On the Edge of The Solstice: It started with the dark skies and early morning rain. It was enhanced by the cold cave-like days just before the winter solstice and wound up with the heightened stress of the approaching holidays—even to the degree that some of us ignore them. Almost everyone felt it to some extent about the time their eyes opened to the morning–a dread, a sinking in the belly, stiffness in the bones, a cold. The day had a weight to it. Not the immobilizing weight of depression but more like a dark suspension. And, even though some felt righteously celebratory that our madman had been impeached, it did nothing to lighten things–no views were changed, no mistrust or suspicions resolved– divisions fortified. The world will never be what it was again. Even Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi was being tried for war crimes on this winter’s day.
The veil between what is happening out in the world and in our own lives is thin. Thinner each day as we hurdle towards 2020–dramatic divisions remain for now. Every time that we have a view of how we thought things should go, how we truly believe things could be different, will be challenged. Climate change, turbulent change, we fear change and…dislike the way things are. The grace is the practice, is meditation, is the awareness of that which holds all things, all displays, all manifestation in its vastness. So, we abide, surrender, open, yoga… I feel that too… I feel you watchful ones who chose love—a love full of contradiction. I feel that love and clarity too, and open, and open, and try opening some more… Blessed Solstice, David
PLAYLIST: Dinah Washington / Max Richter – This Bitter Earth / On The Nature Of Daylight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXHGoaEtmFM
“By meditating or practising yoga, we should not merely seek the peace that a wise practice inevitably leaves in its wake. Peace is not an end unto itself, just a means. When our mind is at peace, we can listen to our heart, realize our dharma, and then act upon it. A troubled, turbulent mind can hardly see itself objectively or fathom the purpose for its creation. Hence, cultivating peace of mind helps us discover the purpose of our existence. Peace must not simply serve our desire for comfort; it must serve our dharma. So find peace, yet reject peace. Strive for purposeful peace, while discarding the lethargic peace that prevents you from actively living your dharma.”
“Be present. Make love. Make tea. Avoid small talk. Embrace conversation. Buy a plant, water it. Make your bed. Make someone else’s be. Have a smart mouth and a quick wit. Run. Make art. Create. Swim in the ocean. Swim in the rain. Take chances. Ask questions. Make mistakes. Learn. Know your worth. Love fiercely. Forgive quickly. Let go of what doesn’t make you happy. Grow.”
“REST is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is not stasis but the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually, but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to become present in a different way than through action, and especially to give up on the will as the prime motivator of endeavour, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals.To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we put it right; to rest is to fall back, literally or figuratively from outer targets, not even to a sense of inner accomplishment or an imagined state of attained stillness, but to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of natural exchange…”
“As long as I live, I vow to die and be reborn, die and be reborn, die and be reborn, over and over again, forever reinventing myself. I promise to be stronger than hate, wetter than water, deeper than the abyss, and wilder than the sun. I pledge to remember that I am not only a sweating, half-asleep, excitable, bumbling jumble of desires, but that I am also an immortal four-dimensional messiah in continuous telepathic touch with all of creation. I vow to love and honor my highs and my lows my yeses and noes, my give and my take, the life I wish I had and the life I actually have. I promise to push hard to get better and smarter, grow my devotion to the truth, fuel my commitment to beauty, refine my emotions, hone my dreams, wrestle with my shadow, purge my ignorance, and soften my heart — even as I always accept myself for exactly who I am, with all of my so-called foibles and wobbles.”
The sun is associated with illumination, and therefore enlightenment. The Sun is the king of the sky, the embodiment of righteousness (dharma), and is the most visible and easily recognized of deities. Seeing and being seen (dharshana) by an enlightened deity is auspicious and tends to improve luck.
Spending time near an enlightened being or in a location (like on a sacred mountain, or at the shore of a sacred river, or in a temple) that is auspicious will “rub off” on you and help you to align with the enlightened state of that being, or the auspicious nature of that location. Actions, situations, and locations that obscure your ability to see clearly or be enlightened are generally considered inauspicious and best avoided. Eclipses block the illuminating power of the Sun (Righteousness/Dharma) and the Moon (Nourishment/Intuition). The word for planet in Sanskrit “Graha” means “to seize.” because their influence is said to ‘seize’ our consciousness and cause us to play out our karma in a reactive way.
