“In selfless service there is greater joy than to selfishly enjoy.” –Based on Bhagavad Gita 9.13 – 14
Weekly Focus: Seva (service)
Seva is dedicated service to others without expectation of return. When we turn to nature, we may notice the inner-workings + partnerships constantly at play. This can serve as a reminder to look around + see where we can be of service to others. Nature is constantly in-step with itself. One action supports + leads into another. While we know that nature’s actions cannot inherently be selfish or selfless, we can see the ways in which natural cycles complement one another. It is so easy to get caught in our own egocentric cycle + forget what is happening around us. This week we consider what it means to take a step back + see where we can help to benefit others + be in partnership. To practice seva is to act in service of others without expectation — often times though the benefits come naturally through a mutual symbiosis. What subtle benefits might arise leading to more overall contentment and quiet joy?
Passive Pose of the Week: Urdhva Mukha Pasasana (Thread the Needle)
Symbolic of the opportunity to look around you + see where you may be in service, thread the needle helps create openness in the heart space. From tabletop or child’s pose, thread one arm under the other and rotate your chest towards the top arm. Allow your top arm to aid in the opening of this twist. Depending on how you adjust the arm, you can get a different sensation. If the arm extends over your head, towards a “one o’clock” position, you can press gently in the hand to feel grounded and open the belly. Alternatively, try wrapping the top arm around your lock back, and imagine pressing your elbow away from you, engaging more opening in the front of your shoulder. One is not better than the other, they are simply different.
Active Pose of the Week: Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)
Offer yourself out with this big lateral side bend + extension of your heart space. Side angle has the opportunity to offer a bit of everything — side stretch, mini back bend + a twist. From Warrior II legs, side bend towards your front leg, allowing the forearm to rest atop the thigh. Reach your opposite arm up towards the sky, or over your head, with your bicep alongside your ear. You might offer yourself some kindness in this pose by utilizing a block. The block can help enhance the pose + offer a supportive base for your hand. Rather than resting your forearm on your thigh, try placing a block just inside if your front foot, at any height. Make sure you can get your hand fully on the block. Let the block help root you as you lift up and away, creating space between your ribs and your thigh. For more rotation, try then moving the block outside of your front foot. As you press into the block with your hand, imagine your chest turning open to the sky.