Friday, May 31, 2013

Saving your inner shine

One of my favorite topics of practice is Trishtana, or 3 tools the practice of yoga gives us to draw our attention within. The three tool are: drishti, asana, pranayama.
I was spending some time with me nephew a few weekends ago, we spent the evening playing with his fort and soldiers. As e was busy 'attacking the bad and protecting the good guys' I was thinking about how I could get him to think about yoga in a fun, understandable way…this is what we came up with:

Dristhi , or the gaze, is like the guards guarding the entrance of the fort, or the body.
Pranayama, or the Breath, is like the soldiers that go into the fort, to unlock the gates for the treasure, or the 
Atman, aka the shine, waiting to be unleashed.

Asana, or the shape the body is placed in, is the fort within which the treasure (shine) is hidden. 
The soldiers are on a mission to unleash the shine.  The work they do depends upon the guards (so their focus, or concentration) and the agility of the soldiers(the even, steady, victorious ujayi breath). The stronger the structure of the fort ( body) the easier the work for the soldier to reach the treasure, because the fort won't collapse. 

Through yoga we cultivate a strong yet supple  body. Its a constant graceful search for balance between sthira and sukha...a search for equilibrium:

"The word, Sthira, means more than just firm. It translates as stable, resolute, changeless. Sthira speaks not only of challenge, strength, endurance and fortitude but also vigilance, the ability to be pay attention, to be present. It is the opposite of agitation and refers to both physical and mental stillness: a controlled, fully engaged body and a focused mind. The word Sukha translates as pleasurable, joyful, agreeable, easy, comfortable, happy, prosperous, relaxed. It is the opposite of discomfort, suffering or pain (duhkha). Here we bring in the principles non-violence and self acceptance. We nurture ourselves by doing something that feels good."

In this harmonious balance we are able to  create the opportunity to search within…
to unleash our shine!

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