This can be understood as a kind of possession, a partial possession, in that you are being possessed by an energetic pattern that causes you to act like a puppet. You are still “you” but heavily influenced in an unconscious way. This isn’t “bad,” it’s just normal, but it does imply a lack of freedom. The whole point of spiritual practice is to increase your freedom, self-possession, the ability to discern and choose for yourself what you wish to do and which path you wish to walk. The more directly you view planet, or bathe in its light, and the longer time you soak up the light, the stronger the influence.
As yogins, our path is one of skillful means, choosing the situations and experiences that lead us toward our goal, whether that is stillness, liberation, or union. So it is important for us to be clear about the choices we make that lead toward illumination or toward obscuration. It is to CHOOSE what is appropriate for you at this time, what helps you along your path. In Vedic astrology, solar eclipses are said to accelerate social evolution, often through agitation, which may present as some kind of crisis or confusion. Synchronistic with this view is that the shadow of this eclipse will move across the states from cost to cost, at a time when the U.S. government seems to be teetering on the edge of a breakdown.
Monday’s solar eclipse falls in the area of the sky known as the heart of Leo the lion. The magnanimous Leo is a generous and honorable star that holds the blessings of our ancestors and the powerful bonds of loyalty held within bloodlines. But called the “throne of kings,” because it is also the star of authoritarian power, nationalistic and racial pride—it also happens to be the rising birth star (ascendant) of the current American president, a president who was born during an eclipse. Trump’s astrology shows a unique configuration where all the planets at the time of his birth were in “the belly of the serpent.” They are grouped between the shadow planets known as the north and south node that create the alignment of the eclipse. Traditionally it is recommended that one stay indoors during the eclipse, not to cook food or eat, and to wear lightcolored clothing (that which best reflects light.)
“The wrecking ball has arrived. Never fear. Never accept the appearance of things. The young king with Alexander the Great’s personality traits appears to have his prize. Hillary the warrior does not yet know the horror she avoided. All this shall pass in this unstable universe of ours. Do not under any circumstances engage in fear. Do what empowers you. Keep your hearts open no matter how hard. Do not engage in martyrdom, resentment or hopelessness. As the old Buddhist monk said when faced with alternating praise and condemnation,”Oh, is that so?” In every seeming impossible situation there is always opportunity…We are beyond ready for major change and as a collective we have chosen our agent. Let us not allow our attachments to stand in the way of the work ahead of us.”
Jose Stevens, Shamanic Healer/Visionary
Inversions revitalize the whole system, reversing the effects of gravity – mentally and physically – by bathing the brain with nourishment. Inversions cleanse, nourish, clear the mind, and improve thinking. They improve circulation and assist the lymphatic system.
They relieve strain and fatigue in the legs and feet. Inversions can stimulate sluggish digestion and elimination and practiced with regularity can aid in good sleep. What’s not to like? This workshop takes on many inverted asanas from the most basic to the most challenging. Focus on neck strengthening, shoulder stabilization, core abdominal, and the fears associated with being upside down.
The Bandhas are essential to yoga and are what distinguish asana practice from other forms of exercise. They constitute the core physical and energetic strength necessary for sustaining rigorous yoga practices, stimulate the awakening of kundalini shakti for Kindalini yoga, and, are the organic result of alignment practiced in Anusara yoga. This workshop focuses on the proper use of bandhas (energetic and muscular locks) as means for sustaining and deepening yoga practice.
The shatkarmas (shat – six – karmas – actions) consist of six groups of purification practices with the objective of harmonizing the two significant pranic paths of “ida” and “pingala” or lunar and solar energies. They also affect the three humors or “doshas” discussed in Ayurveda of Vata, Pitta, & Kapha. Since these practices should only be studied with a qualified teacher and not through books or fashion, few contemporary yogis have an understanding of these kriyas. This workshop will look at the most basic approaches and cautions of these practices while shedding some light on their importance and the preparation and instruction needed to go deeper.