WEEK 1: BE HERE NOW!
It’s no secret that in every spiritual tradition presence and “being” in the moment play a large role. I believe it is fair to say that this is the cornerstone of yoga practice and the tradition itself. The tradition teaches us that we have access to vast reserves of energy, knowledge, love, wisdom, and creative power – and the way that we access them is through an effortless and whole hearted residence in the present moment.
So what does this have to do with our physical practice? The way that we completely drop into the present moment is by completely and whole-heartedly dropping into the space of the body and literally filling the body with our awareness from the inside out.
The body is the tool through which you were designed to receive and process all of the information that is coming into you in the moment. So when your mind wanders or your heart is somewhere else – then a part of your energy, your prana is somewhere else and not able to interpret the messages of the present moment as efficiently as possible.
So, you see, Be here now, is actually BE HERE IN THE BODY NOW (and expand out from there) so you can FEEL the truth of the present moment and tap into the flow of life!
Week 1: Be Here Now
ASANA: GROUND YOURSELF – BE HERE NOW
One of the tenants of yoga (asana) practice that set it apart from any other type of physical exercise – is that it doesn’t just ask us to move our body, it also requires that we do so consciously. It invites us to quite literally, become embodied. It can be very easy to do your usual fitness/movement routine (or let’s be honest – even sometimes your yoga practice) and simply go through the physical motions without calling your heartfelt presence into your body.
This week asks you to slow down, pay considered attention to your alignment in order to call you to presence at the deepest level as you move throughout your practice. I invite you to slow your movements down to ensure that you can maintain your presence in all parts of the body. Often, until we are really practiced in this idea – when we move really quickly, it is really easily to “drop out” of certain parts of your body. I think it is fair to say that most of us (myself included) are not truly in our bodies throughout the day as our attention is focused on so many things outside of ourself.
So let’s use the mat as our practice ground for embodied presence in the real world.
Are you ready?
PRANAYAMA: FULL YOGIC BREATHING
If there is one breath that really brings us down into our body giving us a sense of really occupying our physical space it is the full yogic breath. Now if you have been practicing for some time I would forgive you for waving this off as too introductory to revisit and I perhaps
MEDITATION: COME DOWN INTO THE HOME OF THE HEART
Out of all the meditations that I have ever done as a regular practice I have to say that this one is simultaneously one of the simplest, most accessible and most profound practices that I have worked with. I don’t always remember to do it regularly but when I do I feel the difference in my day to day life.
I will warn you though… if there are challenging (or even joyful) emotions or feelings that you have suppressed over time there is the possibility that they will rise up to the surface and need to be felt. They can stick around for a while. Just remember that these feelings are not you… they are simply wanting to move through you. Think of them as messengers – feel them, allow them and be open to their message. Don’t hold on to them nor push them away and with time they too (like everything else) will continue to move through.
Meditation: Come into the home of the Heart
DAILY RITUALS WITH AYURVEDA
Simple ways you can ground, nourish, balance & enliven with Ayurveda
Our beautiful tips and tricks for daily rituals have been provided by local Ayurvedic practitioner Prue Keenan. Prue runs health consultations and Ayurvedic treatments out of Alchemy Health in Port Kembla and can be contacted on 0424 955 348 for more information and bookings.
Express self-love and self-respect by lovingly anointing yourself from your toes to your head with warm oil. This self-massage practice is called Abhyanga in Ayurveda (pronounced Abi-yanga). Regular Abhyanga is very grounding, deeply nourishing to the body’s tissues (not just the skin) and relaxing, especially for the Vata dosha. Vata is one of the 3 ‘bodily intelligences’ which dominate during the cold winter months because of its cold, dry and light qualities. Warm oil massage counteracts the effect of these qualities.
Self-massage also enhances blood circulation, improves lymphatic drainage (massaging up the body from toes and fingertips towards the heart). And it even acts as a protection layer against EMFs!
What’s more you don’t have to book in anywhere nor pay for it; just devote 7 minutes in the comfort of home. You could start off with 2-3 times a week; a daily practise is highly beneficial. A daily Abhyanga restores the balance of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and enhances body/mind well-being and longevity.
Here’s a demo of how to do a self-massage: 7 mins
SIP HOT WATER
Sipping hot water is a simple yet profound Ayurvedic purification technique that acts as an excellent digestive medicine and for eliminating toxins from the body’s system. It sounds too simple, but don’t underestimate it. Plain hot water has the powerful influence of purifying and strengthening the gastrointestinal tract, as well as detoxing and rejuvenating the major systems of the body.
And it’s about frequently sipping, not about quantity.
Hot water melts toxins away:
Toxins (Ama) that enter the body from external factors such as food, environment, stress, etc. are sticky and greasy by nature. Hot water can dissolve Ama from your system just as it dissolves grease from dirty dishes, and it can accomplish this gradually and comfortably. Just as you boil/cook food in hot water to make it easier to assimilate and to kill the food’s impurities, drinking hot water does the same in your body. It assists in the digestive process by further cooking food you are having trouble digesting in your gut, and dissolves ama to be easily eliminated.
GUT HEALING VEGETABLE BROTH
This one has been a staple of mine for the last 2 years. In Winter or whenever I am feeling run down, i make up a big batch of this broth and drink like a tonic first thing in the morning or even right throughout the day. You can freeze it in 1 cup portions so you have it on hand to use in recipes that call for stock (because you know those store bought ones are full of salt) or to make up a quick and easy noodle soup. Whenever friends or family get run down or sick – I make a big batch and take it over to them.
My batch often is quite different to this original recipe these days as I just keep a tupperware container in the freezer and add veggie cutoffs and spent herbs in there ready for the broth. It does make it a bit hit and miss taste wise but always super nutritious!
WANT TO TAKE IT ON AS PART OF THE CHALLENGE?
Make a pot for yourself and freeze half. Each morning fill half a mug with the broth and top up with boiling water and drink like a cup of tea to give your system a warm and nourishing nutrient hit first thing!
RECENT AUDIO CLASSES
Amidst the turbulence of the ever evolving Coronavirus situation the call went out for people all over the world to join in a global mass meditation on Sunday 5th April 2020 (Australian Time). Yoga Vidya answered the call and led 39 participants through this meditation. Here is the recording.
One Hour Basics class exploring the Anusara principles of Muscle Energy and Organic Energy through standing poses, balance and backbends.
This practice explores the idea that there is only so much we can DO within the scope of our yoga practice. There is a wisdom, a sense of awakening and revelation that we are seeking yet (and this is what we call yoga) but we cannot make this happy. So in this sense we cannot DO yoga – we can only create the conditions under which it naturally arises.
This 90 minute practice invites a contemplation of the Tantrik world view that God is divine, loving, playful and creative awareness and energetic potential.... and you are God. No more or no less than your neighbour or a blade of grass. Practice casting off your...
This 90 minute open hatha flow practice both starts and finishes with Viloma Pranayama and asks you to use the breath the brighten and expand the inner body. Expect to strengthen the back and work through standing poses, Vasthistasana and variations of Hero’s pose.