Monday, March 24, 2008

Drishti - Active Oxygenation

(the point of focus, where the eyes gaze)
Meditations on Yoga from Gregg

Last Friday's Moon Day Pranayama session at the Lab was quite powerful. We continued with our exploration of our planting and harvesting metaphor and went on a guided meditation that encouraged using the many tools we have available to harvest our "crops" between the Full and New Moon. Whether you're a yogi or not, connecting to the cycles of the Moon can be life changing. Just a minimal awareness of Moon Days can empower us by deepening the connection of our minds to the manifold systems and cycles around us. This too can assist our motion towards sustainability as discussed in last week's Drishti.

After our meditation we discussed a few techniques beginners can use to assist in achieving a more rewarding experience with meditation. Of course the first technique isn't really a technique, it is simply to practice, practice, practice. My exploration of mediation began over 20 years ago and the first decade was rough to say the least. It takes the body and mind time to adjust to stillness and this adjustment will come as quickly as our practice provides for. That being said, our practice must remain somewhat detached and we must be gentle on ourselves. Stillness cannot be forced.

One of the new tools that I shared last Friday and one that I'm currently exploring, is the idea of active oxygenation. Anyone who has tried to meditate has experienced twitches and other involuntary movements. This can stem from the very natural fallout that occurs when trying to turn an object in motion into an object at rest or from a desire to protect oneself from the discomfort that sometimes comes with introspection. We always try to focus on the breath to relax our minds and bodies but an awareness of just how active breath can be may assist to diffuse twitches. The respiratory and circulatory systems are linked through the capillaries where the blood is oxygenated and then shipped through the body for use. This process is extremely vibrant and active and if we allow ourselves to tune into it we may find an active process within the body to focus upon. This, in turn, may relax the body and mind's expressions through involuntary motions.

We talk in class about bringing our awareness down to the cellular level all the time and a great boon to this is being able to visualize what is going on at this level. So, another suggestion and probably the most overarching of all, is to go out an pick up a copy of the Anatomy Coloring Book. Pick up some crayons or markers and go to town coloring, and in turn learning in detail, the circulatory and respiratory systems. If we grasp the amazing activity that is going on within us we can mellow those twitches and spasms during our mediation. Of course, as we deepen our meditation skills we will also let go of this and move closer towards samadhi.

Spring New Moon - Puja Workshop
The next New Moon is the first of Spring and traditionally one of the most auspicious days on the Hindu Calendar. This year the Spring New Moon falls on Saturday April 5th and we will be offering a special Puja Workshop at 10 am, in place of our traditional asana classes. Puja is an act of devotion, reverence and offering towards an inspirational aspect of one's life. In Traditional practice Puja is performed for various godforms. We have expanded our Puja practice here at the Lab to include our ancestors, inspirational figures, and even the city of Detroit! We perform Puja many times throughout the day at the various shrines we've established in the Lab.

For this workshop we will take you through some Puja basics and demystify another aspect of our work here at the Lab. Though our connection to the Divine has manifested primarily through Hinduism it's important to note that the tools used in this Puja Workshop can be applied to enhance your connection to the Divine no matter what your faith. The goal with Puja is to create a sense of reverence for something outside of ourselves and a loosening of ego, which I feel we all need these days! This workshop will be free though we gladly accept donations to offset our cost of our temple supplies throughout the spring.

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