Recently I have moved back home with my parents, mostly because of my German Shepherd puppy. I have to do what is best for my baby now, and he needs room to run around and play. Animals feel anxiety. For the past few days he has had explosive diarrhea. Just as I clean him up, he goes again, in the house nonetheless. In our new living arrangements, there are six cats who team up and fight against him. The cats bully the dog. It is quite a sight, 100+ lb dog afraid of 15 lb cats. So I have made many sacrifices for my baby. The first, moving home. Then, I slept next to his cage while he was sick, leaving me the most unpleasant night of sleep in a long time. Wow, its tough being a mommy. Think about sacrifice in your own life. What have you done lately for others?
"You quickly learn your weaknesses while serving others. The world is like a big mirror - it shows you your ugly spots, your weaknesses. Through service you can learn to recognize your own weaknesses and work to correct them. Its easy to simply go to a corner and meditate. But there's another form of meditation: action. During Karma Yoga you meditate on what you are doing. You watch your feelings and watch your mind. It's a mental training program. Practice Karma Yoga whenever you have the opportunity. In this practice you will see your limitations and drawbacks; you test yourself in the field. You will understand your attitudes and moods better than when you are alone. Through Karma Yoga your heart, mind, and body will soon be cleaned." - H.H. Sri Swami Satchidananda, To Know Your Self, p.199
Class began with breath awareness, 3 OM's and a call/response Hari OM chant.
Sequence: table, cat/cow, cat/cow side stretch (look over shoulder and try to bring ear to hip), Balasana (child's pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), Balasana > Ashtangasana (eight pointed pose), Balasana > table > Adho Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana > Plank 3x, Ashtangasana > Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana, lunge 2x, Anjaneyasana (monkey pose), Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Ardha Uttanasana (halfway standing forward bend), Tadasana (mountain pose), Gomukasana (cow pose) arms prep, Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (upward bound hands pose).
At this point, my assistant, Harriet took over to teach three poses: Virabhadrasana II (warrior II), Virabhadrasana I (warrior I), Trikonasana (triangle pose).
Jumping back as the leader I taught Virabhadrasana II > Trikonasana again with Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged standing forward bend). Having an assistant is such a blessing and is pushing me to be a better teacher, student and listener. To become more comfortable with the poses I suggested that Harriet practice giving instructions to every pose that she does on her own in her home practice. Hearing this advice during my teacher training helped me find my yoga voice and the more I use it, the more natural and comfortable it becomes. Also, letting go of the nerves from leading a group and replacing that fear with love, my love for others and sharing my love of yoga with others.
Changed the cd, the mood and energy at this point. Bringing back order and peace we all sat on our mats for a few seated postures. Dandasana (staff pose), Paschimottanasana (west back stretch), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose), foot massages, hip cradles and circles, Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose), Apanasana (knees to chest pose), one knee to chest, leg lifts, reclining twist, Savasana (final relaxation pose) with guided relaxation. Played the 6th chakra quartz crystal singing bowl (C) coming out of Savasana.
"Karma Yoga alone is enough to save your soul. You won't have to force yourself to serve others if you know the benefits of such service. You will be frightened to be selfish for fear of losing your peace. The greatest joy in life is doing something for somebody else."
- H.H. Sri Swami Satchidananda, To Know Your Self, p. 200
Ending Peace Chants:
Asaato Maa Sad Gamaya Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya
Lead us from unreal to Real. Lead us from darkness to Light. Lead us from the fear of death to the knowledge of Immortality.
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!
Lokaah Samastaah Sukhino Bhavantu
May the entire universe be filled with peace and joy, love and light.