Ballad to Garudasana

The Ballad to Garudasana

by Jenni G

Clear Vision, Clear Vision,

What is my Mission?

I see clearly now.

I say Thank you with a bow.

I have sat perched long enough

Captured in the mind games of all the fluff

The time has come to spread these wings and soar.

And life, will not be a bore.

My life has been enriched by the inclusion of animals and connecting with the flow of Mother Nature. My hope is you feel their blessings, connect with their wisdom and guidance using this yoga asana practice as a tool.

This story has been blessed with many “Tangled Troubles and Triumph” – as certified SOYA yoga Teacher/ life coach/Soul Sister Christina Lockhart named her first mantra coloring book. As I dive deeper into this asana practice the story continues, and the tangles and triumphs unfold. I do the best I can to embrace these and trust the flow of nature finding a balance within it. The dedication and intention of connecting with animals through yoga is what brings peace and harmony to my heart, and is what I desire to share with the world.

I am an Animal LOVER – I believe I am an animal empath actually, but that is still unfolding. With this love I try to draw animals in whenever I can. They inspire me. They motivate me to be a Better human, like my cat “Furry Fur”… well, I guess that is a whole other story!

The way that animals follow their instinct and know just what to do. The way that dogs have a whole BODY Language they use to speak to each other – tail in a certain way, ears back, etc…. The natural balance, harmony and peace of animals and Mother Nature. It’s brilliant! This is where the practice of yoga comes in for me, and these aspects are teaching me to trust in the natural flow of life. A flow obtained only when the mind or ego are quieted.

Which brings us to how the “Ballad of Garudasana” came to life! It really begins with the question: “What is my mission?”. My quest for purpose in this life has always been present. I never did feel like I “fit in” here. I was 30 years old when I discovered yoga and my path to my purpose began. Now, as I connect further with the animals, I am seeing more clearly why I didn’t always “fit in” here – I am meant to fly with the Eagles! Perch when patience is needed and Soar when life has become a bore! I hope you will join me for the ride – it has been wild, happy and liberating thus far!

My connection with the Eagle specifically started on July 1, 2019 in Grand Forks B.C. This connection started in the physical realm, as most things do for us humans. The eagle also showed up in a very captivating fashion just one week prior. Andy (my husband) and I were driving down Gilpin road in Grand Forks. From the passenger seat, I looked over Andy’s shoulder to the river and witnessed an Eagle taking off. Had Andy’s arm been riding the air waves out of the window, he may have been able to graze its graceful wing.

The size. The fact that it was a Bald Eagle within a long arms length away. Wow. The creator/God had my attention.

Oh the questions it brought up! I believe all things happen for a reason and so I began to ask why ‘The Eagle’ was showing up for me. Why do I keep having all these cool experiences?!

Yoga is teaching me that we are all one, and since I am a seeker of knowledge and wisdom I hit my yoga library with my questions: Why is the Eagle showing up for me? Why is the Eagle here physically, in the cards, and in my heart (via the dragons and Mr. T Lewis)? Why do I keep seeing them?

The answer was found in the book Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language by Swami Sivananda Radha. Her beautiful entry starting on page 181 brought me to Focus my attention, my practice, and my Intention for the month. Her words led me to understand that through practicing Garudasana, the Eagle Pose:

“The Eagle would bring Clear Vision” (this was on July 5).

This was Extraordinary timing for the Clear Vision of an Eagle to show up in my life. I have just moved to BC to find what is going to bring lasting happiness, Peace and Harmony to my heart. I have always wanted to do something with this life, something to invoke change for a better world, to be a “part of the Solution, not the Pollution”. My past problem was I never had a Clear Vision of how, and never believed I could. Without Clear Vision of what is in my heart – how could I be happy? How could I live the life of purpose I have so longed for? How could I know what I was meant to teach? With the inspiration of my location, a daily practice of Garudasana and dedication to expanding my vision, this is all becoming clear.

As I dive deeper into Dedication to the Ballad to Garudasana I am hoping my current yoga practice will strengthen this vision and bring acceptance to the natural flow of the animal way.  I invite you to join me. I will be doing this practice (pictured below) on Facebook throughout the month of August and would love a community to share it with.

Every winter Eagles all gather. Thousands upon thousands will migrate to one area – I think because they follow their instinct and know they are stronger in numbers, and winter is when their babies are just going off on their own and getting strong enough to fly solo. Do they find a mate there? I wonder? Either way – I believe nature knows best.

So let’s gather! Let’s “Gather” to support each other through EXPERIENCE, not just words and comments on Facebook. Let’s create a community based on Holistic Health. Oh wait… That is what SOYA has done! So, Thank you SO much for welcoming into this community of yogis, and I hope you like what I have to contribute. Looking forward to getting to know more of you via Facebook if you’d like to connect.

With Peace and harmony,

Namaste

jenniG, Grand Forks, BC   https://www.facebook.com/jenniGyoga/

To see the Yoga class dedicated to Garudasana, Click on the pdf Ballad to Garudasana.

Garudasana

Garudasana

Garudasana

Garuda is the eagle deity in Indian mythology. He is the vehicle for Vishnu, the preserver, and a dharma protector who holds the power to move swiftly, anywhere. Garuda is considered the king of birds.

