Sunday, October 31, 2010

asana-Lotus/Bound Lotus

Spirit Voyage announced on their Facebook Page that they are going to do a 40-day Bound Lotus Kriya starting November 9. That seemed fun, so I thought I'd do some checking into what it all entails.

First, be able to do Lotus (Padmasana). Oops! The last few times I've tried it I haven't made it anywhere near close! That could be a big problem. (And actually, I have to say I was perplexed because I'm generally pretty flexible) So I started googling around and found this kind of cool video:

aha! See that bit near the beginning about how he talks about HIP ROTATION? I never knew that! What do you know? When I pay attention to rotating my hips, making use of that good ball & socket joint, I'm able to get to a reasonably good beginning lotus. Here are shots of my attempts this afternoon:

Not bad. At first I was doing it sitting flat on the floor. But this made one knee hover a bit off the ground. I don't have a zafu, so I just grabbed what was handy...a United Methodist Hymnal! It actually was just the right size and height to make the lotus look fairly good. I see from these two shots that left over right seems a little bit better, but right over left isn't terrible.

So I've decided to start working consistently on the lotus for a while. I'd like it to be smaller and tighter and eventually maybe I'll be able to go into it without picking up my feet and hauling them around. My plan for working on it will be to do more yin. I've been a big fan of yin since I was introduced to it more than a year ago. I really like Paul Grilley's DVD "Yin Yoga: The Foundations of a Quiet Practice." On this disc you can listen to him lecture as you go through the postures, or you can play the same sequences again without all the extra commentary. I've ripped the audio from this and put it on my ipod so that I can work in peace and not be tethered to a television. Yesterday I did the hips series and this afternoon I did part of the spine series (before the number of interruptions I experienced from the household got to be just too much). I feel if I do a few yin postures each day and then do lotus, I should see some improvement quite steadily.

Erich Schiffmann's book "Moving into Stillness," also has a nice prep for Lotus. I can't recommend "Light on Yoga" for prep because Iyengar essentially says, "By perseverance and continued practice the pain will gradually subside and [people] can then stay in the pose comfortably for a long time." Yiiiikes!

So there you have it. Oh! The Bound Lotus Kriya. So essentially what you do is cross your arms behind you while you are in lotus and grab the toes of your feet. Then you lean forward until your forehead touches the floor. It looks likes this:

From (read the cool story on this page)
Stay there for 31 minutes. If you skip a day, you have to start all over. mmm...hmmm....You actually can just build up to 31 minutes. And since I can in no way come even remotely close to grabbing my toes, I'll just cross my hands behind my back. If I can't lean all the way forward (though I should, I do it in easy pose all the time), then I'll prop up on a block.

Oh, and there's a chant, too:
Ray Man Shabad
Ray man eh bidh jog kamaa-o
Oh my mind, practice Yoga in this way:
Singee saach akapat kanthalaa
Let Truth be your horn, sincerity your necklace,
Dhi-aan Bibhoot charaa-o
and meditation the ashes you apply on your body.
Taatee geho aatam bas kar kee
Catch your burning soul (self) and stop the flames.
Bhicchhaa naam adhaarang
Let the soul (self) be the alms bowl in which you collect the sweet Naam and this will be the only support you will ever need.
Baajay param taar tat har ko
The Universe plays its divine music. The sound of reality is shrill, but this is where God is.
Upajai raag rasaarang
When you listen to the reality from this place of awareness the sweet essence of Raag arises.
Ughatai taan tarang rang
Waves of melodies, emotions, and passions arise and flow through you.
Gi-aan geet bandhaanang
Bind yourself with the song of God.
Chak chak rehay dayv daanav mun
The Universe spins like a potter’s wheel and from it fly demons and angels.
Chhak chhak bayom bivaanang
The sage listens to this and instead of getting caught in either one, the sage drinks the nectar of the heavens and is carried to the heavens in a divine chariot.
Aatam upadays bhays sanjam ko
Instruct and clothe yourself with self control. Meditate unto infinity
Jaap so ajapaa jaapai
until you are meditating without meditating.
Sadaa rehai kanchan see kaayaa
In this way, your body shall remain forever golden,
Kaal na kabahoo bayaapai
and death shall never approach you.

I pretty much suck at chants, so I'm going to do some accommodating on that, too. I'll listen to Snatam Kaur sing it.

That's my plan.

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