Fluid potential

pigeonIn honour of spring and inspired by a conversation with Auckland yogini Karla Brodie, as well as my study of tantric philosophy, I am reconnecting with my own internal experience of potentiality. I am delving deeper into the idea of connecting with my natural inner buoyancy as a way to allow the poses to emerge from the inside out, to breathe, to live, to be animated with my unique expression of prana – life force. Consciously tapping into the water element in my body has been crucial to that exploration.

Water is a powerful element. It changes form, depending on the temperature of its surroundings, without changing its composition. It changes attitudes – from calm and gentle to wild and raging and everything in between. It gets into small spaces, cleans them out and opens up more room for itself and other things to flow. It patiently rubs up against rock over centuries to create entirely new forms. It blasts through barriers to destroy existing formations in a heartbeat. Water can soothe and it can destroy. It is responsive and potent.

Being that adult humans are comprised of about 70-90% water, the ability to connect with our fluid nature helps us connect with the life force and the resilience that are our birthright. Within many studies of ancient and modern philosophies, water is seen as the element that nourishes, purifies and heals. Water carries nutrients, vibration and subtle information to every cell of our bodies. We can cultivate healing in our bodies by opening to the wave movement that already exists internally. The modern science of quantum physics and the ancient art of yoga both tell us that wave motion is the underlying movement of all creation. Our entire being experiences more ease when we step into the flow of wave motion, rather than resisting it with rigidity and overemphasis on outer form.

In my practice, I’ve been experiencing a remembrance of the power available to me when I balance creating the structure of a posture with allowing my body to express itself from the inside out. There is the potential to channel so much energy, and thereby tap into so much potential, by creating good physical alignment. The power, however, seems to be subdued if I become overly concerned with the outer form and alignment of a pose. There is no authenticity or life visible when I rigidly perform perfect postures. In contrast, when I use what I know about alignment to set my foundation intelligently and then allow myself to experience that internal current of fluidity, the pose becomes a joyous expression of who I am and how I am at a given moment. It becomes a jubilant flow of breath and body that nourishes my muscles, joints and organs and also buoys my spirit and soothes my mind.

In my life, although I’ve still got quite a lot to learn, I’ve been experiencing a greater ease in my internal response to challenging situations by consciously cultivating this self-liquefaction. When I am clear on my boundaries and needs, the potential to be happy, safe and effective is increased. I thwart myself and my relationships with others, however, if I become too unyielding or demanding. In contrast, when I know my needs and limits but stay open to possibilities, my heart and mind stay more buoyant and responsive. I become a surfer of life’s waves, rather than a victim of them.

In my classes this week, we will be reconnecting more consciously with this fluid element, inviting more ease in the organs and joints. The hips and lower back will derive particular benefit from this type of practice. The water element is associated with the sacral chakra. The sacral chakra governs these areas of our bodies as well as our emotions and our sexuality. Learning to flow on the yoga mat can free up all sorts of possibilities in the relationships in our lives as well as in our bodies.

This spring, I invite you to explore your own potential by reconnecting with the flow of your body, breath and mind. Whether you do that on a yoga mat, on the dance floor or in the ocean, you will experience the joy that comes with riding the waves. I hope to see you in the flow soon!

~Kelly Fisher

Mantra for Intuition

StatuesAuspiciously enough, the monthly bhakti yoga and kirtan evening held at Yoga Unlimited fell on Guru Purnima in July. Simply put, Guru Purnima is a time to honour your teachers, both those that surround you as well as the teacher inside you. It is a fantastic day for introspective, meditative practice and so the practice of chanting was powerful indeed!

On this particular evening, two very different renditions of the Gayatri Mantra were practiced. The Gayatri is a personal favourite of mine and it is well-known in yoga circles. I’ve heard it sung in very different ways – from quick and staccato to slow and lilting. The words are as follows:

Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhi Yo Yonah Prachodayat Om

Over the years, I’ve heard many translations and meanings of this chant. Quite often, appreciation of the sun features prominently and this being the case, I always had some idea that the Gayatri was a heating mantra.

