Tuesday, November 25, 2014
In the practice of yoga, backbends (big or small) are not about how far you can bend but rather how much prana - life force you can gather and collect and build in the chest area of the body. Yogi's consider prana to be the vital force that is behind the functioning of our bodies and our minds.
The route to a safe and enjoyable backbend is through the breath. We lengthen the inhale which increases the length of the spine and increases the fullness of the posture. At the end of the long inhale (4,5,6,7,8 and so
on) we pause for a count of 1 or 2. The pause increases the pranic value of the pose and allows us to lengthen a bit more and collect. Yogis are
always talking about "being full of light" and "living from the heart." If there isn't enough prana in the heart it's hard to hold our attention there and to really be "in the heart.". In the yoga practice there are standing,
seated, belly down and on our back backbends. Even the smallest backbend can direct and collect prana and start to encourage the heart to be full of
kindness, thoughtfulness, joy, love, delight and compassion.
Of course there are other ways to build delight in our hearts. As we approach Christmas we can sometimes feel tired, over extended or depleted. It is
important to know the things that fill our heart and sustain us so we can enjoy this busy time. I personally try to have music in my life in
December. Tonight I will attend the Haliburton Festival Singers as they perform "The Stars of Christmas". It is at the United Church and starts at
7:30 and is $15. Being in a church and taking time to just sit and listen and be sung to by joyful people is a good thing for the heart. This weekend
the students of Heritage Ballet will perform the 11th annual Nutcracker and 4 year old Ruby Andrews will make her debut on the stage as the little black
lamb. 9 year olds Sophie Longo and Alyssa Morissette will share the role of Marie. The entire show will make your heart smile. Other performances such
as Homemade Stew on Dec 13 showcase local artists on the stage at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. I am part of a managing duo for a
hot new group in town called Trio Cappuccino. Hans Christian Andersen said "Where words fail, music speaks." Sometimes we just need to listen to get
filled up. Perhaps a good challenge for the next month is to pay attention to the moments when your heart is talking to you - when you are filled with
love and joy and gratitude. I bet it is more likely to happen surrounded by a choir of people singing to you than standing in the line at mall shopping.
It's not that the mall is a bad thing, it's just it is about giving to others when listening is about receiving. We need both to feel happy this Christmas - the joy of giving and the joy of receiving. I challenge you to
take the heart challenge and support all the local performers this Christmas. Your mind and your heart will thank you.