“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of yoga. ” – Kripalvananda Swami Kripalvananda is the namesake inspiration for the well known Pennsylvania Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This Center was established by Amrit Desai, a disciple of Swami Kripalvananda and one of America’s first major yoga influences. I don’t know what Swami Kripalvananda intended by this statement and my searches for commentary on the passage has produced nothing of note. Nonetheless the passage has always hit me in.
One of the major contributions yoga can make to greater mental and emotional well being is its capacity to develop new ranges of feeling and expression. Like a tree that wants to grow into full expression, in the directions inspired by its natural ability, we also have a myriad of potential for feeling into and expressing our aliveness. But, like a tree forced to grow inside a box, we are hampered in our expression by cultural norms and expectations as well as our socialization. From a young age we are taught what kind of emotional expression is acceptable and will secure us the affection of our caregivers and peers. We.
I like to indulge philosophy like ice cream – up to my elbows and for as long as possible. There was a time in my undergraduate years that my day would be a continuous cycle of read, contemplate, repeat – alternating coffee shops and couches until I hit satiation point. Which, like with ice cream, wasn’t until I reached the bottom of a number of barrels of delicious flavours of contemplation. There’s a part of me that relates to the archetypal scene of an ancient philosopher pouring over texts and scrolls which, except for the glow of the firelight, is enshrouded by darkness, silence and solitude. My undergraduate years are long.
Yesterday I stripped bare on a secluded beach on the West Coast of Canada and threw myself in the ice cold ocean. I had to shed it. My clothes, my better judgement, the ought to’s and shoulds of culture that weigh on me daily like an ascetics hairshirt. I had to strip it down. The cloak of expectations and duty to a social order that wants to break me of my wildness. I had to become naked and swallowed by sea so I could emerge a starfish, an anemone, a grain of sand and know myself as the natural thing I really am. As I flopped and swam like a clumsy fish amidst the gentle.
There are so many things on deck in my heart that I want to write about – but this NEEDS to be written. I saw this video today and it hit me so hard. I spend a lot of time in my yoga practice and teaching on getting grounded – it’s a typical practice in yoga in general that is often paid lip service and has no real connection to an experience. Yoga teachers encourage us all the time to “connect through our feet and get grounded” and this becomes a taken for granted instruction we all perform. But what does it really mean? Why is grounding important? What is the experience of.
My daughter’s in bed, earlier than normal and without the usual tantrum episode that accompanies bed time. The tightness in my chest has not yet release anxiety’s grip and my breath is thwarted by the anticipated stress of this time of night. I can feel a slight tension pervading my whole body as some level of me braces for a standoff with my mini-tyrant roommate. But she is sleeping, and as I start to believe that, I can feel certain liveliness tingling inside me from the rest of the day’s events. My legs ache a little from work in the yard, and my eyes are beginning to feel heavy. .
My mat sees many people. Children, adults, saints, lunatics and tricksters – to name but a few. Indeed, every time I step on my I am suprised by who shows up and brings their unique flavor to my practice. I am talking, of course, about the vast assortment of “selves” within me that bring both brilliant variety and exasperating frustration to my life. This “mosaic mind”, as authors Goulding & Schwartzcall it, is an accepted reality in many psychotherapeutic models and serves to make sense of the seeming internal contradictions most of us experience.This notion essentially points out that we have an internal “family” of various, sometimes conflicting voices within that all must honoured and heard.
How do I begin a post like this one? Despite numerous attempts over the last few weeks of inactivity on my blog I have not found a graceful or poetic way to say that I’ve ended my marriage. Ya, Merry Christmas hey? There would have been a thousand better times for this tidal force to move me as it did, but it seems I could dam the force no longer. The first I heard of this tidal force was a number of years ago. Inside of me, though, it began not like the tide that moves me now but like the slow, intermittent drip of a leaky faucet – a.
Everytime I hear the term embodiment it rings in me like something I long to realize. I have an intuitive notion of what embodiment means and the string of this knowing is plucked each time I read or hear about it – leaving a vibratory ache for greater understanding that is ineffable. I believe that my understanding of embodiment will continue to evolve for the rest of my life. For now, all I know is that there are times when I feel more filled out, like more of me is permitted to live. There are times when my attention is not captivated by my ego and it holds the tender elements.
A few weeks ago, after my dubstep yoga experience described in my last post, I attended an in-depth anatomy workshop led by Matthew Van Der Giessen of Edmonton. Matthew teaches beginner and advanced level anatomy workshops through the Yoga Association of Alberta and this was the third workshop of his that I have attended. I was excited to attend this workshop because the first two I did with Matthew a number of years ago was the only times I’ve ever felt genuinely excited about anatomy. Matthew has spent a number of years studying a somatic approach to the body which emphasizes “sensory based learning and the organization of movement through.