“Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
Weekly Focus: Samadhi (union with the divine)
Moving towards the stillness of Winter, the Earth is exposed. Shedding away our outer layers and self-reflecting allows us to be exposed at the deepest layer, revealing glimpses of our divine connection. Samadhi is the 8th limb of the yoga sutras and is known as “spiritual absorption.” To say it is enlightenment — is not exactly correct, but for some, it is a relatable term. What I love about the quote above, is it’s emphasis on the connection to all, the lack of divide between the wave and the ocean. The foundation of samadhi is the balance in all things that we seek within yoga. To find samadhi, we enter concentration (dharana), followed by meditation (dhyana) and finally enter samadhi. It is where you lose all separation between yourself as the meditator, the object of your meditation, and the act of meditation. A moment of inner stillness, tranquility and bliss, becoming one with the state of experience. You are completely absorbed, and aware only of the essence of the moment and not of the details. All that exists is pure awareness.
Take a deep breath, that is a lot, and hard to conceptualize.
There exists a space of bliss for all of us, if we allow ourselves the space and time to practice and to find patience with the journey. Do you believe that you deserve balance and peace? With a new year just around the corner, how will you work to bring more balance to your life?
Passive Pose of the Week: Ujayii Pranayama (Victorious Breath or Breath of the Conqueror)
Infuse yourself with fresh prana, clarity + mental focus with this practice. Start by simply taking deep, intention breaths. Breathing in and out through the nose. With awareness of the breath, begin to breathe in deeply while slightly constricting the back of the throat (like you are fogging a mirror). Keep this constriction as you breathe in and out. It will sound a bit like the ocean or also, Darth Vader. If able, close the mouth. You may keep this breath as you move through any sequence, layering your breath over movement.
Active Pose of the Week: Lolasana (pendant pose or dangling pose)
Seek focus, balance, and full absorption into the experience of this arm balance. From a kneeling seat, press the hands down firmly to the ground alongside the legs. Round the mid to upper back, and hug the knees up to the belly, lifting the feet and shins from the floor. Some fun tips: blocks under the hands will help provide extra lift from the floor, additionally crossing the feet at the ankles might allow you to create more tension and help lift the feet from the floor. If it feels hard to get the feet up, just keep the toes touching the ground and focus on the rounding of the back.