Space and Possibility5th August 2010Featured, Reflections4 Comments
Where there is Space there is Possibility. This has been my mantra since the July morning when I first heard this intention in a yoga class at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass. I was at Kripalu to deepen my study of Qigong with Deborah Davis and had just completed a short weekend workshop with her focusing on healing Qigong for women. This Chinese energy practice, associated with the energy meridians used in acupuncture, is also about creating space: in joints, muscles, organs, spine, heart, and mind. In principle, where there is openness, energy can flow and healing occurs. I recommend Deborah’s DVD and book:
Women’s Qigong for Health and Longevity: a Practical Guide for Women Forty and Older (July, 2008 Shambhala Publications).
In my yoga classes for August I have repeated the intention to create space and allow for possibilities. Each of us has different needs for space, yet everyone seems to relate to this concept. Chronic illnesses or pain trap us in our physical sensations. When we experience strong emotions we may feel stuck in time. From asthma to anger management, slow spacious breaths and movements help us explore our bodies and minds and to release our judgments. More rapid, repetitive activity energizes us to act. Combining space with energy invites us to flow from our inner wisdom. As we notice that our sensations, emotions, and thoughts shift and begin to view them with some distance, we learn that we are more than the sum of our discomfort and fears.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the warrior Arjuna completes his full conversation of spiritual education with the embodied god, Krishna, in the instant before a great battle against his cousins. The present moment seems stretched out and the warrior’s despair shifts to confidence. Arjuna is ready to follow his duty, sacred path, or dharma after this spacious moment.
Meanwhile, I have taken my a break from blogging to practice a new qigong form, return to the Gita for inspiration, and to integrate my experiences before sharing them. This gift of time has helped me give form to my thoughts. Deborah Davis’s Dynamic Woman Series intrigues me as the sequence moves back and forth between stillness and activity. As I imagine one would do before any energy form, it begins with a simple stance with the hands on the low belly, taking inventory of one’s current level of energy and inviting prana, qi or life force into the energy center that resides there, called the hara in yoga or dantien in qigong. As the form continues, the alternation of holding stances with gentle repetitive movements both concentrates my attention, building stamina, strength, balance, and energy, and then serves to spread that energy around and within my body, creating flow and a sense of well being. The final posture is a releasing pose to let go of any physical, emotional, or mental energy that I don’t need.
At this early stage of practice, my experience of the postures and my own energy is constantly shifting. I’ve tried holding the balancing postures outside in the moonlight, listening to the early Katydids, and gazing at the trees and sky, and been surprised by how unstable I am. First thing in the morning, after watering the container pots, moss, herb, and step-able gardens, my balance is steady and sure. Today is hot and muggy, so I practiced in an air conditioned room where I felt stable, but the flow was less nourishing. The qigong vsualization of a ball of energy like a beach ball inspired the photo above.
Time to rest and renew. The weather isn’t calling me to be active and I have an unexpected break in my schedule. Yes! Where can you create space in your body, mind, or schedule? What arises?
May you observe your true, compassionate and eternal self!