Does this heat make it feel as if the summer could go on forever? As we start the month of August, we are entering into the late summer period, the fifth season, recognized in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine. BUT before we get ahead of ourselves, I wanted to share some final insights from the end of the summer season. As we mentioned last month, the element associated with summer is fire, which shows up in the external environment, but internally as well.
The fire element is associated with the heart and small intestine meridians. On an energetic level the heart is the seat of our spirit, or Shen, in Chinese Medicine. The Shen being the presence of Heaven in a human being. Spiritually, fire energy has to do with the qualities of insight, understanding, compassion and love. The classics texts say, The heart stores and harbors the divine spirit. When our connection to divine spirit is strong, we experience harmony and balance of all the elements within us.
Compassion is the ability to love and care about others in an unconditional, ego-less way, to see other people as no different from oneself. I find myself returning again and again to Yoga Sutra I.33
Maitrī karuṇā muditopekṣāṇāṁ sukha duḥkha puṇyāpuṇya viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaś citta prasādanam
Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.
Even when it is uncomfortable, we can practice compassion towards those who are in distress, no matter what our relationship to them may be. I am also inspired by this Buddhist prayer. This particular one is repeated daily by the Tibetan physician to the Dalai Lama.
“May all living beings be free of suffering and the cause of suffering. May everything I do go to ensure that they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering. Mall all living beings have joy and the cause of joy. May I be the one to ensure, to remind them they are in fact living in joy and have the causes of joy. May all living beings interrelate fully, lovingly, compassionately and joyously with one another, without any discrimination or partiality of near and far, of like or dislike. May I be the one that does everything in my power to see that they do this. May I be the one to make sure that this takes place.”
Remember that we are all suffering in one way or another, certainly some more than others, so be kind to one another, be happy for someone they are happy and practice compassion for someone when they are unhappy.
Practice Compassion. Repeat this prayer or contemplate Sutra I.33 each day for the rest of month of August as a way of bringing our yoga into our daily lives. We can all do this together.
With love and peace.
Lois just finished teaching her Annual Summer Intensive in July. If you missed it this year, we will have the recordings soon. In the meantime you can check out her previous Summer Intensive Recordings. AND We just released several new Advanced, Intermediate and Pranayama classes from earlier this year, too!
All of these classes include a list of poses (care of Senior Teacher, Randy Just. Thanks, Randy!) If you are preparing for assessment or just trying to learn to practice or teach some of these challenging poses, check out her pose lists to help refine your search for one of Lois' stellar live recordings. Check out the latest classes and her summer intensives now!
This breathtaking video provides a 50 minute intermediate home practice in the idyllic setting on one of the most pristine beaches of Fiji. Download Intermediate Yoga in Fiji with Elise Miller Now!
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Listen to weekly recorded live yoga classes with Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher. More previously unreleased recorded Levels II, II-III, III and Pranayama IV classes are available now. Download John's current collection of classes Now!
Yoga was a natural fit for Leah when she began at age 26. A professional stage actor, she used her body in her craft. But she had little intelligence or knowledge about her body. Her first yoga class intrigued her. Her second one, an Iyengar Yoga class, moved her. Read More About Leah's journey to yoga.
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