July 2018 SOM~ In Community: Movement that Matters POM~ Kapotasana and Variations

Subject of the Month: In Community: Movement that Matters

Kapota, the Rishi for whom Kapotasana (pigeon pose) is named, is said to be unmatched in power, vigor, strength, agility, and intuition. He not only led with his heart as we do in full pigeon, he literally led with his soul which traveled in front of his body by several feet! His wisdom and clarity were so profound that sons of the gods asked his guidance and advice. His actions were said to be so effortless and beautiful in all he did it appeared his feet didn’t even touch the ground as he moved. Like a bird soaring high in flight, his actions had an innate skillfulness, a perfection in timing that is the embodiment of effortless, clear, spontaneous action.

We all have touched this kind of action, when we feel we have the wind beneath are wings, when we are carried on high, when we are “on a roll”, inspired, smoothly efficient. We feel in step with the rhythm, and capable of the requirements, in our own lives, and this spreads to our movements in the larger communities in which we live.  We feel confident and vital, purposeful, capable, effective and kind. We have trust that the flow of life will carry us, and this gives power to actions that serve others, and the understanding that this results in greater harmony for all.

When there is so much calculated divisiveness and manipulation effecting the communities to which we belong and care about, it becomes much harder to find any sustained rhyme or reason in the steps we take.  It becomes more difficult to determine what actions to take, and if our efforts make any difference at all in a constantly shifting landscape with so many moving parts. As things we truly value as essential to stability, safety, health and basic rights become threatened or taken away from ourselves or others, we can feel overwhelmed and out of balance on many levels. It is difficult to feel joy or even kindness at times. Many have expressed feeling helpless, drained, full of doubt and worry about what to do and where we are headed. Individual and group efforts have felt ineffective against the momentum of a seemingly bigger movement that divides to conquer. All this depletes our ability to cope and stresses our nervous system. We stagnate, or we become a whirlwind of activity with little focused direction, frenetic in our movements. In either case, we are less able to organize our actions around any sense of purpose that allows us to make and sustain movement toward a greater good, to do anything efficiently. How do we stay internally strong through the callousness of deliberate chaos and lack of caring?

Strength and support can be found by moving in community with others, and even more so in compassionate community where selfless service brings purpose.  In this kind of focused, effective action we are replenished and inspired to lead with our heart. What would it feel like to go further and lead with our soul as Kaputa did? Would we be willing to let others see right into that beautiful space where everything is held in oneness-  our mistakes, our failures, our pettiness, our triumphs, our dedication, our love- so we all can see that whatever happens to another affects us, and that everyone matters equally. When everything is included and integrated, this is Yoga, this is union, this is Paramashiva, the state of totality. Here, every action is effortless, spontaneously arising and sustaining. Here, the strength comes from an understanding of what our actions and inactions ultimately create and allow. Staying the course of action to serve justice and compassion becomes choiceless as any other option doesn’t hold the line of what it is acceptable to our own integrity and knowing.

We will explore community and movement in many ways this month, in and out of class.  Through our asana practice we will engage in an integrated and skillful approach toward the challenging pigeon pose and its variations, with world music and different types of movement practices interwoven. Let’s remember to have fun and move to find our groove, and practice the things we know bring us strength and joy. We will have kirtan, and other pop-up opportunities to practice, sing and move together. What if each of us extended an invitation to coffee or tea, or for a walk, to someone this month that perhaps we wouldn’t normally think to do, or joined in support of an event for the rights of someone else to have what we have? What if we reached across the gap of culture to support those in need that don’t look like us, or share a language, a continent, or even a species? What if we let ourselves dance and sing, hold hands and hug a little more, all the while showing up in word and deed in support of the basic intention of yoga, that all beings everywhere have what they need to be happy, healthy and free of suffering?  Would it make a difference in how we felt and what we could do? Let us find out, together!  Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti ❤

Pose of the Month: Rajakapotasana and Variations

We can practice kindly putting aside our differences as we move into variations of pigeon pose. What works for everyone will be different. Still, the approach is the same- skillful approach, patience and support as needed. Can we learn something from each variation, whether it is easy for us, difficult, or not happening in this lifetime? What does our mind and body tend to do in each of these experiences? Can we support others without comparing to our own practice? Can we find strength and purpose in the sustained, skillful effort, even if the results toward our goal are not coming as quickly as we like?


Let’s do this Yogasphere, and be birds of a feather, flying together 😊

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