On this particular evening however, I was to have my perception and appreciation of the Gayatri altered forever. At the beginning of the session, my dear friend Satyananda yoga teacher Tyag, explained that we would be chanting the Gayatri for inner wisdom and peace. He went on to say that the Gayatri is a cooling mantra for the mind, activating Ida nadi – the feminine aspect of ourselves. As such, the Gayatri is a powerful tool for awakening our intuition.

A-ha! I had never heard it explained this way before but it made perfect sense. Being a huge fan of intuition and always seeking to sharpen that particular skill set, I felt as though a piece of the puzzle had finally fallen into place for me. As I mentioned, the Gayatri has always been a personal favourite of mine but I could never remember the meaning of it very well because the ones I had understood didn’t resonate fully.

That evening two renditions were chanted. Near the beginning of the session, Tyag led us through 54 repetitions of a quick, staccato rendition. Normally I would find that style of mantra agitating and confusing but on this particular occasion, with my awareness firmly fixed on Ajna chakra (seat of our intuitive powers), I felt a calm descend upon me. In the silence that followed the chanting, I felt steady and peaceful, yet bright and alert.

Then, at the end of the session after two kirtans had been sung, Billy McGrath led us through the Gayatri to the tune of an original lilting melody, complete with guitar, drum and violin accompaniment. It was like slipping into a warm bath and my attention merged with Ajna chakra effortlessly. When the rounds were over, meditation was as natural as breathing.

The next time your brain is busy and you’re having trouble hearing your own wisdom voice, stop for a few minutes and chant the Gayatri with your awareness fixed at Ajna. Experiment with tempo and rhythm and find a pace that works for you. If you’ve never heard the Gayatri Mantra, it can help to hear someone else sing it first. There are many recorded variations available online. Find one that you love and learn it by heart. It’ll be an immensely valuable tool for whenever you need clarity of mind and connection with your intuition.

~article by Kelly Fisher

Trust Your Intuition

We are all born with fantastic intuition. As we grow older and more trained by the world, we become increasingly rational and logical. This transformation from soft, intuitive beings to solid, analytical ones is highly adaptive for the world in which we live. In order to achieve our society’s measure of success, there seems to be a collective agreement that we must deny some aspects of our natural, instinctive selves. Yet when we cultivate only the intellect and repeatedly deny or dishonour our deepest feelings, a sense of low level anxiety and dissatisfaction develops. Something within us knows we have taken a wrong turn. Continue reading “Trust Your Intuition”

Get outta your head!

Yoga is a practice that helps us to reconnect with our true nature, to remember the joy and light and beauty that we all possess. Yes, even YOU. The physical part of the practice uses the body, the breath and movement as a means to help us shift our internal experience of the world and ourselves for the better.

Generally speaking, movement for the sheer joy of it can facilitate our reconnection with abundant inner freedom. Somehow, along life’s journey, we gather “stuff” that clouds our ability to connect with our internal light and liberty. Continue reading “Get outta your head!”

Inward Bound

There is an old Sufi story of a man who was looking for a key outside of his house. Neither he, nor the sympathetic friend who was helping him look could locate the key. Then the friend asked where the key had last been seen. To this the man replied that it was last seen in the house. Indignant, the friend wanted to know why they were bothering to look outside of the house if the key was not likely to be there. The man explained to his friend that it was far easier to look outside of the house in the daylight because it was really very dark inside of the house.

What was your first response to the story? It seems quite silly to search for something where it is unlikely to be found, doesn’t it? Funnily enough though, isn’t that what we often do in our own lives? When we’re struggling and uncertain, we tend to look outside of ourselves for the answers because it can be too confronting to look inward. Continue reading “Inward Bound”

Sankalpa – Setting your intention

You may have been in a class at Yoga Unlimited where the teacher invites you to set a ‘sankalpa’ before you begin your practice and you may have wondered what ‘sankalpa’ meant. There are several English translations for this Sanskrit word, including intention, affirmation and dedication, among others. Each of these translations expresses a different aspect of the original flavour of the word but the one that I connect most easily with is ‘intention’. Continue reading “Sankalpa – Setting your intention”