Yoga arose from Ayurveda, the ancient system of healthy practices, nutrition and medicine that holistically addresse the mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda uses the natural rhythms in nature as well as the 5 major natural elements to support and maintain balance in individuals. Our unique combination of the five elements make up our Dosha. In the fall we learned about the Vata Dosha (Sept. 15-Jan. 15) composed of air and space, we are now in the Kapha Dosha (January 15-May 15) composed of earth and water, in May we will enter the Pitta Dosha (May 15-Sept. 15) composed of fire and water.
Kapha season occurs when nature is wet, cold and heavy; if you mix earth and water you get mud which reflects the Kapha physical characteristics: round/broad features, strong bones, large muscles, slow metabolism, thick often oily hair, heavy, stable, soft and strong. Kapha mental characteristics are tolerant, patient, generous, courageous, stable, calm, down-to-earth, enjoyment of sensory pleasures, slow to change and deliberate in reacting. Each of us is made up of all three Doshas, although one Dosha is usually predominant. During the Kapha time of year, all can benefit from the practices and diet that support and bring balance to this Dosha.
In order to "rise from the mud", we need inspiration, uplift, movement, stimulation, warmth, breaking up our routines and removing clutter. The yoga practices that support us during Kapha season also support the third Chakra, the Solar Plexus Chakra, which (not coincidently) we are focusing on in January and February in class. If you’ve been in class the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed that we’ve been building a little heat and a glow in our hearts as we practice. We are not building heat in a “no pain, no gain” style but in a “knit your abdomen to your spine, breathe deep, and pay attention to your body” kind of way.
The Lotus plant has its roots firmly in the mud; Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist spiritual leader teaches,
" Without suffering through the mud, you cannot find the happiness of the lotus. Without grit, there is no pearl…. when we know how to suffer, we suffer less."
I have learned to notice when I'm stuck in the mud, to not fear the struggle or even the pain that it takes to step out of the mud, knowing that this is what brings the love, the beauty and the softness I so want to experience.
I hope you will join me in class as we explore these themes, learning, growing and rising along side one another.
You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don't. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.
Invictus Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
A Hopi Elder Speaks
"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour,
now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered . . .
Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader."
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"
"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.
"Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
"The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
"We are the ones we've been waiting for."