Ambition, Eyes, And The Eagle Asana

My keyword this month is AMBITION and the body parts I have chosen to accompany the Eagle are EYES.

I strained my right hamstring and gluteus maximus doing Garudasana because I was overly ambitious in the pose. The much hailed appearance of 2 Bald Eagles on my property shortly after we chose the November asana really excited me and I immediately jumped into action. Ouch! Since that day I have only done the pose through visualization. In contemplating the various angles and aspects of Eagle I have deepened my understanding of the shadow side of ambition. Through holding the following questions in divine light much wisdom has been revealed…

Why do I push myself beyond endurance?The task of learning to listen to my heart is ongoing and sometimes I confuse other people’s standards of behaviour with my own. I must continually remind myself that everyone is unique and that part of being human is to set our own pace.

What is the vision I have of success?
I sometimes find it easy to get drawn away from meditation practice, and then to lose sight of my mission to cultivate non-attachment. In this life, successful living is an internal state not altered by external riches or poverty.

Who motivates me to accomplish feats in the material realm that may compromise my spiritual balance?
There are aspects of my being that compete with other people for the limelight, or for applause. I am aware of these tendencies, but, wow, they sure can dive down upon me with razor sharp talons! Those parts of myself are insecure but clever indeed, and always conniving new ways to earn approval. I must be diligent and walk in the light of spirit instead of the shadow of ego.

How can I clear my sight?
For the health of my two eyes I can close them and stretch them in all directions for a couple minutes each day. As for my intuitive sight, I can centre myself high up on my spine and see what is really before me. In the stillness of seeing without looking, I have the unbiased vision of a child.

Eagle Molting

Today in Garudasana – I am moving from visualization to manifestation.

How can I see without looking? Without projecting my biases on to the circumstances before me?

Eyes open, eyes closed
Concentration wobbles like the body in Eagle
Focus on direct pointing to reality
Open the back breath
Breathing fluidly, no hardness
Flex the vision between close and far.

Birds have a seasonal molting period brought on by what? Hormonal changes.
Why do they molt? Plumage renewal.
How are hormones connected to worn out feathers? Aging is a conversation between past, present and future. My voice is but one in the story.

The Hidden Language Of Hatha Yoga

The text we are studying on this blog is called Hatha Language: The Hidden Language and was written by Swami Radha in 1987. She developed a yogic way to investigate the symbols, secrets and metaphors that commonly arise from the human psyche while using the ancient postures of physical yoga. The book is a “bible” in the field of psychological yoga.

Swami Lalitananda also has a new book that puts her own deeply realized spin on the asanas. The Inner Life of Asanas is a companion text for us, in our ongoing journey of journaling from the yoga mat.

Both books are published by Timeless Books and available online, or they can be purchased from the Yasodhara Ashram bookstore located on Kootenay Lake, in beautiful BC.

Let’s Spend December In Paschimottanasana


Referred to as both Intense Back Stretch and Sitting Forward Bend, we have decided to make Paschimottanasana this month’s pose because it helps yogins become familiar with their patterns of grasping, and as Maureen pointed out, is appropriate for the Christmas season!

Much humility can be learned in this pose. A snippet from the Paschimottanasana description in Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga urges us to reflect on “the hands as most expressive for a loving touch” and “the feet as our ground of being”. What can we learn about ourselves from the way we reach forward to hold, stroke, massage, or almost-but-not-quite-touch our feet?

As we move into the next couple of weeks let us continue to journal our journeys from the mat, and come up with a keyword or phrase to express what we have been reflecting on in Paschimottanasana. Also, let us choose a body part to focus our investigation on… but don’t choose right away. Take a few days with the pose and let it tell you something you may need to hear.

Start by bending in half and seeing how our 2 sides begin to communicate differently…