Non-misuse of energy

Brahmacharya is the fourth of the Yamas – the don’ts. Here we discuss non-misuse of energy. To the ancient yogis this would have meant sexual energy. They would have chosen to be celibate. But there are many ways to misuse the energy. When we live an ethical life, adhering to the rules of ahimsa, non-violence, satya, non-lying, asteya, non-stealing and aparigraha, non-greed, we are already conserving energy. We’re not scattering it far and wide in negative circles, but keeping it for what is right and pure. Through yoga we learn to direct our energy correctly.

We’ll begin this week’s practice with butterfly knees and rocking buddha. Then we’ll check in with our hip joints as we move forwards and backwards. We’ll attempt Merudandasana, the balance, and then move into some work with tortoise posture. Now we meet our challenge pose for this half-term – half-lotus. And for those advanced yogis – full-lotus.

Let’s now come up on to one knee for the gate sequence. This is such a good series of movements for opening the sides of the body and toning the trunk. From the gate sequence we’ll move into a mermaid twist. More work on toning the trunk! And then into cat stretch and breath. We’ll employ ujjayi breathing, which is a great way to become focussed and to gain pranic energy.

Meditation is a visualisation – the crystal cave. Here we give our imaginations a good work-out!

Relaxation will focus on the solar plexus chakra. This is the seat of our energy reservoir. We’ll use the seed sound RAM to recharge our energy stocks, whilst fully conserving energy in the relaxation pose.

Watch your use of energy as you progress through next week.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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Random Acts of Kindness

It’s global ‘random acts of kindness day’ on February 17th. There are so many ways to show little acts and gestures of kindness. When we look at the Yamas or Don’ts, we’re made aware that yoga is based on kindness. Do not harm – do not lie – do not steal – do not misuse energy – do not be greedy. If everyone in the world lived by these rules, what a kind place it would be!

This week we’ll explore the bandhas or locks. Standing, we’ll first of all introduce our bodies to the root lock – mulabandha. This is all about the pelvic floor and is a small. subtle movement. We’ll then continue to the abdominal lock – uddiyana bandha, and move on to agni sara, (drawing the abdomen in and out on a non-breath.) After a pause, we’ll work with forward bends and acquaint ourselves with the chin lock – jalandhara bandha. we can use this technique in the many forms of forward bend which we’ll meet this week.

Backward bends balance our practice, and then we’ll enjoy standing twists. This movement is missing from salute to the sun, which will be our next destination. Let’s try three.

Down through the squat and we’ll move into our cool-downs. Meditation this week is, of course, on kindness. The Four Immeasureables – love, compassion, joy and equanimity – combine to create kindness.

During the relaxation, we’ll ‘kindly’ relax each of the 22 body parts.

Remember: Do good, every time you can, every way you can, to every one you can.

Half-term is next week – February 16th. Random Act of Kindness Day is February 17th.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Asteya and forgiveness

Let’s do a practice on forgiveness. Holding on to bitterness and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We’re literally stealing peace of mind from ourselves. Asteya is the third of the YAMAS and it means non-stealing.

We’ll work on some classical poses this week – shoulderstand, plough, fish for starters, Then we’ll continue with nose-to-knee, bridges and all the supine twists.

Passing through the boat, we’ll work with cat stretch and breath, then lie on the abdomen to meet the cobra, locust and bow poses. Stretching back into the variation on the swan will put us in the right place to finish with the mermaid twist.

Meditation features the colours of the chakras, while relaxation uses golden yellow on the in-breath and silvery blue on he out-breath.

It’s half-term on February 16th.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti