Make a date with 108 ~ A Winter Solstice Celebration
Charge your battery with 108 Sun-Salutes
Saturday, December 21st 5:30-8:30 pm
Cost $35- Early-bird price if you register by December 20th
(register after 12/20 or drop in for - $40)
Please join us for our annual 108 sun salute practice. This practice will entail 108 sun salutes intertwined with poses that will help balance your body and mind along the way. Stay after for some refreshments and feel free to bring something to share. We will have chai and something to warm your belly and balance your blood sugar.
The sun, in some traditions symbolizes our soul and the word "solstice," in Latin, means sun standing still.
The longest night contains the most hours of darkness. This can be a magical time to tap into your intentions and to bring forward the new seeds you wish to plant.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a text written to preserve and clarify the ancient oral teachings of yoga, Patanjali teaches us five personal observances. These observances or Niyamas, are intended to help bring us into alignment with our Highest most true Self.
Saucha (purity) - Saucha can be mistakenly thought of as just a strict set of moral rules. The word purity can imply that what the world has to offer, the foods, thoughts, activities, and people are impure and I need to avoid them so that I will not be contaminated. But if we look at Saucha as a deeper reflection into the intentions in the heart we may see that it is much deeper. Can I come from a place of compassion rather than judgment? Can I use common sense and practical insight and act more mindfully. When we practice saucha from this perspective we tap into a much deeper stream than just the outcome of our actions.
Santosa (contentment) - Peace of mind can not rely on external circumstances, which are always changing in ways that are beyond our control. Santosa requires our willingness to enjoy exactly what each day brings, to be happy with what we have, whether that is a lot or a little. This niyama uncovers the insignificance of achievement, material wealth and success. Not that these things are bad but they can not in themselves bring us contentment. Santosa also asks us, can we be equally willing to be content in the midst of difficulty, remain open in the midst of pain, accept those around us as they truly are, not as we want them to be. To know this kind of contentment is true freedom.
Tapas (discipline) - The word tapas comes from the sanskrit verb "tap" which means "to burn" or "heat" - specifically the kind of heat generated by certain yogic practices, or a certain approach to yogic practice that cultivates a burning off of impurities. This doesn't necessarily mean that your practice needs to be physically difficult. It could be that sitting in meditation is very challenging for you and that is your form of tapas. Another meaning of tapas, is the friction generated by going against the grain of habit. Changing what we do and how we do it with constant and consistent practice. Doing your practice every day, sitting in meditation every day, responding with love and forgiveness for the 100th time.
Svadhyaya (self-study) - In a way, yoga in general could be looked at as the study of the Self. Svadhyaya is sourced from sva, or Self (soul, atman, or higher self); dhy, is related to the word "dhyana" which means meditation; and "ya," a suffix that invokes action. Taken as a whole, svadhyaya means "the action of meditating on or considering the nature of the Self." In yogic practice, svadhyaya has most traditionally been concerned with the study of yoga scriptures. Perhaps svadhyaya can be inclusive of any practice that yokes us with the the nature of the Self. To me this could be studying the niyamas here with you today, practicing 108 sun-salutes, or taking in the beauty in nature.
Shvaraprandhana (surrender to or alignment with the Divine) -
Isvara is a sanskrit word that can be translated to mean supreme, or personal, Lord and the word "pranidhana" conveys the feeling of surrender, to dedicate or devote to. So the practice of (S) isvara pranidhana is when we are able to completely surrender, give up and/or devote the fruits of all our actions to God (our own higher self). In doing so we surrender our ego identities and go beyond feelings of separateness to experience the God that dwells in all beings. This is a full surrender, without reservation "I give You myself: my body, my mind and my heart." The essence of Shvaraprandhana is us showing up in service to our best self, offering our gifts (our work) and then letting go of all attachment to the outcome of our actions. In doing this we release our fears and hopes for the future and instead accept that the way life is unfolding to be part of a pattern too complex to understand.
When we really look at and into ourselves we remember that our yoga practice is designed to draw us into alignment with the very Highest. We choose to channel our energy into something much greater than we can imagine.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you look back on your journey from the Summer Solstice.
Will you live these questions in the weeks building up to the Winter Solstice?
What have I been nurturing?
What seeds have I planted and watched grow?
Now look at how you can clear space and make room for even more light.
What am I willing to let go of?
What will I clear out to make way for the new?
What is my resistance?
Now we look forward to the return of the light (following the Winter Solstice)
What is important to me in the season ahead?
What do I value?
What will I bring out into the light and let shine?
What will I give?
What do I want to realize and see come into fruition?