10 February 2011


At the end of each class, the instructor closes by saying, "Namaste". After looking around for the meaning of the word, I found this explanation by Aadil Palkhivala on yogajournal.com:

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.
We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.
For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.
Ideally, Namaste should be done both at the beginning and at the end of class. Usually, it is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart. 

I found a few different translations or definitions of Namaste, but the one I like most is this:

I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, light, peace and joy. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, We Are One.


"Did someone get that license plate?..."

With work, weather, and illness out of the way, Tuesday was my first class in two full weeks. Felt good, ready to go, itching to get back into the room.

Another full class (30 or more). Had to wedge into a spot on the middle row. The class started well. It simply felt good to get that sweat going and start doing postures. Half-moon, Hands to Feet, Awkward, Eagle all went pretty well. Still much difficulty in balancing set, then the usual falling out in Triangle. Finished the standing set pretty well, at least for me. Took a little water, then into savasana for the normal two minute break before the floor series.

Then it began.

Got through spine-strengthening ok, but while transitioning to Fixed-firm, I started to get queasy. Never got dizzy, but my stomach really started to hurt. Made it through Half-Tortoise, but only just. Next was Camel, the deepest backbend in the class. Tried to go back in first set and thought I was going to lose it. I came out way early and laid back down. Second set was worse, and in Rabbit, I couldn't bend forward at all. I felt like I had been hit by the proverbial truck, and laid out for the rest of class. Cindy, our instructor, even asked if I would take part in the final breathing exercise. I shook my head and heard a couple people chuckle -- not in derision -- they have all been there before. I stayed in the room for awhile after class and was able to calm myself without actually getting sick. Victory!!!

Those things happen from time to time, even to the most experienced practitioners. As time passes, those episodes become fewer and fewer. For me, it means looking at things like my diet. It's been very cold (for Texas) the last two weeks, and when it's cold, I want to eat more, and I want to eat more meats and fast food. The cleanse we did a couple weeks ago was really good -- lost 10 lbs -- but I haven't kept up with the eating part of the plan. Trying to get back on the beam in that regard, and I am looking forward to getting back to practice tonight!

11 down, 189 to go.


03 February 2011

Waiting, waiting, waiting.....

The coldest weather in over a decade has wrought havoc with work, travel, and yoga. The studio has been closed for three days, and I haven't had a chance to attend a class in ten days. Next op is Monday but that looks doubtful at this time as well. On top of that, I had another respiratory infection over the weekend. Fun. Need to get back into the room. Soon. More later.

10 down, 190 to go (still....)