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Finally, in February, we welcome the return of the light with Candlemas on Feb 1 - the midway point between the Winter Solstice & the Spring Equinox. This year it also marks the Lunar New Year! You may have noticed an increase in energy as the days become lighter for longer. Hopefully, you have spent some time in reflection and are starting to feel the call to begin to plant seeds to grow your vision for the New Year. February is a great time to get organized and dive deep into your goals for the New Year, but it is also a time to continue to nourish the water element and to "go with the flow".
Happy New Year! I wrote this at the end of 2021, but wanted to send it along as I believe it is still relevant and timely. And be sure to read the end for news on the release of a FREE Class Tonight! Here we are at the end of the year, exhausted, and trying to decide what to do for the holidays. This time of year is characterized by the metal element. Metal is shiny, strong, and flawless. Precious metals are valued for their beauty and rarity. The higher the quality of metal the more it's worth. Metal strives for perfection and a sense of value.
What a year it is has been! On SO many levels. I have so much to write about and yet so much is still percolating. One item that I do want to mention is that this year marks the 20th year since I started practicing Iyengar Yoga! I lucked into a 5 day workshop during my travels in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A friend recommended the course as I had already been practicing yoga on my own, with books and classes at the Y in college. Even though no one else signed up for the Intermediate course that week, the teacher taught me privately for 5 hours per day! It was such an incredible gift!
In the yoga sutras, Patanjali talks about effortless effort - "Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached." - Light on the Yoga Sutras, BKS Iyengar Perfection is connected to the metal element present at the end of this season - the need to be perfect, valuing oneself, the need to have shiny material possessions and conversely, the exact opposite - not valuing oneself or not believing oneself worthy of respect. It is something well worth examining as we close out this year.
Dear Friends, As we mentioned last month, we are in the season of the Lungs and Large Intestine. It is the time of year to whittle, to hone, and to refine. These are two of our organs of letting go. I am finding time this week to reflect on what I was able to accomplish this year and letting go of what's left. It is a time of resetting and putting things to rest.
"Grief, expressed out loud, whether in or out of character, unchoreographed and honest, for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.” - Martin Prectel
We are so lucky to have our yoga practice particularly during times of change. One of the ways we remain grounded is by adherence to the Yamas and Niyamas, one of which is Svadhyaya or self study but also includes the study of spiritual texts. I recently began re-reading the Bhagavad Gita during a particularly tumultuous time with my family. The first chapter of the book introduces us to the protagonist, Arjuna, who must go into battle with his family.
We hope you survived the New Years Celebrations relatively unscathed? So what have you learned? Not just from the holidays but from the lessons of the past year. Wintertime, the essential time of annual hibernation, is upon us and despite how our LED-powered world removes the enforcement of winter rest, we really are better served to heed her call.
Halloween has always been a favorite celebration of mine. I love coming up with a costume and actually creating something beautiful or scary to wear. I teach yoga this Halloween so I have had a lot of fun turning my creativity towards designing a sequence of poses that are in the Halloween theme. My sequence includes poses like Skeleton Pose, Full Moon Pose, Zombie Pose, Rabid Dog Pose, Headless Headstand Pose, Frankenstein Pose, Swarming Locusts Pose, Dead Bug Pose and of course Corpse Pose. You can see a link to the traditional names of these yoga poses here.
We have entered my most favorite time of year. Earth is the name that the Chinese give to the energy of late summer. Earth is the time of harvest and gathering. It is the midpoint in the cycle of life. The time when we raise a family, create a body of work, settle down, and begin to reap the rewards of our labors. Our thoughts turn to nurturing, parenting, mentoring and mothering. Earth governs our bodies, our flesh and our ability to nourish ourselves through the foods that we eat. Earth governs our cycles - sleeping, eating and breathing. Earth energy also helps us on a mental level to digest ideas, process experiences and form thoughts. Out of balance Earth can be obsessive, obstinate and stubborn.
Happy Spring! This is always an exciting time of year. After a long winter's rest the spring flowers are beginning to bud and bloom. There is so much potential! Spring brings with it the energy of Wood in Traditional Chinese Medicine. We see this in the energy of the green shoots sprouting out of the ground. If used wisely, Liver energy is perfect for envisioning, planning and organizing. We till the ground and plant the seeds for the fruits that will come later in the year.
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