alexandrite

Home Practice #3 Snow Yoga

January 2015 

The tools we gather in our youth and innocence are more valuable to us now than ever before


#snowyoga2015
Photo by Lulu (Lezele A. Chrispin)

It really is all in our minds. 
If it weren't for my thoughts I could get into a full split right now. 
My mind believes I have limitations I do not. 
Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
  
Garland of Letters in Philadelphia a place with a pulse has become a refuge. 
Something about this space helps me clear through the mud and come out a lotus. 
A gentle, yet firey spirited white bearded yogi and nurtured therapist wander throughout. 
Garland is an oasis filled with a world of cultures, healers, educators, beauty and so many sacred in-describe-ables
Recently they sent me home with the antidote for a dense San Francisco-like fog that began to hover around my yoga practice. Sandalwood suggested by Kevin Starbard, "what it smells like in India's Temple's" and attending the Hatha classes held with Dr. Pratap were my prescriptions. 

I lit the incense like a torch in my yoga corner where I breathe like a dragon, focus and hug myself into a playful, thoughtless, fearless state.
The billowing clouds of smoke seemed to chase away the fog and penetrate the air with something new."Sarah, there you are" I said. It opened me right up, again
I was like a new born baby in no time (a dab of Dr. Green's green honey also helped.)

I'm freer, happier, younger and closer to my origins everyday.
It doesn't have to make sense.
I can feel it working.


"This is something we all can create and master it's been around since the human spirit" Kino MacGregor on Yoga, stillness and inner peace. 

Quite a lengthy timeline to tackle.
The academic and scholarly portion of this study is extensive and seems to constantly expand, while it blows my mind. The history and lineage in discussion predates Christ. The Bhagavad Gita, The Sutras, Sanskrit, Goddesses, Diety's, Ayurveda, Lands, Ancient texts, teachers of teachers, Guru's and treasured secrets that light the path during the battle for self-mastery.

*The list goes on and on spurring questions like, "Ashtanga" shouldn't it really be called "Korunta" which started it all? (Korunta, the ancient text by Vamana Rishi, teacher of Rama Mohan Brahmachari who then taught Krishnamacharya in Tibet who then taught Guruji or Sri K Pattabhi Jois who studied the Korunta and brought the Ashtanga Yoga system, which means eight limbed yoga described as disciplines by Patanjali: restraints, observances, posture, breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation, unification of subject and object.) 

Patanjali , the great Sage who wrote the Sutras I believe it's unclear if Patanjali was a she, he or even an actual being- the philosophy seems to be accessed through practicing the asana's.
Ashtanga Guru Pattabhi Jois  says, "...99% is practice..." 


That's where the real learning happens it's there in the posture itself
Hence, I'm crawling out from under the piles of book, dusting off my limbs and exploring my own timeline. "I'm practicing," says Kate Ryan Maring.

Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
Practice being like an infant alive with instinct, sucking on your toes (Ella inspired) without hesitation, fear, or apology.
Find the focus point. Breathe. Relax. Soften. Surrender. Repeat.
*each posture has a specific gaze: nose, belly button, sky...
and 
*the method that makes it work, like pressing forward on the sacrum after stabilizing your pelvis and internally rotating the thighs to get into an easy Ustrasana relaxing the neck and using the natural form of the cervical spine
I have to really pay attention to the looking points (drishti/focus points) or I can easily drift away and topple over. Intellectuals fall victim to this particularly in headstands"wait where am I...?" Timber!
It's mystifying sometimes when I fall. I may not see it coming because I'm looking inward, you know? I'm really deep inside of myself I have disconnected from senses and don't feel a damn thing!
But, once you learn how to fall you fear it less.
Guruji said to Kino when she was struggling, "Asana(postures), Pranayama(Breathe), Drishti(focus withdrawing from the senses) Do this for many, many years and you will find peace."

Talk to your body with not one thought of anyone or anything else in existence.
It's on the cells of the body the secrets of the universe live.
It's where the lessons are learned and downfalls are revealed. 
Struggles overcome.
Battles won.
Diseases cured.
It's where you will get to play hopscotch with your genuine self, roll down grassy hills with reckless abandon.

"... It's like psychotherapy without the 'why' just experience it." Kino MacGregor says on practicing. 
Among what I am drawn to in the Ashtanga method is the way it exhausts me to relax me; still your mind which is the real body part we are alchemizing. Everything else follows.
It's a stoking the fire method I realized recently when the cold rolled in and I was pulled to build more heat in and around my body (hence the smokey incense which I haven't used in years, fire ignites. Moxa is great for this also.)

