Experienced Certified Anusara® Yoga Teacher
2020 has been a tough year … for all of us.
I was scheduled to do a 200 hour Immersion/Teacher Training here in San Diego, CA. on March 21st… five days before my group of twenty-two eager and prepped Yogis were to begin our journey together, San Diego was on lockdown due to the pandemic. As they all decided they would rather come together in person, we’re still waiting … hopefully next year.
Then in September a huge wildfire nearly destroyed my home and completely ruined the beauty of the mountain landscape surrounding it. It was a really close call. Literally life and death.
This was followed by an incredibly stressful election season here in the United States.
I’m sure you all have 2020 stories to tell.
And yet … and yet….
For me, it was a year of tremendous personal growth and of great, sharp beauty… and I am filled with gratitude.
It was a year that truly taught me the meaning of Root to Rise.
When I think of this beautifully vivid kinetic cue used to engender Organic Energy in our elegant system of Universal Principles of Alignment, the vision that comes to mind is that of Shri – of our beloved Lakshmi rising from the depths and unfolding into Her magnificent splendour.
It is the energy of Lakshmi that I endeavour to invoke when guiding my students into the exquisitely beautiful pose Svarga Dvijasana (Bird of Paradise).
The unfolding of this pose brings to my mind the famous story from our tradition of the ‘Samudra Manthan’ … the churning of the Milky Sea by the combined forces of Darkness and Light. A churning that culminates in the glorious revelation of auspiciousness, beauty, goodness and love in the form of Shri … embodied by the Goddess Lakshmi.
For me, the pose begins in the depths.
With a prayerful intention to offer forth Shri as a blessing energy to all Beings, I take Parsvakonasana (side angle pose).
After Setting my Foundation and Opening to receive Lakshmi’s Grace, the four corners of my feet rooted firmly into the earth, I take in a deep breath. My inner body brightens with Lakshmi’s radiance. I then exhale and my outer body immediately softens and I find myself humbled by Her beautific presence within me.
With steadfast devotion, I utilize my Muscular Energy and hug inward to my Central Channel, referenced by my midline. As I draw my feet towards each other, I sense the tremendous power She offers me as it begins to rise up like rays of Light through the core lines of my legs and into the focal point in the core of my pelvis.
I move even deeper into the source of that mysterious power by bowing deeply forward and taking my inner thighs back into the unknown behind me with Inner Spiral. I bind my hands behind me, in that place of uncertainty, knowing that Her power will support me as I continue to hug in to her.
With gathering faith I guide the outer hip of my front leg into my Outer Spiral by taking it back and down to the earth beneath me and I marvel at the rising courage within me that lifts my Heart upwards.
Awe and wonder, Camatkara, astonishment, arises in my Heart as it begins to expand with Her luminous light.
Then she asks more of me … So I begin again.
Keeping Lakshmi’s beautifully buoyant light shining like the sun at dawn in my Heart, I once again set my foundation, rooting firmly into my front foot. I then courageously launch my back foot forward to meet my front foot.
Without hesitation, and with the powers She has so graciously bestowed upon me, I Root to Rise …
Keeping a close connection to my Center by hugging in the bind and focusing on the core of my pelvis, I once more move into the mystery of the unknown, by spinning my inner thighs into the back plane.
Glorifying Her, I then scoop my tailbone down and under and my Heart begins to burst open … From my Heart I extend my bound leg and like the rising sun I lift the Inner Sky of my crown to the heavens.
Camatkara once again! Awe-struck wonder and delight as I remember and recognize my own Divinity, my inner Lakshmi, in the final expression of the pose!
Thank you Mother.
It begins and ends with your GRACE.