EARTH DAY BALANCE APRIL 2017
When I contemplate what the earth means to me, this overwhelming feeling of powerful healing steadiness comes over me. We live in a fast paced world filled with constant movement and change. In the Yoga Sutras, Book Two verses 33 and 34, Patanjali introduces the term Pratipaksa Bhavanam. This sutra loosely translates to “apply the opposite.” He teaches us to control the mind by releasing the thoughts we do not want. He says the best way to do that is to invite the opposite thought.
In Yoga class when a teacher creates a sequence, we use the technique of pose/counterpose to bring the body into balance. This is a similar concept but applied to the body rather than the mind. When you arch back into a deep energizing backbend, you then counter pose with a gentle calming forward bend to come into equilibrium.
This principle is also present in the ancient science of Ayurveda where we explore pairs of opposite qualities to bring our health into harmony with nature to prevent disease. If we are dry - we want to lubricate, cold - we want to warm, heavy - we want to lighten, and if we are experiencing too much movement - we want to steady ourselves.
I am in the midst of a very productive period in my life that is requiring a lot of energy and movement. I’m traveling, teaching and building a new business. It is a very fulfilling time, but sometimes the busy work schedule and travel can be aggravating to my body, mind and health. I am very grateful to have a purpose to serve, to create and to support my students. In order for me to do my best work, it is critical that I stay steady and connected to the earth to balance the effort and maintain poise.
Earth practices are the perfect complement to busy modern lifestyles. When we spend time in nature, we deepen our connection to the earth. I am soothed by the natural rhythms of nature the ocean tides, the sunrise and sunset, the moon phases, and the changing seasons. All of these patterns are routine and unchanging. They calm us like the firm beat of a drum.
When you experience the wavering energy of your life, and feel the symptoms of too much movement, stress and erratic patterns surfacing, I suggest you find a connection to the earth, ground, root, anchor and settle in. Here are some suggestions for activities that help to activate the earth energy or root chakra. Enjoy! With Love, Lauren
• Plant a garden
• Make pottery
• Knead bread and bake
• Cook a nutritious meal
• Clean your home
• Chant the mantra Lum
• Get or Give a massage
• Rest or Sleep
• Chant to Lord Ganesha - Om Gam Ganapatayei Namaha
• Practice grounding poses: Full pranamasana, balasana child pose, malasana, supine and prone poses, apanasana, seated forward folds.
• Practice Langhana Pranayama
LANGHANA PRANAYAMA PREPARATION
Please begin by grounding yourself in your meditative seat. Practicing awareness. Bring yourself to a comfortable place.
Begin by practicing several rounds of Ujjayi Breath. Then sit and observe.
Bring awareness to the Sushumna Nadi, and begin to breathe the breath up and down the central channel.
Begin with a samavritti rhythm balancing in breath and out breath. Match the length of the inhale to the exhale. Count each beat of the breathe one om, two om, three om, etc.
Practice 3 to 9 rounds
Sit and Observe
With awareness begin to create an unequal breathing ratio (Visamavritti) by allowing the exhale to grow longer than the inhale.
With each round, lengthen the exhale one more count and take a "free" inhale. Continue to deepen and lengthen the exhale
Explore the grounding quality of this breath. Do not allow the breath to be forced or strained, move with ease and relax deeply into it.
With love, Lauren