Meister Eckhart, a German philosopher from the late 1200's said, "We know so many things but we don't know ourselves. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there."
During this week before Thanksgiving, we look to be grounded, to find that calm, safe and secure space. Yoga's sister science of Ayurveda reminds us autumn is a time of vata energy. When in excess, vata contains the possibility of associated imbalances of headaches, anxiety and a general lack of energy.
We can ground ourselves by spending time in nature, using the yogic breathing technique of alternate nostril breath and eating grounding foods such as root vegetables served warm.
In my classes this week our focus word was 'santosha' or 'contentment'. Yoga Sutra 2.42, 'Santosha anuttamah sukha labha' roughly translates to 'contentment brings extreme happiness'. The month of November, with its Thanksgiving celebration, is a perfect time to practice contentment and gratitude - to love our life as it is, count our blessings and find joy in every moment.
The yogic practice of aparigraha, non-clinging or non-grasping, teaches us to let go of what we no longer need - something nature has forever done. Trees no longer hold their leaves, and we, too, can let go of the past, face the future to become the best of who we are.
Nature can teach us
This week I did leaf gazing meditations with classes. I encourage you to take a walk, feel the earth beneath your feet, and select a leaf. Hold the leaf at eye level and gaze at its colors and shape. Close your eyes and feel its texture. Does it hold a scent? Bring your focus to your breath as you hold the leaf with your eyes closed. Feel your connection with the Earth. Consider a positive affirmation. Know just as the trees have let go, you can as well creating space for something better.
Sunday, May 19th, 1-1:45pm, help support the Community Action Council of Howard County's Community Garden. Join us at Sharp's at Waterford farm for an outdoor Sunday afternoon family yoga class. Adults and children ages 10 and older are welcome to participate in this basic yoga class led by Susan Kain. Bring your yoga mat or a towel and gather at the barn! We will have a separate area where younger siblings with a parent can watch and participate in their own way. Following yoga, feel free to stay and enjoy a picnic lunch by the pond, feed the farm animals, tour the greenhouses or venture out on a nature walk.
Registration - $8.00 for adults, 16 and older, $3.00 for children 10-15 years. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Half the registration fee will be donated to the Community Action Council of Howard County's Community Garden for their work in feeding the hungry in our community. A basket for donated canned goods will also be available. Register on or before May 17th. Call 410-489-2572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine, Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
A pose from Preschooler's & Me Yoga class celebrating the end of winter.
How freeing to have your arms and legs in the air like a polar bear!
Susan Kain is a Registered Yoga Teacher, Pilates instructor and a Certified Personal Trainer with classes for toddlers to senior citizens.