A second week of bliss

We’re focusing on the last of the koshas, Anandamaya Kosha, the bliss sheath.

Let’s begin with cat stretch and breath. We’ll concentrate on connecting the body, mind and breath. This becomes a moving meditation. Now we’ll add a leg movement which will exaggerate the movement in the spine and increase it’s flexibility. You are as a young as your spine is supple! We’ll also work with a balance pose in cat.

Now moving on to swan-cat-dog. Can this be a moving meditation, too? Let’s progress to swan-cat-cobra. Finishing on the front of body will prepare us for cobra, locust and bow poses. I love these backward bends! Stretching back, we’ll find our way into the variation on a swan. Remember that we had this one as our challenge pose last term?

Coming to seated, it’s time for this term’s challenge – the wide-legged forward bend.And we’ll complete our asana practice with all the seated twists.

For meditation we’ll imagine that we have a large white crystal within us. As we breathe in, this crystal becomes brighter and larger. As we breathe out, we melt into sapphire blue.

Relaxation is a repeat of last week: Silently repeat ‘I am bliss’ on the in-breath, and ‘Bliss I am’ on the out-breath.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Bliss!

Anandamaya Kosha is the blissful sheath and belongs to the Causal Body. It is the fifth of the layers that we are exploring and is the cosmic body, spirit, cosmic consciousness, Atman.

All yoga paths lead to bliss!

‘Yoga is alchemy; this ancient teaching is a finely tuned medicine form which leads to a more joyful way of living.’ Wenche Beard.

This is the week of the super-moon, so we’ll begin our practice with salute to the moon. Each round will be followed by the recitation of the seed sounds for the chakras. We’ll do three rounds.

Now let’s work with a forward bend, backward bend and twist. These will prepare us for the mountain sequence. Our balance will be the half-moon, always a challenge but another celebration of our special moon!

Moving back to the mat through the squat, we’ll work with seated forward bend, then wide-legged forward bend, ( this is our challenge pose for this half-term.) Let’s have a big backward stretch after that in the form of Purvottonasana. And we’ll complete the asana practice with cosmic egg balance.

For meditation we’ll silently repeat ‘OM’ on the in-breath and ‘OM’ on the out-breath. This will help us find and dwell in our bliss sheath.

More silent repetition for the relaxation as we say ‘I am bliss’ on the in-breath, and ‘Bliss I am’ on the out-breath.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Working through the layers – the higher mind

For the second week, we’re focusing on Vijnanamaya Kriya. The reading gives our higher mind something to consider…

We’re going to begin our asana practice with the bridges. Such a good way to improve the suppleness of the spine and to open the heart. We’ll move to the nose-to-knee poses and then to a good twist. Let’s now throw in an inversion in the form of the shoulderstand. Moving into the plough, we’ll look at the world from a different angle! Now for the fish – one of my favourite poses…

Coming to seated through the boat, let’s work with butterfly knees, rocking buddha and the two legs extended balance – Merudandasana. And SMILE! let’s try the tortoise.

Now to our challenge of this half-term. It’s a wide-legged forward bend, which is quite a tricky one for anyone with tight hamstrings. Then we’ll move on to Paschimotonasana (forward bend), Purvottonasana (backward stretch) and finish with the simple twist.

Meditation is a buddhist one. It’s a visualisation on a river and falling autumn leaves. Beautiful. For relaxation, we’ll work with the head movement from Kaya Kriya. This calms and soothes the everyday mind, giving space and liberation to the higher mind.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Another level to our being!

Do hope that everyone has had an excellent half-term break!

We’re continuing to look at the many levels which are contained within our being. In yoga, we call these sheaths or koshas.

This week we’re going to focus on Vijnanamaya Kosha, the intellect or intuitive sheath. There is a magic to yoga practice and much of this magic comes from freeing the intuition. To this end, we’ll work with Pawanmuktasana 1, the anti-rheumatic group of exercises, and Pawanmuktasana 2, the anti-gastric group of exercises. The first works systematically through the body from the toes to the neck. It releases stiffness, discomfort and toxins as it goes. The second one works methodically through the digestive system, massaging the digestive organs, freeing up blockages and ensuring that elimination is thorough. We’ll then sit for some of the Pawanmuktasana 3 movements. These release energy blockages, and while the first two are working with the Annamaya Kosha (the physical sheath), this one works with Pranayama Kosha, (the energy sheath).

Meditation will be working with mudra and mantra. We’ll sound SA as we touch the index finger with the thumb, TA as we touch the middle finger, NA as we touch the ring finger and MA as we touch the little finger. This we do out loud for two minutes, in a whisper for two minutes, silently for four minutes, then whispered for two minutes and out loud, to finish, for two minutes. This takes twelve minutes in total and keeps the everyday mind fully engaged.

Relaxation will give us an opportunity to connect with the brow chakra and our intuition, which has been freed by the yoga practice.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti