In Downer’s Grove, just a train stop outside of Chicago I found good mid-western hospitality and a place for this warrior to rest and share the yoga . This is the portal to enter into the Yoga ….Among Friends *
The Workshop was: The Spiritual Warrior: Moving from Gratitude to Grace
GRATITUDE- Svadhyaya – The literal translation of asana is to be seated. Whatever pose’ you are in, whatever situation you life presents you, when you are seated in self there is gratitude. Class will center around asana, pranayama and seated meditation.
ACTION – Karma yoga with Sankalpa – The right ‘use’ of desire Intention creates the direction but then we must walk the path moving towards grace. It takes guts to walk towards your Dharma and clear vision to know what it is. This class will go
deeper and stronger asana and pranayama.
GRACE – Hyrdya – the eternal dwelling place of your heart. “Be still and know that I am …” This does not mean only to sit but also that it is a joy to practice and fulfil the promise of yoga, a direct experience of the divinity which infuses all. Joy permanently resides in our spiritual heart. Experience deeper meditation and learn new techniques.
We explored the elements with svadhyaya, moved deeply and slowly, sweated a bit, laughed and sang and opened our hearts with courage to see what was inside and where we hide. Once again I see that Yoga is more than asana yet how asana is like a language of ancient hieroglyphics with keys to unlock the body cellular intelligence when we do it not just to ‘do yoga’ but experience the present as well as the possibility of observing where we’ve stored our past . Sanchita karma, the residue of our past actions which is held and continues to hold us , continually resurfacing so that we often wonder what, this again?! We continue to suffer. When we are caught in our own net, we need to look for the elements which formed the net.
One of the questions we explored was to look at the Five Elements, their qualities and effects. These are the qualities that the group came to identify. Perhaps you can add some qualities both of the physical and personality traits. Try during your practice to see how you might bring each of the elements in : observe how it changes your experience. What is the principal element that is ‘you’? And what element do you have need of to balance?
I had always thought of myself as air but on this journey the element in play was clearly fire and space was what I need. This is what I learned from sharing yoga with a group of committed yogis. To be a Spiritual warrior requires as noted before, strength with an open heart ,commitment with a clear focus, flexibility and adaptability to change while still directed towards the goal, ability to penetrate and yet remain unseen, a light touch sometimes goes farther than a blow in defeating a seen enemy, and finally – generosity and love , the ability to forgive even while standing up to and fighting against the forces of darkness. In this way, Arjuna practiced Karma Yoga without Samskara, Scars which continue creating more Karma … in fact fulfilling his destiny, his Dharma.
It is truly a time when we need to recoup our forces and find a way to be of service in healing ourselves and the planet. I have no prescription for this but I see that when we practice together, share our hearts out and let each other in the circle embraces and we are truly in a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.
In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us, every breath is a prayer and connects us one to another in a never ending cycle. So breathe in and sing …. Our favorite mantra was: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine….