Hello beautiful Yogis,
What a week, and what a moon… It’s great when we feel like our environment get’s behind our success. Just like a powder day helps us to float on our skis, a ‘Supermoon’ can help us to set intentions, harness energy, and create rituals that bring in community and purpose. As we gear up for the holidays and potential travel, and the possibility of being triggered by the people we claim to love the most. It’s good before you make that meal, hop on that plane or invite twenty-five people over to your one room apartment. That you take a moment to ponder; What’s my intention going into this holiday, or teaching class, or really with this rising year? As our intention becomes more clear, this will hold the space for thoughtful connections and limit the amount of fatigue you feel. Coming from this centered place will create the experience that will fill you up, rather than deplete you and take you down. We have all experienced the depleted version, where we were so excited for the experience, but in the end we needed a vacation just to recover from our vacation. Let’s face it yogi’s - Thanksgiving, unless you're on the beach skipping most of our cultural rituals is not a vacation. This is a time to come together, to put aside those old grievance, at least for the day barring you don’t drink too much, and importantly Give Thanks..
So this is about how we show up… Do you show up with a lot of expectations? Do you show up with your cup full of the past? Or do you show up with a clean slate ready to meet your loved ones, looking deeply into their eyes and ready to connect. Unfortunately coming in with a bunch of expectations is like carrying your heaviest relative on your back while trying to fill your plate with turkey and stuffing. I know last Thanksgiving I was so anxious to see my family, particularly my dad. He had been battling throat cancer, and we debated even going through the rituals of eating out of respect for him, as he was still eating through a portal in his stomach. We all gave repeated thanks over this gathering. We all slowed down, my brother helped my independent dad with all of his yard projects that had slipped away while his body was busy breaking down and building back up again. I remember arriving and walking up to my dad and wrapping my arms around his slim body. As we held each other in one of the longest hugs my dad ever allowed, because he wasn’t much of a hugger before cancer, I tried my damndest not to cry. (Of course I totally lost it..) He continued to reassure me he was fine, and he stubbornly walked through that Thanksgiving with no real feast that he could eat. But rather feasted his eyes, and heart on all the family that showed up to be with him; and for me that was the only place on the planet I wanted to be. So as I sat holding his hand, and just basking in the presence of my father, I gave a huge heartfelt thanks that we could all have another Thanksgiving together again.
Now to the part you yogi’s have been waiting for. How did I show up for this time with my father. Prior to heading down south I spent a week with my teacher. I did heart work, confronted my fears, and was held in the Sangha of my Para Yoga and Vimana yoga communities. Why I’m telling you this is because we often make the mistake of showing up distracted, on our phones and with work, or relationship commitments lingering in the back of our minds. What my teacher explains beautifully and I have been a practitioner of for many years is invocation. So when I was with my teacher and thinking of my father when he was in the throws of his cancer treatments, I would use invocation and think about his healing while I was meditating. People have been invoking God/Goddess and Spirit and our ancestors when situations feel too big for a human being to handle. And this is the ticket, many things are too big for one person even if they have a huge capacity. So when you show up, don’t show up alone, call on your ancestors, your lineage, your higher power to give you the support, and hold space for you to conquer the challenges of your life.
So because I want to make this accessible and non-denominational; I want to invoke the elements to give us the strength, support, and power to meet our life challenges. To meet our family members who may have different views with love, compassion, and open arms. I’m going to share two ways to bring in the elemental strength and clearing; You can either stand with your feet together or hip distance apart or you can do this as a Nidra at the end of your practice laying on your back. If you chose Nidra when you finish allow yourself a few minutes to bask in your balance before you jump up. If you stand recite your intention holding stillness before venturing forward.
Begin by bringing your breath from your feet up to the bottom of your pelvis, and as you do draw in the energy of the earth, the grounding of your roots, and let this stability support you. As you exhale let the breath or energy associated with your breath move back down to your feet.
Inhale again from your feet up to the space just above your pelvic floor but not all the way to the navel. This is drawing in your water element; your fluidity, buoyancy, your ability to flow around or be a force to be reckoned with… When you exhale let that water energy descend and feel the water inside yourself balanced.
Inhale from your feet up to the space just below your navel invoking the fire that’s inside of you; this is your creativity, passion, heat and sometimes will. This is the fire that stokes the heart and the soul. As you exhale let the fire and breath warm you down to your feet.
Inhale from your feet up to your heart; invoke your wind, your prana and your ability to be in the present moment. Allow the wind and breath to carry your heart ache away clearing as you exhale and let the breath move back down to the feet.
Inhale from your feet up to your throat, and as you feel the space inside of yourself opening up. This is our ether, so where ever you feel closed down let that space give you room to be again. As you exhale let that space move down your body and out through your feet opening you up.
The next two breaths are similar and are about invoking your feminine and masculine energy; first inhale from your feet up to your head. Bring in, and balance your feminine energy as you let your breath rise to the center brow. You may even feel the energy move up the left side of your body. Then feel that balancing of the feminine as the breath moves down through the feet. Then bring in the masculine energy, and what that means to you, allowing the breath to move directly up or on the right side, until it rest on the center of the forehead. Then let the breath descend balancing your masculine energy as it moves back down to your feet.
Lastly allow the breath to move from your feet up; as it does feel all of your elements balancing all the way to the crown. Then as the breath descends allow all of your elements to be in balance with the element outside of yourself.
You can always spend multiple breaths with a particular element if it feels weakened, this will uplift it and bring it back to balance. When your done from standing you can move into your practice keeping your breath in this ascending and descending rhythm, or you can transition out of your childhood room into the living room the cool collected grown up you are.
So this thanksgiving although it’s going to signify and hold space for a new chapter in my life; not unlike my last year I’m going to call in as much support as I can muster and not show up alone, but rather show up harnessing the elements that hold me in these mountains every day. I’m going to give thanks, for my beautiful children, the health of my mom, dad and siblings. I’m going to send love to all of my extended family on both sides. I know I’m going to be held by my amazing community, and the friends that are planning on showing up at yoga and for the later festivities. I’m going to give thanks for this new chapter of my life the one I call my third, invoke all of my elements and lineage; look you in the eyes, and give you and this life a great big hug.
Blessings on your holiday and time with loved ones, and blessings on you,