Yoga, Meditation and more.............
A common cue that you will here in my classes is, "Soften the knees" and "hinge forward from the hips". Both of these cues line up with cultures who experience less back pain than ours (80% of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime). NPR, in the short audio link above, explains why.
One thing I've noticed in the past few months is how our lives are increasingly impacted by the now "ordinary" busyness of life as well as tragic & heartbreaking events in the rapidly changing world around us.
Yoga invites us to have a first hand experience of the quiet and stillness that underlies all of these changes. Without trying to "fix", we notice what impacts the body/mind and recognize what we are beyond the body/mind. Paradoxically, things can begin to change. New muscle patterns emerge, we have more energy and we may begin to sense our innate wholeness & peacefulness. And those changes may be the start of sustained change in the world around us.
I love the poems below as reminders the peace is not found only in calm circumstances or inactivity. But it can emerge from those moments of pause that we weave into our lives.
If You Could Be Soft by Nina Alvarez
If you could be soft in what you are. In what you’ve felt in the world.
If you could release, just for a moment, how he held you, or how the kids should have come home.
If you just put down the can of paint. Listen.
All along you’ve been waiting. A couple long sighs, a piece of the way things wave and you’re off.
Have you considered much what it is to sit on the lawn. What is under your fingers, what is under your hands. And how to live an agreeable life, and how much it takes in a night to get through what you must first get through in order to just sit here and be happy.
Quiet By Pablo Neruda Keeping
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go.
-from Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon Translated by Stephen Mitchell
What is the deep listening? Sama is
a greeting from the secret ones inside
the heart, a letter. The branches of
your intelligence grow new leaves in
the wind of this listening. The body
reaches a peace.
excerpt from LISTENING by Rumi