Thursday, 7 May 2015

Beginners' Yoga-Opening to Grace

Beginners' Yoga-Opening to Grace-
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To open to grace means to deepen the connection between mind and body.  All yoga does this to some extent, but for me watching the breath in meditation and balances stand out as being especially good at linking mind and body.
In the video we prepare for Dancer pose by stretching the hamstrings and quadriceps and opening the chest thereby deepening the breath and opening the shoulders.  Dancer is a pose of transformation.  It is a representation of Shiva, a Hindu deity, who is associated with transformation. Here we are focused on the transformation from thinking of our minds and bodies as being separate entities to them being connected and in union with our spirit. As BKS Iyengar says 'your body will become a temple, the asana (pose), a prayer'.
When we are in a balance pose, we have to be present.  We cannot be thinking about emails we have to do or what's for dinner because the moment our mind wanders, we fall out of the pose.  Finding a dristi, a spot that is not moving, that you can focus your gaze on, helps you stay balanced (more on this in a separate post).  The need to be focused is also how balances can improve your concentration.  
In our meditation we use a technique first used by Alfred Lord Tennyson, that is using our own names as a mantra. This allows for the 'chatter' of the mind to be silenced. Alfred Lord Tennyson describes how this opened him up to a deeper state of consciousness, which in yogic terms may be thought of as connecting with the divine.  This I think is a fitting end to our video 'Opening to Grace'. 

Janet x

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