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I am baking a pie. Lately, besides Asana my tools for Yoga practice have been making things. In the fall I get a hankering to make pies. One summer I traveled for 2 weeks in late august visiting people on the east coast and baking pies for them. It was a great trip! Today I start mixing the fruits and I realize that every thought I am having is being absorbed into the pie. The work of Masaro Emoto (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8 ) is a clear example of how thoughts create a certain type of crystallization in water. Certainly the thoughts we are having while making a peach pie will reflect the molecules in the pie. With this in mind I put on some music that uplifts me. Many times it is Yoga chants and music but it can also be music that I love. And then similarly as I do when I focus my attention on Yoga or painting I bring this awareness and attention to my pie! Full attention and awareness with out judgement equates LOVE. Not the possessive passionate love we feel for one another, although it is part of that. That has a different spin and is a wonderful thing, but this LOVE comes from being present and receptive to what it is you are focusing on. Whether it is a person who you are listening to or a pie that you are making. I took one of my blueberry and peach pies to a party last week and everyone was asking what was in it and I replied “ I made it with LOVE” , (I actually stole that line from ‘Like Water For Chocolate’, a very passionate movie about cooking and love).
This kind of Yoga practice is not the deep kind of quality one can get while sitting in meditation or practicing breathing exercises, but it is a way to ‘still the mind’ (Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha) http://www.yogajournal.com/article/philosophy/intro-to-yoga-philosophy-sutra-school-1-2/
This is the second quote from the ‘bible’ of sorts for the Yoga practice. The next verse goes on to explain that with this quieting or cessating of the mind one can experience the vastness of our consciousness. For me that takes a quiet seat in meditation or in nature walks, but this conscious listening of sorts helps me to bring more love and acceptance into my world. With a tool like a creative practice or an asana practice we can make the molecules more beautiful in the world and perhaps make someone else’s meditation a little easier to step into as the quality of happiness and love expand throughout the neighborhood and ultimately the universe!
Happy Pie making!
Upon waking in the morning instead of giving into the voices that are constantly tugging away at our energy think to yourself “I am Loved”. All the way until you brush your teeth. As the day goes on and you find yourself thinking some anxious thought about someone or something that distresses you fill the space with “I am Loved” or try “We are Loved”. Both are good and have different sensations. “I am Loved” Fills you from the inside out and “We are Loved” fills you from the outside in. The more you feel ‘love’ inside the more you can share and give. Try it!
When we create and develop an artistic language whether it is a yoga flow or painting or music, we are using that medium to dive into a flow of creativity and ‘love’. We usually need some sort of vehicle to access this creative potential. Once the language of our craft is developed we are able to access our creative space. It is like our surfboard on the waves of ‘love’. This love is always everywhere, but is sometimes easy to miss. Listen deeply, watch closely and observe fully. Once it is established you will no longer need the tool. The flow is always there. If you are not an artist you can use the arts as your vehicle. Experience the awe in watching an Olympic game, Look closely to paintings and the language in the markings and flow of color and light. Read poems with time to reflect and absorb, listen deeply to the music that you love. This love is in every breath you take. Feel it, experience it.
August 7, 2014
I was recently asked by one of my colleagues to teach a workshop on Ashtanga yoga and Ayurveda. How the Ashtanga practice can affect the 3 Doshas or constitutions of each type Vata Pitta and Kapha.
With the recent passing of my father, these past weeks have been so informative of the healing power of Yoga and my daily Ashtanga practice. I won’t have to do any research, just being present in my practice has been informative enough.
Before this experience I thought that when someone old dies we are all ready for them to go so it won’t come as a shock or be too depressing or hard to take. But it hasn’t seemed like that for me. My father basically died of old age. His bodily functions stopped working one by one. I saw him almost every weekend for the last year while he was sick. Commuting from Philly to Baltimore to support not just him, but also my mother, who at 87, had been taking care of him. The sorrow I have been feeling over these past weeks has come as quite a surprise to me. Some times I don’t even know why I am crying, but can’t stop. When people ask me about it I almost want to tell them, stop now…you don’t know what flowing river you will be releasing. I find myself searching for ways to feel connected and grounded in my body and in my community.
Energetically this is a similar experience to what I had when I was in NYC during 9/11. The first Chakra was blown away along with the 2 towers for most of us. Like your head was floating in the clouds with out your body. This experience of loosing my father felt un-grounding like that. Loosing my roots, my spring board. Where I came from. Who I could fight against or disagree with or go to for spiritual guidance or understanding. The ‘Mat’ was a source of refuge.
The Sun Salutes are like this:
Downward dog is so grounding, your hands and feet are in the earth. Sensing the energy that can come up from the ground through the weight of your fingers and fingertips on the floor.. Looking to your navel…back into the center, into your own center. Feeling the force of the navel lifting and pulling towards your spine as you spring your thighs towards your lower belly , and lift your hips for a jump forward as you inhale the breath. That moment when you are totally engaged and centered and absorbed into your core. When so much else is falling apart, dissolving right in front of you it means so much more now. A ‘moment’ when all of the parts are flowing together in sync; it is like…. experiencing ‘eternity’. In a remote instance when nothing else exists and all things flow together as one. This is an experience I have also had while painting. I remember that experience and it holds me for …..ever. Landing forwards on the mat I fold over in respect to the higher power that I am in so much need of right now. wether that power is inside of me or outside of me is of no interest right now I grasp to connect with it in any form it may take, dual or non-dual. Inhale reaching up to the sky and exhale Samastitihi. I feel feet, I feel Mula Bhanda…but what is ‘Mula bhanda’, so many descriptions of something so simple. Guruji says Squeeze your anus. A million other teachers say inner thighs, feet, ankles, perineum. I don’t care . I lengthen my tailbone experience the pelvic floor and I am in my body and no where else. Feet grounded, Pelvic floor lifted , steady gaze and breath. This is Yoga for me. Yogash Chittah Vritti Nirodhaha. Yoga is the cessation of the thinking mind. The mind. The Yoga Sutras say it over and over again that ‘Yoga’ is in the mind. It is a state of mind that transcends us into a larger perspective of our-Self. The beauty and irony of this is that we bring our mind into a small center of concentration in order to experience this greater aspect of ourselves. In a deep exploration of my body and movements and power I can feel a core strength that goes beyond the outer mundane realms.
This doesn’t mask the feelings of sadness or loss that come up. These things come up especially when opening up certain parts of our body that may have been taking on some of the stress over the last few weeks. But as I watch the feelings come up I move in flow with my breath. If the tears continue, that is fine, but as I continue the focus on my breath I do not get overwhelmed with them …or if I do I pick it up when I am able. Some one asked Guruji (Pattabhi Jois) if you feel like crying in class what should you do. Do you keep crying or stop it. He said “You keep Breathing”. That was all. No judgement on wether you should or shouldn’t but a connection with the moment.