“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.
It was in a first year philosophy class that I first heard the famous Socrates quote “Know Thyself”. I kinda thought I did. I was a rural Albertan girl with all the hard work values of a redneck, the social morals of an activist and the naive dreams of a hippie. That sums it up right? Almost twenty years now I’ve sought to embody Socrates words – words that have become an incantation of sorts living just beneath the surface of perceivable thought. Like any good incantation the pursuit of self-knowledge bubbles up from the cauldron of my unconscious inciting questioning, feeling and understanding. I am truly spellbound by it.
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.
Tonight I drove just out of town to a familiar field to watch the lunar eclipse with my 6 year old. I told her we were going to see the BLOOD MOON, hoping to instil some excitement – she wondered if there would be rides there. I told her “no it’s just a field”, which she thought was good enough because apparently she’d never been to a “field” before. I talked to her a bit along the way about how the moon is always there to listen to her if she’s ever lonely, to which she replied “oh yeah? So is the moon alive or something?”. It’s so hard to.
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.
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