Garudasana is a balance pose. From tadasana, reach the arms out to the sides (like wings about to fly). Cross the left arm over the right at the elbows. Turn the palms to face each other.

Balancing the weight on the right leg, cross the left leg over the right, wrapping the foot around the right calf. To deepen the pose, slowly bend the knees bringing the elbows to the knees and the chin to the hands.

Breathe a few breaths.

Unwrap the legs, then the arms. Return to tadasana and do the opposite side.

GarudasanaBenefits

  • Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
  • Stretches the thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves sense of balance
  • Helps with core stabilization

Cautions

  • Students with hip replacements should not cross the legs. Balancing on one foot without crossing is enough.

Modification – 1

  • If tight shoulders or limited range of motion in them, instead of wrapping arms, hug yourself, or place arms straight out front, parallel to floor while holding a strap between hands

Modification – 2

  • Cross legs, but instead of hooking the raised foot, press

the big toe of the raised foot against the floor to help maintain balance

photo credit: Thor Polukoshko

Relaxation for Healing

Getting in the Groove: Relaxation as a Portal to Healing

By Jools Andrés, BA, SOYA Lead Trainer, E-RYT 500, YACEP, Yoga Therapist

How many times in a day do you have that angst-ridden feeling that you aren’t doing enough? Your check list is long, you’re being tugged in multiple directions, and you feel ungrounded and inefficient, if not outright overwhelmed. You may feel exhausted, but even so, you aren’t sleeping well. You may feel guilty that you haven’t achieved what is expected of you – that you aren’t “enough.”

Experience as a yoga teacher tells me that a high percentage of our students are also in similar states. Our North American lifestyles ensure that we are exposed to chronic high-stress conditions that manifest both in the tissues and systems of our bodies, and, by extension, in our relationships at home and at work. The conditions we find ourselves in relate to our ongoing behavioural patterns. In yoga-speak we can look to the term samskaras to understand our inborn tendencies and habits and their effects; samskaras relate to impressions, or “grooves” formed by past, usually unconscious, events and resulting actions, and through years or decades of repetition the grooves can get very deep, indeed. In order to change we need to be able to see and know our samskaras though observation and reflection, which can then lead to transformation through action.

Observation: We can’t change something that we aren’t aware of. Through our practices we teach ourselves to notice physical feelings, such as where tension flares or accumulates in our bodies. When we pay attention we notice repetitious, self-destructive thoughts and how they can hold us in their grip. We learn that we can change our physical and mental patterns and evolve positively. Bit by bit we develop the capacity to engage deeply with our senses and emotions while also finding ways to feel safe.

Reflection: When we feel particularly fearful, depressed, or spent it helps to take a moment to review what led to those feelings — what the samskara looks like. It can help to write down what comes up through your self-inquiry. For me some of my most anxious and disruptive feelings arise when I am late or can’t find something I need, so I have learned to give myself lots and lots of time in these areas so the old patterns don’t resurface.

Action: When aware of unpleasant feelings and their triggers — and how we have developed samskaras and loop through them over and over — we can see the source of our suffering and be more caring and kind toward ourselves. We can gradually make the grooves shallower and easier to disengage from. Over time we develop new beneficial samskaras that enable us to respond consciously and positively to the unavoidable ups and downs of life.

The underlying principle to begin this process is relaxation. We learn techniques, experience their effects, and develop and sustain a practice to become adept at just chilling, which is not always easy at first. Fortunately, as yogis the value of practice is known to us. Through learning from experienced teachers, engaging in continuous practice, and partaking honest self-study we see little shifts and continue on to develop our abilities further. And further. We discover that there are no barriers to our learning. At over 90 years old master cellist Pablo Casals still practiced several hours each day. When asked why — after all he had achieved and maintained world fame for many decades by then — he replied, “Because I still see some improvement.” It is the same for anyone who practices regularly.

Restorative yoga, meditation, and simple pranayama practices provide an ideal wholistic training ground for down-regulating our stress responses. As we all know, being deeply relaxed and tension-free is very pleasant, and the bonus is that it is also where true healing takes place. Because of the profound results restorative yoga and yoga nidra (yogic “sleep”) bring, they are beautiful to practice and wonderfully rewarding to teach. We show ourselves through embodied practice that we can change our states and experiences. Through perseverance and patience we start to administer daily practices to relax ourselves, taking ownership of our health and wellbeing. This may be in a well-propped restorative pose with a guided yoga nidra download, sitting in silent meditation, or fifteen minutes of chanting while walking. If our work uncovers a samskara that points to feelings of self-worth being based on being busy and productive, we can — and do — change that.

Paradoxically, the way to get more done, to get closer to that place of santosha or contentment with our lives, is to do less. A lot less.

© Jools Andrés, 2019. Reprinted with permission.

AffirmationsJools Andrés is leading the SOYA 200 and 300 teacher trainings in Vancouver area. She teaches 35-hour Restorative Yoga Foundations certificate programs, eligible for Yoga Alliance continuing education credits. Her next programs are October 25, 26, 27, November 8, 9, 10 2019 in Vancouver, BC, and April 17, 18, 19, May 1, 2, 3, 2020 at Breathe Yoga Studio in Sor