The Silver Lining in Darkness

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I have to apologize for being absent the past few weeks. It seems that life has taken a turn into a mode of crisis. Many people take winter in as a time reserved for deep reflection and introspection; a time of hibernation; to rejuvenate so we may plant new seeds in the spring. The parts of us that no longer serve us have reached into the earth causing us to draw inward.

As I have begun to dig deep into my roots during this winter season, I see that I have delved deep into the shadow self. The solstice seems to mark a time of completion. I look upon my year knowing I have spent many of my days wrestling with the shattered parts of me I would rather not address. Like a steady stream under the darkened sky, I reflect a water that is blackened, but I am not black. The sutras ask us to be like a diamond: reflecting the colors of that which is around us, without attaching or defining ourselves as that color because as soon as the color is taken away, we will find we remain a diamond; pure, clear, and brightly shining.

As the days get shorter, colder, and the sky begins to fill with snow, I find myself in a place of reflection for this past year. In honor of the solstice, I took the opportunity to set my intentions for what I would like to cultivate in the coming year, 2016. After writing all of my thoughts down on paper, I found what I need the most is forgiveness.

As we all delve into our shadow self, the need to judge, the deflect, and project our problems elsewhere arises. I encourage you to find what needs healing in your life during this time and take an action step to heal it. If you need to forgive someone, do it. If you need to let go of something/someone, do it. If you need to stand up for yourself, to hold your ground, do it. Whatever medicine of the spirit you find yourself looking for, don’t withhold it from yourself any longer.

Know that there is a silver lining in the darkness. What you are searching for in the new year can be created.

Pose of the Week: Peaceful Warrior

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Peaceful Warrior

SHANTI VIRABHADRASANA

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to love. Love is the path. There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”

~Dan Millman

After the incredible amount of violence this week, it only seems fitting that the pose of the week would be peaceful warrior. I love that traditional yoga often centers around the warrior postures. It reminds us, we do not need vengeance to be strong. We do not need to inflict pain upon another to be triumphant. It reminds us that we do not count our victories as the number of wars have defeated on the battle field, but rather the amount of wars we have overcome within ourselves.

My heart goes out to those suffering right now at the hand of another. I feel so removed from that reality, I can only say this: The war stops externally, when the war stops internally. Peace is a choice. And it is possible. Do not lose faith. Do not lose your smile to grief. Draw inward and we will be triumphant. ❤

om shanti om shanti om shanti om.

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Strengthens the Legs
  • Stretches abdominal muscles and engages core
  • Stretches and supports the lungs
  • Opens Chest & Shoulder
  • Opens Heart

Asana Break Down:

Come into Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), check your alignment with the front ankle. Make sure it is in alignment with the arch of the back foot. The back foot should be flat at a 45 degree angle. Bend deeply into the front knee. Make sure your front knee does not go past the front ankle. Draw the thighs together, squaring the hips, as if they were being pressed between two panes of glass. Arms should come out directly from the shoulder blades. Turn the hands towards the sky and bend backwards. Back and highly presses into the back leg. Most of the strength is being drawn from the core; the weight is not on the back knee. Open the chest and the heart lifts and spreads. Front arm comes over head, gaze comes towards the sky or the thumb.

 

Above, I have a chant you can say out loud or silently to yourself, either in this posture or sitting quietly. Om shanti translates into “om” the divine universe and “shanti” translates to peace, as a phrase it means may the divine creator, energy, and wisdom grant eternal peace to all things.