What has been especially captivating during this shift into teaching yoga, is the concept of building a foundation first. What is true in one aspect of reality is often true in other aspects. In yoga, physically, we are told to set our foundation, strong and steady before we extend out and deeper in our asana (pose).
Like a tree roots into the ground, the deeper we can root ourselves into the earth beneath us, the more we are able to extend up and out through the spine (and other parts of the body) with grace and ease. What is essential is building this strong foundation, found when our feet press evenly and firmly into the ground, engaging our legs, scooping our pelvis under and up, which engages our belly, where we can find an enormous surge of power and support,and, moving our shoulders back into their sockets, we find a sense of support and freedom in our heart center... and from here we can extend our spine longer, our neck supple and long and our head free and floating right about this tall and narrow tower of stacked vertebras, bones, muscles, tissues and organs. We are able to freely move about with a sense of ease based on the steady support we find in our feet. Not to be taken for granted, this seemingly ordinary process of standing takes many months to accomplish and is actually an extraordinary feat (no pun intended :). We are the only species known to regularly stand upright on two legs only. Picture a small toddler walking for the first time. It’s probably one of the proudest moments a parent can feel.
"Tree of Life" by Marian Osher ©2001 www.marianosher.com
These pieces of yogic wisdom have been sinking deep into my consciousness, now that I am beginning my path as a yoga teacher. I have been brought back to the simple basics, which has been a beautiful and necessary gift.
Just the other day, my sweet and wise mom and I were talking about this. We were talking about how important it is to stay humble in all we do. Like the old saying goes, pride always comes before the fall. I immediately connected this with learning to stand more steady on our feet, finding equanimity (or whichever body part we press our weight onto in any asana, such as our hands in handstand).
What I find so fascinating is the connection between the definition of humility and the Sanskrit word Vinyasa Krama.
Humility literally translates to mean“low to the earth or grounded.” Although it has often been associated with a negative connotation (i.e., she was totally humiliated),or thought of as being brought down to a lowly status, in actuality humility has time and time again been connected to spiritual truth and an enlightened state of being.
Vinyasa literally means to"place in a special way." Krama means the "order or sequence" of each pose. The idea is that we must first fully accept, embrace and embody and begin where we are right now.Fully accepting who we are in this moment. Until we can learn to do this (which takes quite a lot of meditative focus to avoid being pulled into the distractions and worries of yesterday or tomorrow), it is truly difficult to move forward in a graceful, stable and beautiful way. It is hard for us to truly grow, expand, build and advance in our practice, and on our life path.
Now if we can fully accept where we are right now (as well as who we are), then we begin to set the foundation for the rest ~ a beautiful, transformative, evolving process similar to that of a blossoming flower. Just as we are advised to avoid forcefully prying a bud open before it is ready, we want to allow ourselves to truly open up, petal by petal, layer by layer, in an evolving process in which we are moving yet are also being moved.
As human beings, it's less about doing and more about being.We start with who we are and where we are in the central moment, and allow our spirit to radiate through us to becoming open to the beautiful beings we were created to become. We don't reach a certain destination. We don't master a perfect pose. We deepen in it with each breath, each step. Each stop along the way might be another moment of triumph yet we keep opening to further expression of our present experience.
We want to channel the life force which moves with us moment to moment into a productive and beneficial way. This is where "vinyasa krama" comes into play. Like an artistic dance weaving our breath and movement into one, once we are firmly grounded in this moment, fully accepting where we have begun, and who we really are, we can begin to take one step, then two, three, four, etc. in a special and meaningful pathway.
Like my wise momma said, she believes when we are truly humble, it is a gift because this is when we are most open to receiving the abundant gifts God (your higher Self, the Divine, etc.) has to give us. These gifts are often invisible to the limiting human eye - surprises surpassing what we could ever dream of receiving - yet with the divine's abundant, unconditional and infinite love, we are blessed beyond measure. Being blessed, we are able to bless others, multiplying forward.
We can "get low to the earth" and open up, petal by petal, to all that the divine has in store for us, and become all we were meant to become, one step at a time, breath by breath. It's truly humbling. Grace.
Through a simple yogic concept such as vinyasa krama, I found in my study of teaching beginners’ yoga, I found a deep connection to the spiritual truth of humility in my heart.
What I find so beautiful and deeply satisfying about this connection is that it is not about how "advanced" we get in our asana practice. It's not about how we "measure up" to the person next to us. It's about this transformative journey we have begun with the first courageous and humble step we have taken and building from there.
Thank you so much for reading... Namaste! The light in my heart bows (and smiles) to the light in your heart. It recognizes the belief that the life force,the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all.