Monday, April 26, 2010

my five elements/ koshas...flowing vs. holding

There are five elements that relate to the five koshas (sheaths/layers) including: earth (annamya kosha), water (pranamaya kosha), fire (manomaya kosha), air (vijnanamaya kosha) and space/either/sky (anandamaya kosha). Here is the dominating order of my koshas/elements:

1.Fire: I feel like I have a lot of passion. Fire is a burning, transformative power energy that is always seeking the next level. Fire is always rising, and aspiring for greatness. I always try to do my best. I need to monitor my fire because too much fire can be destructive.

2.Air: Air is very quick moving, it never stops and it never it gets stuck. I feel like I have a very quick moving mind, very dexterous. I can take topics/subjects/metaphors and apply them to many things. I can learn about an aspect of inner spiral in utkatasana (chair pose) and then figure out how to apply that aspect of inner spiral in all other poses. I can learn that inner spiral is a way to draw into the self. Inner spiral starts at the medial (inner) heal and wraps around like an ace bandage all the way up to the floating ribs, the core slightly engages, and then the inner spiral comes out the back and widens the back. So when you inner spiral you draw into your front body (which is like a metaphor for drawing into yourself) in order to expand more fully on your back body (which is a metaphor for expanding and interacting with the universal…the rest of the world).

3.Earth: I feel I am stable and have discipline. The earth is solid, hard and unweaving. When I am passionate about something (ex. The study of yoga) I am strong and unwavering I have a lot of disciple. If I teacher tells me to do something I hear it once and will remember and practice it with discipline. When problems arise, I have strength, and determination. However in terms of my doshas (my ayurvedic constitutions) I am pitta (fire), and vata(wind). So I balance my kappah dosha(earth) by eatting heavier foods, avoid spicy foods (which is my weakness, I love the fire in my mouth) and applying oil to my body.

4.Space/either/sky: Sky is unbounded and wide open. It is having a beginners mind. I think the longer you practice yoga the more you can develop this mind like “I know what I am doing…I have been practicing for years…I am the shit…”Being like the sky is being soft and humble. Like no matter what a teacher teaches even if you have heard it a thousand times before you can still learn, you can choose to be open, willing, and humble. Every experience is new and every experience presents a new opportunity to learn. It is having an attitude of “just try it”. When I was younger I was a competitive snowboarder and I also was a little depressed. I felt like I shouldn’t be humble I needed to be the best and show others that I was awesome. I didn’t have a lot of the element of sky. Aftering practing yoga I stopped competing in snowboarding and feel much more open and soft. I feel Anusara has helped me to be humble. Every Anusara class I take; I learn more about myself and about the practice. The more I learn about Anusara yoga and myself, I realize I know very little and I have SOOO much more to learn. This is so humbling. I have said this before..But one thing I love about the humbling experience of Anusara is that as I get my ego smashed down, instead of feeling like I should go cry, I feel empowered and eager to learn and practice more. I know that the poses I do, if I do them with fullness (Purnatva) and with heart they are perfect. Just like my neighbors pose are perfect even if we don’t look the same. Of course I could always use more sky, more humbleness, and more openness. I am sure the more I practice Anusara yoga the more humble I will become.

5.Water: Lastly I think I have the least amount of the water element. Water is flexible, humble and it is down moving. When an obstacle comes in the way like a rock, the water doesn’t freak out, it goes around any obstacle. It goes with the flow. I like plans and order. When obstacles come up it is harder for me to be flexible and say “that’s okay”. For the past five years I have been practicing vinyasa style yoga. I thought the flowing nature of this yoga, that moves with the breath pretty quickly, would help me become more flexible and flowy. I did get good at flowing. However, that became my plane, what I expected. I was used to holding poses for just a few breaths with less emphasis on alignment, and flowing quickly. Now I think that holding poses and practicing alignment for an unknown amount of time, actually adds more water element to my practice.… here is a fun fact…I learned that the muscle spindles take 90-120 seconds to release, to make sure that we aren’t in danger. That means it is good to come into a pose to move around and find the alignment and then to hold the pose for more than 90 seconds so the muscle spindles have a chance to relax. This is very different then the way I used to flow and practice but I think it brings more water more fluidity to my life. Learning that things don’t always have to go the way I think they should. For example, I don’t always have to lift my leg up as I inhale and swing it through as I exhale. I can just step my foot straight between my hands. I still love flowing but I also love what I learn with my mind, body, and heart when I hold a pose.

I loved the Anusara immersion (part 1). I am so excited for my personal practice, I feel I have so much to work and focus on….fun fun fun!!!

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