It went like this, 
 I ran out of excuses, It was raining, 30 degrees and dark, I felt the wind give me a push and so I ran anyway (I have a history with braving the elements.)
In moments it was Bikram 105 degrees hot.
Agni (fire) was ripping through my bullshit and dripping down my back.
I ran all the way home like a fucking Viking and I'm so happy I did
(See results on Strava Run titled, "Winter Fairy. Blink Green.")
This took my practice higher just when I felt like caving in. 
When I stopped running, I got into my first headstand.
I was alive and bending like a baby, again.
It took months, but on 1-6-15 I got onto my forearms in headstand and can completely flatten my hands onto the ground when bending down to touch my toes without much bend in my knees, or injury to those around me.

It dawned on me while being nibbled on by cold winds roaring over the bridge exiting Penn's campus. 
It's me I'm bending into, rushing into my splits to get to me, falling on my mat while Liana tries to show me how to slow down, to get to me.
I'm in there, I can see the real me, and I want to play with her.

"Subtle Truth: you are what you love" Rumi.

It doesn't all have to make sense.
I can feel it working.
Keep practicing. 


References: 
The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran.
The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice by Kino MacGregor. 
Liana Cameris, Yoga Goddess Instructor, Spirit Dancer, Light and Guider West Coast USA.
Caroline Ashurst, Acupuncture Practitioner and Yogini at heart in Philadelphia PA
Garage Yoga with Ashtangi Liza DiGaetano in SanDiego

Garland of Letters Book Store with Kevin Starbard Thai Massage Therapist Philadelphia, PA.
Yoga Research Society and The Sky Foundation with Dr. Vijayendra Pratap, Ph.D., D.Y.P.


Thanks for reading.

Sarah

Alexandrite, a scarce gem formed through a rare and powerful combination



Alexandrite is Beryllium Aluminum Oxide (BeO Al2 O3.) The happiness stone, worn for increasing wins and invoking the change you want to see.

The stone may be used to help one return to the origin of time and to connect with the beginning of one's development.
It is considered a stone of very good omen. 
In critical situations it is supposed to strengthen the wearer’s intuition, and thus help him or her find new ways forward in situations where logic will not provide an answer. 

Alexandrite emerged millions of years ago in a metamorphic environment, like many other gemstones (sapphire, diamonds, ruby, emerald.) But unlike many others, its formation required specific geological conditions. The chemical elements beryllium (a major constituent in chrysoberyl) and chromium (the colouring agent in alexandrite) have contrasting chemical characteristics and do not as a rule occur together, usually being found in contrasting rock types.

Not only has Nature brought these contrasting rock types into contact with each other, but a lack of the chemical element silica (the second most common element in the Earth's crust) is also required to prevent the growth of emerald. This geological scenario required to create this chemical composition, which creates Alexandrite, has occurred only rarely in the Earth's history and, as a result, alexandrite crystals are very scarce indeed.
 International Colored Gemstone Association

Among the stones most sensational qualities are in its optics, it reacts to light, and changes color according to the environment it is in. You can also see within this stone a "cat's eye" when the quality includes silky inclusions. In daylight it is bluish-green or even emerald-green color, and in the artificial light it may be red, crimson, purple-red and violet-red. 

It is said this stone is emerald during the day and ruby in the evening. Originally the dense-green stone was mistaken for an emerald; however it was harder than an emerald, and in the candle light it lit up with a blood-red fire hue. 

Known for its duality, the colors in Alexandrite have been compared with the duality of human blood, both venous and arterial. It's known to clear and strengthen the blood vessels, heal all matters of the central nervous system and tissue regeneration.

Metaphysics physicians who have studied the stone, say 
it brings about explicit change and happiness for its carrier.
It shockingly will change color if there is a change in the wearers health, and 
it has shown to increase chances of winning in competitions. It has shown to aid in physical ailments, or prolonged illness, restore internal and physical energy, while merging your physical and mental bodies.  Alexandrite is also reputed to aid creativity and inspire the imagination. Opens Heart, Solar Plexus, and especially Crown Centers. 

It accentuates the feeling of love and sensuality in your heart and body. It boosts up awakening of both the inner and the outer self, replenishing you with the momentum to shoot through the changing of your world and imbibing the qualities of creativity, grandeur and awareness in the compass of instance. As it possesses regenerative endowments.

The gem can ameliorate you in rebirth or death times- when you need to commute debilitated things into new ones. It empowers your inner strength. It espouses happiness and congenial surprises in your life and blossoms your life with opulence and prosperity.


Related Element: Water


Chakra #7 Sahasrara      Color: Violet Desires: aspiration to get into an essence of things.Task: to find knowledge and wisdom. This Chakra, located in the parietal area (read more about the parietal lobe- the visuals brain I like to call it- and see diagram above for where it is located http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietal_lobe ) of a head, operates the most powerful vibrations of the body. In translation from Sanskrit "Sahasrara" means "thousand” and is represented by flower of a lotus with thousand petals. This chakra supports balance between an external appearance of the person and his internal spiritual content.