Unravelling Sutra 1.33

There is much that has filled my heart and made it overflow with joy, a natural happiness of life. It seems limiting to list all the moments of luxurious asana practice, runs, walks, sight seeing and most importantly connecting with family and a dear friend. This trip wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for a supportive and loving family back home. Just a few more days and I will be in their midst. I miss the spontaneous hugs of my little girl, the culinary adventures of my husband and the heart to heart with my older girl. The winds of my land call and I am happy at the thought of being reunited with my loved ones.

Travel is not very high on my agenda and I am quite content with being a homebody. Yet, something very unexpected came to be. I travelled halfway across the world and then to visit someone I had come to know through blogging. I did wonder if K regretted asking me and then couldn’t get out of it out of politeness. But, it was a peripheral thought. Usually, travel, meeting new people or situations would give me butterflies in my stomach and make me nervous. Yet, through a set of culturally distant experiences and situations, it did not happen at all. All that I experienced was an open curiosity, like a child without fear. A natural ability to embrace whatever came my way. Definitely not possible a few years ago!

I only knew fragments of K through our interactions on our respective blogs and through instagram pictures of things and places (well my feet too 👣). We exchanged e-mails once I knew I was visiting Canada. There was nothing else yet it felt like the most natural thing when she invited me over. I had a vague idea of meeting for an hour or two and returning back. But, thanks to her invite, we got an opportunity to connect in person. And it was like meeting a friend I have known since many ages. Lovely meals, walks and a practice over the period of 24 odd hours. I was content to come, to stay and to leave. Full and completely in the here and now.

It was destined, not my doing at all. We are but chosen to walk our roads and share it with our fellow travellers. At the core of it, there is no you and no I. Only one breath.

Poetry collection by my friend – a gift of the heart

This journey has revealed a lot of things that I don’t think about often. Love, Affection, Friendship, Trust, Joy, Faith, Balance, Light, Open mindedness and many more… I may have missed my classes back at the Institute but I received different yoga lessons here. I go back- a heart bursting with light.

 

Vrksasana as a teacher

Trees have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of a tree friend is that of a fragrant one outside my childhood church. At home in Pune, the many banyan trees are familiar witnesses on early morning runs. Here, in Canada, the maples, birches and oaks are new and delightful. I’ve just seen a small part of one season and the march of time as the trees shed their colours is one that makes me muse. 

I miss my family, home and routine. I also miss attending classes and the thought provoking words of my teachers. Today’s practice was standing asanas and vrksasana became an asana for contemplation. What does it mean to assume the form of a tree? What is its symbolism? What is the intelligence of the tree? 

In the asana, the standing leg is firm on the floor while the arms reach up for the skies. Very much like a tree. It stands firm through storm and calm, supports an ecosystem of little creatures and bigger ones. The strength of this vibrant being lies unseen beneath the ground. Little roots, big roots, a web of roots and the life that teems between them make a solid foundation on which a host of beings thrive over the ground. Aren’t our lives meant to be like that? Balanced, grounded and of service while reaching for the sun, the source of all that lives. The tree keeps growing, maturing in its girth even as its full height is reached. Is it not like Guruji’s sadhana? 

Vrksasana is often ignored while I practise and used more as a prep to parsvakonasana or virbhadrasana 2. It was humbling to see how much a simple asana could teach me. In my execution, there is glaring assymetry, yet I don’t consider it as part of a regular practice. Instead, I want to get a fix on Chaturangadandasana. No harm in that but the basics are the roots, if I want to be a tree.

Image from Yoga in Action -Preliminary Course

Hari Om

Bloomers and a mat

12641 km away from home yet I am at home. All it takes is a mat, bloomers and few books to recreate a familiar space. It’s been luxurious to take my time with asana practice. Yesterday was a couple of hours going through one of the latter sequences in the preliminary course book. Today was exploring the standing asanas from the intermediate course book. One was a quick run through all the categories of asanas while the other was to work a little more intensively. I do miss the fire of a class but the book is a good substitute and if the soreness is any indication, I have worked well. Perhaps, having to be my own teacher is good to learn to pay attention rather than wait for a teacher to draw focus. 

I’m deeply grateful for being given an opportunity to witness nature’s glory in all her brilliance. It’s humbling to see the wheels of time and the wisdom of nature do their thing. The fall colours in Canada are stunning. 

Fall glory

Today’s reading was 10:34. I miss my copy of the Gita with the commentary but I suppose being without any support is good to flex those inner mental muscles. The translation I have reads as follows

 I am death, destroyer of all; I am the source of all things yet to be. Of women I am fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, fortitude and forbearance. 

The feminine qualities mentioned are all aspects of sustenance and constant change, the function typically assigned to Lord Vishnu. One of the sutras has been on a constant loop in my head and this shloka is a beautiful accompaniment to Patanjali’s aphorism from the Vibhuti Pada.

एतेन भूतेन्द्रियेषु धर्मलक्षणावस्थापरिणामा व्याख्याकाता:।।१३।।

Through these three phases, cultured consciousness is transformed from its potential state (dharma) towards further refinement (lakshana) and the zenith of refinement (avastha). In this way, the transformation of elements, senses and mind take place.

Prakriti in all her complexity is also the means to Purusha. 

Palm reader?