Inspiring and eye opening discussion from Shiva Rea at Wanderlust last year about yoga energy activism.
There are some jaw dropping statistics that she demonstrates about our first world energy wasting!
“Shiva Rea addresses the Speakeasy attendees in Squaw Valley (2011) regarding Yoga Energy Activism: how we can regenerate our energy linking our heart, body, home and ecology.
Shiva Rea, M.A. is a yogini firekeeper, sacred activist, global adventurer and leading innovator in the evolution of prana flow yoga, transformational vinyasa flow integrating the tantric bhakti roots of yoga, Krishnamacharya’s teachings and a universal, quantum approach to the body. Shiva is known for bringing the roots of yoga alive for modern practitioners in creative, dynamic and life-transforming ways and for offering the synthesis form of prana flow out in the world. ”
Today I’ll have my private then I’m off to a 3 day retreat with Shiva.
Then I’ll be sad because I’m always sad after I see her.
Because the more I practice with someone amazing like her who transforms a 3 wave sequence into a fucking *experience*, the more I want to give up my white collar ambitions, drop everything, move to LA and do yoga until I die.
I am blessed.
Even if I have to write a stupid memo for class before I can enjoy anything.
I have spent the last month, since the last post, coming back down. Sharing my secrets of Surrendering and Self-Remembering I felt as if I pushed it, a little. But just as natural as that felt for me, I’ve always been one to push things a little bit here a little bit there… I felt this natural flow to come back into a stillness. And I have been resting there, exploring there, for the past month.
I have not yet expressed how much yoga has changed my life. Snapshot of me a year ago and of me now and you would be inspired to do yoga every day, too. Going from that same strengthening yoga practice every day to the fluid practice for every two days and then the strengthening of the third day I have become even more in tune with my body. Now able to sit in double pigeon, I find that I feel like an evolved being every time we go for a walk nowadays. My hips, once plagued with pain, having been born with dysplastic hips and sporting Forrest Gump braces for my first six months, now feel more lateral… they feel open and free to move. And from there my lower spine… open. My nervous system flows with energy… just booming with energy… from my lower spine, all my movements now feel full of life. I feel like a completely different person… taking every moment as a gift now.
But I’m human… or American I should say…. When I wake up every morning I just want to stay in bed. Even as I wash my face and “put in my eyes” I “don’t feel like doing yoga…uhhhh”. But last week I thought… “Dummy, you know yoga makes you feel good. Just moments into the practice you remember why you do this every day… so why not wake up feeling grateful for yoga”. Think, “I can’t wait to do yoga!” So, I changed my mindset… and I found myself with a completely different head. Instead of having a fear-based resistant mind I was open to the flow of becoming.
Some days I might express my gratitude for yoga, aloud. "Thank god I found this. Thank god it works.“ And my boyfriend, an intelligent skeptic, would ask, “Are you just setting up limits for yourself… that you ‘have’ to do yoga every day?” I would say…. “Nooooooooo. I know what I feel like when I don’t do yoga. I know what I feel like halfway through the practice when “the change” happens…. And I know what I feel like after the practice.” But the man had me thinking. Am I just setting up self-made limits? If I have been waking up and then practicing right away everyday… how would I really know?
So it was the second morning of new mind set, being excited for yoga. I’m in my living room and I only got to the second menu screen when I hear water ‘raining’ in my house. But….. it’s not raining. I look into the foyer and sheets of water are raining ‘in’ my house. What a sight! Sheets of water are raining in the basement. Let’s just say I got to put this yoga thing to the test. A three hour delay due to a broken pipe tested me. My mind, more centered than ever, making quick decisions and aware of small details to save a light fixture from smashing or the basement from becoming flooded. But as far as my body… my electrical system was short circuited. My neck, ready to bulge with pressure. My wrists, every joint, no flow. Moral of story… awakening to yoga… if you are suffering from Ehlers-Danlos… it might seem like something you don’t feel like doing… but I’m sorry… seems like the only path to me.
Spending every two days with this new practice has probably been the reason for riding the wave back in deeper.
“Then diving more deeply, expand into freedom.”
-From the beautiful Radiance Sutras (vijnana bhairava tantra)
The ra’yoKa practice doesn’t allow for deeper stretches, the flow is quicker. And to be honest I used to be skeptical of deep stretching with Ehlers-Danlos. Until I realized it is not about deep stretching your joints… this is deep stretching into the source. So looking at my snapshot… different person. From my point of view, what I feel within me… I feel in touch with that source… whatever it is, the stillness where everything is created from, qi, the lifeforce energy… my soul. I’m not one to label things… I’m more of an advocate of experiencing life than trying to explain, define and limit the essence of things.
