Tag Archive: Anusara Grand Gathering

“Hip Openers for Peace”

Desiree Rumbaugh, in the afternoon break-out session on hip openers yesterday, referenced the earlier teachings at the gathering on love, and said with a giggle that her class was “hip openers for peace.”

She shared a story of a teacher having his students create pictures representing peace. He picked two images that best depicted peace. The first was a serene picture of a mirror lake in the mountains (not unlike the tantric yoga principle of using our practice to find in ourselves the mirror of divine spirit). The second was of a barren and craggy landscape with a stormy sky. In a corner of the painting, though, was a nest with a small bird singing. Amidst challenge and chaos, one being living peacefully and joyously. This is why we do yoga, suggested Desiree, to find our own place of peace amidst whatever chaos is life. Noting how challenging hip openers can be for body and mind, especially if our bodies feel tight, she said that the practice can be like the second picture. We want to learn how to feel calm and centered even when we are deeply challenging ourselves on the mat, so we can tap into that place when life gets harder than we think we can bear.

The technology she offered for finding peace in hip openers was not tricks for stretching, but rather to strengthen the core muscles so that the outer hips and the hamstrings do not need to clench to protect themselves. When the core is powerful (as John Friend would say, “adamantine”) then the outside can soften and be open to what comes. This principle, in my experience and as given by my teachers, holds equally true for facing life and the most challenging of yoga poses.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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It’s Easy When the Weather is Beautiful (and Ananda)

The light woke me early on this summer solstice. The sky is bright blue, the air clear and pleasantly temperate, the mountains lushly green, and friends surround me. The practice yesterday was lustrous, and the next two days promise to be equally delightful.

The delight from being surrounded by beauty and good friends can give us a taste of the possibilities of experiencing true bliss. As the surface enjoyment of being on vacation (albeit an extraordinarily good one), though, it has a shadow side, just as the picture below of a smiling ganesha at the base of a tree in the middle of a heart is flanked by a fire hydrant and a pile of trash bags.

It is really easy to imagine ananda — divine bliss, under these circumstances. It is important for all of us to find moments within our means when it is easy to experience the spark of spontaneous happiness. When it is challenging to find it, when grief or hardship confront us, it is ever more important to be able to tap into a space of bliss so that we can bring the most light to our challenges. Having the sweet times helps us find it in the bitter.

Ananda, John reminded us at the afternoon philosophy lecture yesterday, is the joy that has no opposite. It is a deep contentment with what is–hearts and trees and fire hydrants and trash bags and all–that fully accepts the play of opposites.

Those of us who do not know and live ananda spontaneously and naturally all of the time have the yoga. We challenge ourselves on the mat, knowing the exhilaration of heart opening and the challenge of stiffness; we sit for meditation on good days and bad, finding sometimes the pulsing, vibration of the fullness of consciousness and other times our to do list; we practice pranayama to open our energy channels; we chant to remind ourselves of why we practice: to open our hearts and discover the best in ourselves and in all beings.

Happy solstice to all and hope see you soon for the yoga.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Standing Poses with John Friend

If you are looking for a good way to practice and enhance your standing poses, please check out this video by John Friend.  If the link doesn’t work for you, go to Yoga Journal on-line and go to their videos section.

I never cease to marvel at the wonders of technology.  I never cease to be grateful for my teacher and the teachings.  Don’t take anything for granted.

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