"You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
- Franz Kafka - from Senses
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly declared this Sunday, June 21st as the first International Day of Yoga.
The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi stated that "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. ". The government of India is planning to celebrate IDY 2015 in all the countries around the world, and has organized events in cities across the globe.
Developed in India thousands of years ago, yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise in our everyday lives. The exact history of yoga is uncertain, however, It is known that the earliest signs of yoga practice appear in ancient Shamanism. Evidence of yoga postures were found on artifacts that date back to 3000 BC.
The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and the body.
There are more than one hundred different schools, of yoga, most types are typically comprised of breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures, or Asana, that stretch and flex various muscle groups. Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping one to relax and manage stress and anxiety.
Hatha yoga is one of the most common styles of yoga, particularly suitable for beginners, because of its slower pace, but there are many other styles, forms and intensities.
Restorative yoga has become very popular for stress relief after a busy work day, or when recovering from an illness or injury.
Modern yoga is based on five basic principles that were created by Swami Sivananda who was a Hindu spiritual teacher who lived until the 1960's
Positive thinking and meditation
The purpose of International Yoga Day, is to unite people together in the practice of Yoga, with the hope of promoting harmony and peace.
From the one heart...
Hear from the heart wordless mysteries!
Understand what cannot be understood...
In our stone-dark hearts there burns a fire
That burns all veils to their root and foundation,
When the veils are burned away,
the heart will understand completely...
Ancient Love will unfold ever-fresh forms
In the heart of the Spirit, in the core of the heart.
I have included several Yoga poems for you to enjoy, including one of my own to conclude.
The first is by Viola Allo, who is a Cameroonian-born poet and essayist. She holds a BA in psychology and MA in anthropology. She is a certified yoga instructor and Ayurvedic wellness counselor. She loves yoga, poetry, and all things literary, artistic, or meditative.
Spring into Song , by Viola Allo
Poetry and yoga are intimately tied to music.
In poetry, we have the line with its rhythms and rhymes.
In yoga, we have sequences, pacing, and the rhythms of the breath.
In yoga, we make varied shapes with our bodies, exploring all our physical ranges of motion. In poetry, we make new narratives and explore the depths of our imaginative mind.
The separation between the practice of yoga and the practice of writing poetry is a blurred line that a poet and yogi like me crosses all the time.
Perhaps, there is no line, just one beautiful spectrum of physical, mental, artistic, and spiritual expression.
April is a month of rebirth, as the Spring season truly kicks in.
Flowers shoot up toward the sun. Trees fill out with fresh, iridescent leaves. Birds bask in those trees and sing all day long.
Come join the chorus and sing your positive, unique, and sweet song. Do some yoga in the sun. Share a poem with someone. Did you notice: this is a poem? Read it again and pass it on!
Following the Breath
By Liz Smith-Anderson
I feel the energy rise and fall with my breath.
Closing my eyes I follow my breath,
Like Alice down the rabbit hole I seek the edges,
Of my body,
Of the Energy.
When I encounter resistance,
Within my body in a pose,
I have come to understand that the root,
Of this resistance lies within my mind.
Memories etched in the unconscious mind,
In movement revealed,
Come as I am ready to heal them,
So I let them come.
I do not resist because I know,
All things in their time will surrender,
To the Love that lives within,
And the pose will evolve.
I have come to trust my breath will lead me to relinquish the pain
And bring me to that moment of release,
Where my being conjoins,
And I reach the state of Oneness.
Leza Lowitz is an American writer and Yoga instructor living in Tokyo, Japan. She has written, edited and co-translated over seventeen books, many about Japan, its relationship with the U.S.A., on the changing role of Japanese women in literature, art and society, and about the lasting effect of the Second World War and the desire for reconciliation in contemporary Japanese society.
Here is a quote by Liza about poetry, and below, one of her poems.
“The grail of poetry, of writing, is self-knowledge. That’s why when we read a good poem, we feel as if the author has spoken directly to our soul, unlocked something previously unseen or hidden"
A Thief Sits Waiting. By Leza Lowitz
In a corner of the body,
a thief sits waiting
to steal your attention.
Like a pickpocket in the black market,
he hides in the dark alleys of the body,
but the breath is a lantern
rooting him out.
Catch a glimpse of him
as he rounds the corner
to hide in the hip joint,
watch him fly
as he darts between
the shoulder blades,
marvel as he ducks
under the sacrum,
laugh to see him tumble
headfirst into the pelvic bowl.
But once you catch him,
don’t throw him into prison.
Don’t bind him up in rope.
Rather, hang him out in the light,
and praise him effusively.
For when the chase is over
he will have taught you
the many secrets of the maze,
and you can start to polish
all those precious gems
he’s been guarding.
My mat is my sacred space by Sue Golden
My mat it is my sacred space
as I choose my intentions
surrender to cosmic Grace
and divine intervention
For one hour of time
I devote to my self
place troubles of mine
away on a shelf
up high on a cloud
suspend for an hour
With my head bowed
I connect with my power
my strength from within
my Prana, my Yin
I let my light shine
embrace the Divine
May the essence and light in me
see the essence and light in you
And we say,
I wish you a very peaceful International yoga day.
I must apologize for my tardiness the last couple of weeks. I have had technology problems, and am finding a weekly commitment of blogging quite taxing, combined with full time work, and balancing life and play. So I am going to start a new routine.. "Blog a Fortnight", which for my American readers, means once every two weeks!
I think I will be able to provide more of quality of content, but intend to keep my blogs short and sweet for your convenience.