Shakti: Most simply, shakti is the primordial cosmic energy that “represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe” (Wikipedia). The feminine principle in Hindu cosmology, shakti is the underlying energy of potential itself. It is intangible, but without it there is no form, no movement, no creation, no destruction. Shakti is pure nascence; the spark at the heart of empowerment.
There is no better place to feel shakti than the ocean. It’s in the WILD ROAR of the waves and the pull of the tide, evidence of our connection with other celestial bodies. Here are 3 minutes to take you away from whatever your mind is racing over today. Enjoy.
Most yoga classes aim to offer a variety of poses—standing poses, seated poses, balancing poses, twists, backbends, arm balances, inversions… A “full spectrum” class will provide you the opportunity to bend in many directions and use different muscles all over your body. So, it’s hard sometimes to see how your body is being changed. You might not revisit the same pose in a class for weeks!
In this video series, I will share with you time-lapse videos of me practicing a specific pose for one month. Hopefully it’ll be fun and we’ll see how practice makes progress.
Bartolome Island in the Galapagos Archipelago is pretty new — only about 1.5-million years old. Not much grows there yet. But these little colorless plants have found a foothold on the hardened lava. Somehow the seeds found their way to this tiny rock in the middle of the ocean. It may not be perfect, but they will adapt! And as they cling to all there is there, and live and die and decay, they will provide the seeds and soil for new life to thrive.
Our own inner landscapes provide much more fertile ground for all kinds of things to grow. In Buddhism, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches mindfulness with the metaphor of planting seeds for the things you want to grow. We can choose to plant and nourish seeds of compassion, kindness, and gratitude. Or, we can choose to plant and feed jealousy, shame, or greed. Or maybe just plain ole bad habits.
In our meditation this week, we will work on cultivating some new seeds. The meditation is adapted from the book, Just One Thing, by Rick Hanson, PhD. Using the latest research on experience-dependent neuroplasticity, Hanson describes practices for “using the mind to change the brain.” Research increasingly shows that our brains—the actual connections between neurons that constitute what we think, how we react and how we feel—are shaped by our lived experiences. And, as it turns out, what we think counts as part of our lived experience. Hanson’s exercises provide opportunities to practice new ways of thinking, to reshape your brain, and provide newly fertile ground for the kind of life you want to live.
In yoga, we say “where the mind goes, prana flows.” Let’s give it a try together!