TAKE LIVING FROM THE GREEN
Written by: Donna Amrita Davidge. Donna Amrita Davidge and her husband Kent Bonham run retreat in Island Falls, Maine from July 4 to Columbus day (Oct 10) in her great grandfather William Sewall’s homestead. Donna would like to dedicate this to her Mother, who loved the earth and preserving it’s beauty, especially Maine.
What connects us to the earth, the ultimate nurturer, is that which supports green living. In yoga terms this would relate to all of our standing poses, which draw us into the energy of the earth and pull us into earth’s energy through gravity. It would also mean remembering to truly engage the legs in these poses, as they too are part of the grounding associated with the first energy center, or Chakra, at the base of the spine. From our earth sprouts forth the green (and other colors!) things that support our life- fruits, vegetables, grains.
When we are nurtured and supported by Mother Earth and our own mother then we can blossom into a heart-centered person whose power and strength is used for positive purposes for the planet. So in our basic awareness in a yoga pose, as in life, do we lead with the heart or the head? If your head is reaching forward ahead of your heart, the ego is your guide. Simply pulling the chin in slightly into a neck lock (not the exaggerated chin lock) allows the energy to flow freely from head to heart. Another telling posture is when people carry themselves with caved in chests. Their hearts are often heavy and sad and they are sheltering themselves but cutting the gift of their heart off from the world. To repair these slouched postures the person needs to remember to lift both head and heart high.
In Chakra terms the color of the heart is green. Green is the color for prosperity, which is defined as having enough, not excess or poverty but receiving and giving back in balance in order to have all our needs met.Some people can actually read the aura, or electromagnetic field, of beings.A person who is led mainly by the heart would have a green aura while one led by their navel, for example, would be yellow. A highly evolved being would project purple or white, colors associated with the highest centers in the physical body.
A person with a green aura would exemplify the qualities of compassion, humility and love, Compassion is the ability to see that the other person is you. My teacher Yogi Bhajan says “Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times”.
Backbends are the yoga poses for the physical opening of the heart center. First we must practice patience in getting to backbends, which for many of us require time and patience. We discover that we must relax and open our spine first with forward bends and loosen the hips, which may take time, to prepare for these heart opening backbends. In the June 2004 Yoga Journal Beryl Bender Birch has an excellent article on the principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, in our yoga practice. Even in the more physicallychallenging yoga practices like Astanga Yoga, which Beryl teaches, there is a need for recognition of ahimsa, which is a form or tenderness and caring.
Ahimsa is not only about avoiding anger reactions and war, but also being kind and conscience (aware) during your yoga practice so that you do not hurt yourself. When and if you do injure yourself somewhere within you you are not practicing ahimsa with yourself. Until we heal and love ourselves how can we truly nurture others and share our “green energy” with them?
To support our heart center opening we must be aware of our foundation, which is the pelvis. Hip openers and lower back stretches and strengtheners help to align the foundation in a way that we can walk confidently and uplifted. Many of us carry tension, especially in the lower back. Physical tension is related to emotional tension. Lower back problems may have to do with our own power issues in the world, possibly grudges or money issues.
Tight shoulders often signify carrying the weight of the world and also are caused by shallow breathing. Many people are tight in the hips, an area known to hold fear. The musculature in the hips is quite complex and requires care, time and attention as to how we stretch, Often people push themselves in poses when their hips are not properly aligned or open and this can result in injury, especially to the knees. Often when students tell me that they have knee problems they also have tight hips that they have not consciously addressed.
Another aspect of green living is what we put into out bodies, the body being called in yoga our temple. The acid alkaline balance of the body can be disturbed by poor eating habits and stress. Leafy greens and green drinks, like spirulina, can help keep this balance healthy.
Green living can mean living in concert with the nature around us-walking in a green forest can actually charge up our energy field just as airplanes, drugs and alcohol can deplete it- and green living can mean remembering to put green foods from earth into our physical body to keep it healthier and in better balance, as we aspire to this also in our yoga practice and in our life.
(For more on this go to June 2004 Yoga Journal inside the back cover to the Centering Page titled “For the Ultimate Grounding Experience Nothing Beats Lying Down on the Earth”)
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