energy is drawn to our lower body activating our 1st, 2nd and 3rd chakras. Our get up and go survival centers.



try to turn out the front bent knee's thigh bone from the hip


The 1st chakra, the base of our groin, is where we store our issues with Mom and Dad. As well as our issues with our money and home. This is where my anger sits.

And then it moves up to my 2nd chakra.

Our 2nd chakra, sacral area, is where our likes and dislikes are formed, mostly sexual along with our ability to create. Imagine...you would love to try cooking a new recipe. Doing this will take a little extra effort. Wouldn't you be unmotivated to cook this extravagant meal if you didn't like your mate? Here is where our creativity can be stifled by disliking our mate.

Our 3rd energetic center, located above our navel, is where our will power and our ego forms. Including our most obvious intuitive cues. Has your gut feeling ever told you yes or no?



expand and open to the sky on your inhale, exhale and feel the ground


Teaching Basics classes have introduced me nearly every class to a student who whispers to me that it is their first class and they are very tight, weak and out of shape. Each time I hear this I relay to them that yoga is not just about being flexible, strong and having a fashionable body. It is about doing opposite things that you would normally do in order to make an opening, heal yourself and to feel balanced. Let's say you are about to open a water bottle. You need to twist the cap in the opposite direction of the bottle to open it. You see, if you move in a opposite direction an opening occurs. So if you're tight, bendy, strong or weak you can benefit from practicing yoga if you focus on doing the opposite of what you are while practicing.

The tight person needs to not self judge and practice a little gentleness while concentrating on their breath in a forward bend.

The over flexible yogi needs to soften their knees and elbow joints while in postures.

A weak person needs to show up more often and focus on taking a few more breaths while practicing postures.

A strong person needs to put a little less effort into the heat activating postures and practice melting longer in the cooling postures.



Peaceful Warrior with a half bind


Since Warrior postures are fire postures adding a little heart opening by wraping my back arm behind me stimulates a little softness in my attitude and an opening within my 1/2 bound shoulder.




shades http://www.forever21.com/






modified extended side angle with a 1/2 bind



Here I've transitioned into a 1/2 bound extended side angle.






Notice how my front leg's fingertips are not touching the floor. This makes my core body turn on deeply because I'm not sinking into my hand for support.




bracelet http://www.lailarowe.com/



If you need to modify a bind to ease your shoulder keep the finger nail side of your hand on the bent knee's buttock.




tights http://www.americanapparel.com/
 

Notice a full bind. The top hand is in jnana mudra. This hand gesture symbolizes wisdom. I'm very flexible therefore I soften my elbow joints while breathing in this extreme heart opening variation of extended side angle.






Although this is a demanding posture specifically on the legs as they ground and open, the back bend gives me a completely opposite feel of receiving space, light and love. This opposition helps to extinguish a bit of my anger.





The most basic and common definition of yoga is the union of opposites. Bringing opposing forces towards each other to make an opening.





ring http://www.accessorize.com/


My hand unwinding from a bind to the sky.






My feet pushing downward  in opposition.







Feeling light and grounded at the same time.







As I pushed down to lift out of the pose I lost my balance. Practicing on grass with sandals has its challenges.








Ryan led us through a trail.



peace


Look at what we found in the woods. Is this what happens when opposites attract? A clearing and space for peace. I hope so because as much as most of us love to believe that we are integrated and not separated, I feel based on what I witness as I trek through my daily life in New York City to New Jersey and back, we still have a long way to go.

Have courage Open warriors!