Deep-seated emptiness

We’re working with Aparigraha, non-greed. Sometimes folk become greedy simply because they experience a feeling of deep-seated emptiness or hunger. They endeavour to fill the space with food or possessions, but this emptiness doesn’t go away. The feeling of not being enough and not having enough simply increases. Yoga has the answer. The mission to fill the empty space is the search for meaning, the search for purpose, the search for peace. Yoga practice allows people to step back from greed for superficial gratification, and to embrace a life that fulfils and fills. Yoga leads us to completeness.

This week we’ll begin with nose-to-knee poses. Then on to bridges, and a lovely spinal twist. Let’s explore the shoulderstand, plough and fish poses, before using the boat to move to sitting.

We’ll stretch into the dog, and then walk the hands towards the feet. Coming to standing, we’ll briefly pause and then continue with warrior 2 into triangle. Let’s see how balance feels today, and practise a balance posture.

Returning to the mat through squat, we’ll spend a few moments perfecting our challenge. Can we lower ourselves to the mat, silently, and without tipping over backwards?? How’s the control this week?

Meditation works with a dynamic mudra. We touch the thumb to the index finger with the internal sound of SAA; to the middle finger with the internal sound of TAA; to the ring finger with the internal sound of NAA; and then it’s thumb to the little finger with the internal sound of MAA. This we repeat many times. It has the effect of producing inner relaxation and we feel that we’re enough. We are enough – we have enough.

Relaxation uses sound too – SO on the in-breath, and HAM on the out-breath. This is the natural internal sound of the breath and it’s wonderfully comforting.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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Aparigraha non-greed

Let’s study the last of the Yamas. The Yamas are the first of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as set down by Patanjali. Take time to consider the ancient yogic teachings and to recognise why this practice still works so well in modern times. Our focus here is Aparigraha, non-greed. We’ll approach our practice with a gentleness and an acceptance – not grabbing greedily at the practice and then rushing back out into our day.

Cat-stretch is a great place to begin. Resting on all fours, we’ll explore the range of the movement in the spine today. After a rest, we’ll proceed to introduce Sama Vritti pranayama into the cat movement. Now let’s add a leg movement and try the Tiger pose.

Swan – cat – dog is a great sequence which allows us to move inwards. We’ll use a dog pose to take us into standing and to Mountain pose. Now, let’s feel the earth beneath our feet and move smoothly into Mountain sequence.

We’ll follow this with the squat and then meet our challenge – can we sit neatly down on the mat without falling backwards?! (For those proficients who have mastered this movement, you can try going from squat to mat, from squat to mat etc.)

Meditation, after the cool-downs, is one taught by Ram Dass. Focus on just the tip of the nose. Notice the air as it enters the nostrils on the in-breath, and notice the air as it leaves the nostrils on the out-breath. If you mind becomes distracted and a thought occurs, follow that thought around as though it was a flower, and then return to the centre of the flower which is the tip of the nose.

Relaxation will feature the solar plexus and the colour golden-yellow. Let’s gently re-balance our energies. This will have a healing effect and will follow on from the mudra used in meditation – Shivalinga.

How good to be back to a new term! And the sun’s shining!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.