Monday, February 22, 2010

Adhikara (studentship)...The 5 elements of student ship. Questions to contemplate on. How to cultivate in asana practice.

Adhikara (studentship)
Adhikara, is a Sanskrit word that translates to mean studentship. Adhikara can be applied to any aspect and any skill in your life…Yoga, piano, parenting…But I will be focusing on how to apply adhikara to your yoga practice. It is such a wonderful qualities to cultivate. The more you apply adhikara in your practice, the more you will see it spreading into every aspect of your life.

Adhikara is made up of 5 qualities/elements includeing:
1. Sky: unbounded, beginners mind, soft, humble, “just try it” attitude.
2. Earth: solid, unwavering, grounded.
3. Water: fluid, receptive, accommodating.
4. Fire: burning, transformative energy, aspiring for greatness, reaching for excellence.
5. Air: dexterity of mind, flexible thinking, breath, not getting stuck.

How to embody the five elements:
1.Be open like the sky. Be humble. Instead of being stubborn, cultivate a “just try it” attitude. The sun is always shining somewhere in the sky so connect to your inner brightness!
2.Be steady like the earth. Find strength, dig deep. Total power. Have unwavering disciple on your path.
3.Be like the water. Be fluid. Be humble. Any obstacle that comes in your way you can deal with, your accommodating. Be accommodating with what the body needs when you are on your mat. Every vinyasa? Childs pose?
4.Be like the fire. Have passion. Reach for excellence. What drives you? What inspires you? What fuels your action? Aspire for greatness. Feel the transformative energy of the heart.
5.Be like the air. Always moving. Not get stuck in past assumptions. Feel the air in your breath. Be flexible in your mind. Apply the yoga teaching to your life!

Putting the 5 elements/qualities into practice:

•Surya Namaskar A:
Tadasana: open, soften (sky). Hug muscular energy in, strength (earth). Inner thighs back, truck tail bone (water). As the tail bone scoops under feel the lift in belly, aspire for greatness, reach up from the heart, fingers spread (fire). Breathe (air).
Uttanasana (forward fold) to Ardha Uttanasana(half way up forward fold): fold forward. Open to new possibilities (sky). Engage your thighs draw your shins toward each other (earth). Pelvis rotates forward over the thigh bones, like a waterfall as the spine lengthens toward the ground (water). Create length up the spine, like a candle flame (fire). Breath, keep moving and expanding (air).
Plank (top of a push up): soften and open. This is a new pose, open to something new (sky). Finger pads push down firmly the chest lifts up. The balls of the feet press down and forward the thighs draw back. Strength and stability (earth). Tuck tail bone under, find fluidity in pelvis (water). Allow your passion to keep you in the pose. Want to do good (fire). Feel the breath ripple through the body (air).
Chaturanga (four limbed staff): Soften your face and smile (sky). Bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, don’t let your shoulders drop bellow your elbows. Belly stays strong, thighs stay back, press into the hands and toes (earth). Tuck tailbone, feel the gentle movement as you hover above the ground, accommodate this gentle pulsation (water). Find the passion and drive that keeps you holding chaturanga. You could hold chaturanga for so long because you have aspiration to do great. Be great (fire). Breathe, flexible mind (air).
Bhujangasana (Cobra): let go of you knowing what this pose will be like, and open to something bigger (sky). Head and chest lift. Muscle energy, shoulders on the back body while maintaining length in the side body. Lift and open your heart. Press the tops of the feet down (earth). Tuck the tail bone get out of the low back and curl into the upper back (water) lift more with the heart, scope the tail bone more, press into the feet more, dig into yourself and find what inspires you in this pose (fire). Allow the breath to take you deeper (air).
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): Open to new possibilities open to Grace. We do this pose frequently, can you let go of your past experiences and experience something new (sky). Press into finger pads, claw the ground. Arms bone draw onto back body, shines pull together (earth). Groins back and apart, melt heart (water). Find your inner flame, your passion and allow that passion to fuel this pose (fire). Feel the breath move through you (air).
Uttanasana (forward fold) to Ardha Uttanasana(half way up forward fold): fold forward. Open to new possibilities (sky). Engage your thighs draw your shins toward each other (earth). Pelvis rotates forward over the thigh bones, like a waterfall as the spine lengthens toward the ground (water). Create length up the spine, like a candle flame (fire). Breath, keep moving and expanding (air).
Tadasana: open, soften (sky). Hug muscular energy in, strength (earth). Inner thighs back, truck tail bone (water). As the tail bone scoops under feel the lift in belly, aspire for greatness, reach up from the heart, fingers spread (fire). Breathe (air).

Specific Poses:
•Anjaneyasana (lunge): soften as you open to something new, something unbounded (sky). Start by bringing your hands to your thighs, draw your feet toward each other fire up the thighs. Strength, steadfast and unwavering (earth). Sit bones widen then, tuck the tail bone under creating freedom in pelvis (water). From the tucking of the tailbone feel the side bodies rise, from that lift extend. Reach from your kidneys, from your heart up to the finger tips. Reach to do great! Be great (fire). Breath softly with a gently smile that tickles your brain (air).
•Parsvakonasana (side angle pose): Open, don’t think you know everything. What would happen if you have a totally new revolution in this pose (sky). Same arm on thigh other hand to other hip, full power hug in. Draw your feet together, thigh bones engaged. Shoulders drawn away from the ears keeping the side body bight and long (earth). Widen the sit bones apart, and then inner spiral back leg. Externally rotate the front leg, tuck tail bone forward and toward the front heel. More space in the pelvis (water). Maintaining the length in side body reach hand on hip over head palm face down. Inner body bright. Allow your inner sweetness to shine out through the pours in your skin. This shinning out is your passion (fire). Breath (air).

The first quality that we looked at is “sky.” Questions to ask yourself:
• Do you have a beginner's mind?
• Are you present?
• Do you observe?
• Are you opened to grace?
• Are you stubborn or are you open to new possibilities?

The second quality that we look at is “earth.” Questions to ask yourself:
• Do you have a steady yoga practice with devotion?
• Have you dedicated yourself to yoga, meditation, and pranayama?
• Do you practice regularly?

The third quality we look at is “water.” Questions to ask yourself:
• Do you ride the waves of life?
• Do you go with the flow?
• Are you accommodating?

The fourth quality we look at is “fire”. Questions to ask yourself:
• Do you have aspiration in life?
• Do you have fire and desire?
• Do you want to exceed?
• Do you want to aspire to your greatness?

The fifth quality we look at is “air”. Questions to ask yourself:
• Are you able to flow with the winds of change?
• Do you have flexibility of mind?
• Can you apply the teaching from one pose to another?

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post! Love the way you brought all of the elements into each asana…very well thought out (and thought through) post! I'm sharing on my FB page :)

    ReplyDelete

Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...