I quoted Shiva Rea in my last post “many of my student friends, who feel quite stiff here, have a totally different experience when they move with the wave, keeping the fluid source of their flexibility, in play, in presence, in motion.” That was the first day of that practice… that was before I really started to feel the effects of this style of practice. She continues with, “so as you explore the landscape of your flexibility, visualize this, as a delta in which you can ride many tributaries down deeper into your source.” As a delta…. “Riding the many tributaries deeper into your source”. That has been my ‘mantra’ in a sense since I last wrote. With the solar plexus breathing, you really feel an awakening through your body. As any pendulum sways or as with any yin and yang, the force comes back. And this coming back, deep into relaxed state, riding the many tributaries deeper into the source is where I have been flowing lately. Whether at home, in the car, waiting in line at Trader Joe’s… I am still… riding the tributaries deep down.
I have reached the age of my parents, where my one parent had a heart attack. Within a couple years I will reach the age in which the other parent had a sub-dural hematoma… a blood vessel burst in the back of their head. I feel as if the torus breathing has had a great effect on my heart, it just seems to be in more of a working order nowadays. But my neck…. Ehhhhhhhh. So I thought, if I don’t think as much, if I center my mind… maybe my body will be in more of a working order. So with that came more awareness, but with that came awareness of pain, but I did not stop there. Rainbeau says often in her practices “What is in the way, is the way.” So from yoga, I have the centered mind as well as the synovial fluid flowing through my joints… but I’m assuming since I have a lack of connective tissue where my skull and spine meet… I’m just doomed. Unless I figure out alternatives. If I was a yogi meditating in a Himalayan cave all day I might be golden, but I’m an American Zebra. I’ve got shit to do.
As of late, my boyfriend has fallen in love with the fireplace, really as a way for cheap heat, but he is free to do as he pleases, so burn baby burn. For the past couple of weeks I lay, heart to hearth… watching the blue and orange flames dance wildly, in and out of existence. I never ever think, “Why me?” when it comes to Ehlers-Danlos…. But as I lay there the thought arises, “Why anyone?” But in these moments, if I catch myself before I get too philosophical… I think… stop thinking… melt. Ride the tributaries. Ride the tributaries. Close your eyes for a moment… when you exhale back in from the solar plexus breathing… when you exhale back in feel your entire self melt….. feel the intelligence inside your body relax into tiny rivers… into tributaries…. Into the ground. And from that relaxed point is where to build from. Falling back into the source.
So I had a neat flashback to a flashback moment happen. In Shiva Rea’s Fluid Power Yoga she introduced a move I had never done before. Swimming with the Infinite. When I met up with “The Other’s” who have EDS I felt as if I was meeting my long lost brother and my long lost sister. To finally meet someone who has been through all the hell and confusion you have been through it is such a release. You also notice the similarities and you feel not so alone anymore. The one thing I noticed… as we were all sitting around… is that they would feel this need to stretch out this arm or both legs. Constantly this wormy stretching. It dawned on me… I used to do that, too… before I was on the medications. Hmmmmm… but it was almost like they didn’t know when to stop stretching. It was this wildly motion of going out. Now that I’m getting in touch with my true nature… I’m finding the balance of that worming out. Even in my last post, I felt this going out feeling… but how to balance?
In Swimming with the Infinite… after either quite a core workout if using the Core Chapter… or if using the Prana Yoga Slow Wave Chapter it is more of an intoxicating womb like feeling… you lay, starting on your right side…. With your right arm underneath you stretch your right arm so it is above your head, but underneath you. Then, as if you are swimming, stretch your left arm out in front of you, and pulllllll it in slowly, as if you are really swimming, bringing energy in, feeling it come into your center, your core, your source. Simultaneously your legs are also swimming feeling the stretch on out… but also tethered to your core. This is a very beautiful, creative flowing movement. Whoahhhhhh… this is like swimming in the womb………………………………………….
The flashback of a flashback actually of a flashback. Haha.
About three years ago I was lucky enough to get myself into an Isolation Tank… a deprivation tank… a float tank. Whatever the name the game is sensory deprivation. This effect is possible due to the enclosed soundproof nature of the tank as well as the 700 pounds of Epson salts in the water of the tank. Also, the air temperature and water temperature of the tank are both set to about 93 degrees. The effect… you are floating in a dark enclosed space where the temperature all around you is the same as your skin. Total relaxation. Total boundary dissolution.
