Our Asana (posture) practice is a movement-base mindfulness practice. Because of mid-autumn festival, our intention of the practice is “from harvests (internal/&external) to gratitude" and “from letting go to union”
Because celebrating the harvests with gratitude and union with family and friends are the important values in this festival.
When we mention harvests, we don’t really need to pay an effort to search and convince ourselves where they are, it is about we allow ourselves to slow down our breath and movement, to create the space to allow the ideas come to our mind. When it comes naturally, the overflowing and heartfelt gratitude follows naturally. We are just too busy to realise our harvest and to realise "Small is beautiful". That’s why our movement in the practice is with grace and mindfulness instead of pushing hard to achieve our or others' expectation.
I chant Saha Navavatu at the beginning, which is from Upanishad. It is about oneness, togetherness, community and sense of belonging.
When we talk about yoga, we always hear “yoga is about union”, yes, that’s why we are not just uniting with friends and family in this festival, but also allowing ourselves some time and space to unite with ourselves. From Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.12-16 , we know that yoga is Vairagya, it means letting go. In yoga, we believe everybody’s true self is “Love, Freedom & Bliss”. We don’t realise it because there are some lower qualities covering our true-self. There are a lot of values/ perceptions/ past experiences which are not aligned with our true self. Through practice, we let them go and let our true self shine from within. However, I am not suggesting ourselves to self blame or self beat because of the lower qualities. We may not even know they are there, because it may be in our subconscious mind, which caused blockage of energy flow. Therefore, the lower qualities are not the focus. We focus on the longer and effortless exhalation through out the posture practice. We practiced different standing and lying down poses to work on this topic, some strengthening and some stretching, we work on both stability and mobility. For example, reclining Hand-to- Big-Toe pose (lying down Supta Padagusthasana ), we gently and comfortably stretch hamstrings, it is the muscles highly related to letting go.
Only when we can let go and have more acceptance to ourselves and the others, we can truly unite with ourself and others, it is the Oneness which is mentioned a lot in yoga. That’s why our half-moon pose practice is very slow. Every alignment and awareness is a baby step to take, we do not rush to finish or achieve anything. It’s about grounding firmly, a solid foundation to know what we are doing, then allow our movement follow our breath. The steadiness of breath, acceptance and letting go here are very important here. When we move our baby steps patiently, trust our foundation and breath steadily, completely accept how we are at this moment, let go the fail and expectation, then, the half moon Ardha Chandrasana is done effortlessly.
After practice, we shared vegetarian mooncakes and asian pears to celebrate our growing yoga family in London, to celebrate the festival and to rewards our dedication on practice, or I should say a reward for working on ourselves.
After class, I thought of a quote which is echoing to our class, "stop focusing how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are!" When I arrived home, I was joyfully welcomed by my rescue dog Trevor. See his smiling face :)
Thanks for reading my long post. If you like it, please click like and share it, thank you. See you in class! Every Wednesday 10:35-11:50am Antenna Studios.