I’m not saying to go out and try it. It is not like a roller coaster ride where you will definitely have some grand experience. It is used as a healing tool if anything. Of the hour within the tank, you spend the first quarter of it getting used to the odd feeling. Trying to center yourself in the tank is the trick it seems… because if you don’t you find yourself drifting to the edge, bumping your foot as you are trying to meditate. My major assessment from my one time (I’m planning on visiting the tank later this winter), my major assessment at the time was that all those times I was meditating before the tank… I was NOWHERE close, NOWHERE EVEN close to a real relaxed state. I was completely unaware of how quiet the mind can get, how relaxed the mind can get. It was almost alarming to think I thought I was quieting my mind all those times before. I was kidding myself. Since this tank experience I have been doing yoga and meditating every day, but I also put aside fluoride and television three years ago. So I’m kinda excited to see how deep I can get this time.
So, I was relaxing in the tank and thought… my time is probably almost up. Let me see what time it is. I trudge through the thick water and open the space capsule door to the mildly lit room to see I have been in for 50 minutes. 10 minutes to go. Cool. So I bring my head back in, shut myself within the capsule and as I’m bringing myself back through the tank to lay down I think “How did all these stars get in here!?!?” The top of the tank is now a night sky filled with stars! I reach my hands out, is this real? I have been staring at the top of this tank for 50 minutes and these stars were not here before! I later read as an old parlor trick, the eye will often hallucinate if it is submitted to darkness then light and then back to darkness again. So I lay, floating, and for some natural reason I close my eyes. Then, in my mind’s eye, I see an eyeball float out and it starts out with a “shut” position and then goes to an “open” position. As it is opening, an arc of light is coming from the eyeball. I think to myself… whoah! I’m hallucinating! Hallucination in the tank is one of the possible effects. My boyfriend who was in before me did not hallucinate so I was very excited it was actually happening. The eye kept on opening and closing until I realized… Oh, I think it’s trying to tell me to open my eyes! I’m in complete darkness, open or closed didn’t seem to make a difference… well maybe it does! And I’m no longer staring at the stars I am now flying through the stars at light speed. Weightless, mindless, with relaxed breath. At this point I’m picking up on some sort of Grecian or Roman bust. It is of a man. In the collage of my last post there is a Grecian bust to the lower right of the image… that was put there because of this experience. At the time I was thinking that this was my higher self because of something my boyfriend read to me. I don’t know who the Grecian was, but he was of a “perfect” being. I probably should have written what I hallucinated after that point because now I do not remember. Maybe because all of the hallucinations were overshadowed by “the ultimate point”. I knew my time was coming to an end… so I started to move my body around. Up until this point I was focused on relaxing, so I could go deep into mind. But I thought, eh, I am always in pain, let me stretch these bones around while I’m floating in this weightlessness. Ahhhhhhhh….. Swimming with the infinite. Like I said earlier, I was born with dysplastic hips, where the ball and socket joint were not so connected… as I’m lying on my back, I think ehh, let me move my knees up and around to give my hips a little stretch… a little rotation. As my knees come up to the highest point they’ll naturally go I am hit with an all-encompassing moment…. I’m flooded with the deepest of thoughts and feeling but at the same time an all-encompassing feeling of nothingness… the thought/moment/feeling “This is a flashback of you being in the womb. This is how it felt when you were in the womb. You were meditating the whole time you were in the womb. You were a guru meditating in the womb”. And just as fast as it came, it left. That’s it! That’s the feeling we are all striving for. Everyone… everything… just wants to feel that feeling again. So why not try to find it… and hold on to it as long as humanly possible… sharing it with everyone even if it is in the littlest of ways.
What a deep peace.
Post written and painted on 11/13/12. Happy Birthday to my bestest of friends!!!!!! Hmmmm, on my past birthday we fed the koi at the botanical gardens… in which we chose to go there rather than the float tanks. What a koi-ink-ee-dink! Happy Birthday my Scorpian Sister…. <3 Your Fishie Piscean Friend :)
Swimming with the infinite, feeling the push and pull, that magnetic almost magical energy.
The blue and orange "complimentary colors” kept appearing these past couple of weeks… in these short but beautiful November sunsets as well as the dancing flames within my fireplace. The orange koi representing the Yang energy and the blue koi representing the Yin energy, they swim and play in a delicate balance, together creating harmony.
I’m waiting on some new yoga & Pilates DVDs to arrive but these classics keep me happy in the meantime. The Ashtanga one is really exceptional, great cueing and comments on awareness with beginner modifications shown.
Yoga Shakti is really versatile, with 4 pre-made vinyasa flows and a “build your own” matrix for near endless variety.
Highly recommended if you happen to be looking for yoga DVDs.
Good old Winsor Advanced Body Slimming Pilates has found its way back into my life (Miley Cyrus’ abs are too great to ignore).