Patanjali, author of the classic yoga text, ‘The Yoga Sutras’ says in chapter 2 v.1 that yoga, in the form of action, has 3 parts:
1. Training and purifying the senses
2. Study of the scriptures
3. Devotion to Divine guidance in our lives
To that end, and in the Spirit of the Season I offer this yoga practice, “Asanas and the Scriptures”. We begin.
Crocodile pose: Let go of the day
Turn your attention inward
Focus on breath and body with awareness
Eyes: A new way of seeing
Roll on the your backside, resting however is comfortable for you.
You may gently place your palms over your eyes, or not.
We are going to do eye stretches that release strain in the muscles of our eyes, stain that may come from being too outwardly focused, or from habitual ways of looking at the world or ourselves. Let us open the flow of energy to the eyes to help us undo the way we have always seen, and see the Christ born this Christmas.
Roll the eyes up, to look over the top of the head
Roll the eyes down to look below the chin
Move the eyes to the right, looking behind the right ear.
Move the eyes to the left, looking behind the left ear.
We will continue gently stretching the eyes because we see way too much violence, pain and suffering which can cause our focus to become skewed so that all we notice is the problems, the imperfections, the negative. Let us retain our eyes to see the Christ born this Christmas.
Move eyes up to far right, then down to far left; repeat 3 times
Move eyes up to far left, then down right; repeat 3 times
Move eyes in clock ward direction, pausing at 12, 3, 6, 9
Move eyes in counter clock wise direction pausing at 12, 9,6,93.
Take a few gentle cleansing breaths allowing the breath to nourish the tissues of your eyes.
Dedication of Practice:
Come to cross legged sitting position, left leg in front.
With hands on thighs, drop right ear to right shoulder.
Let right hand rest on the floor, and slide right the arm out to the side.
Next place the left hand on the outside of the bent right knee and twist, lifting the spine, placing the right hand behind.
Now raise the right arm overhead, turning slightly to look in and up at the inner arm, palm facing the floor.
Place the right hand on the left shoulder, the left hand on the right shoulder, in a hug of yourself.
Bow your head. Take a moment to dedicate this practice today to Peace.
Change legs, so right leg is in front position.
With hands on thighs, drop left ear to left shoulder.
Let the left hand rest on the floor, and slide the left arm out to the side.
Next place the right hand on the outside of the bent left knee and twist, lifting the spine, placing the left hand behind.
Now raise the left arm overhead, turning slightly to look in and up at the inner arm, palm facing the floor.
Place the left hand on the right shoulder, the right hand on the left shoulder, in a hug of yourself.
Bow your head. Take a moment to choose to whom you would like to dedicate this practice today.
The Christ Child:
Lying on your back, inhale the arms overhead doing a wake up stretch, waking up to the Christ
With bent knees, circle out the legs in ‘Rock around the clock‘.
Hug one knee to chest, then the other.
Happy baby pose
Hug a baby pose
Child’s pose listening to Isaiah 9:6-7a
For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given;
And the government will be upon his shoulder,
And his name will be called
‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’
Of the increase of his government and of peace
There will be no end.
The Pigeon ( Dove)
Windshield wiper legs to simple twist.
Move into pigeon/ revolved pigeon
“I said the pigeon(dove) from the rafters high
I cooed him to sleep so he would not cry
We cooed him so sleep, my mate and I
I said the pigeon, from the rafters high.”
Repeat on other side
“Thus every beast, by some good spell
In the stable rude was glad to tell
Of the gift he gave, Emanuel
The gift he gave Emanuel.”
Puppy pose, as kings knelt, offering their gifts and hearts. The formal name of the puppy pose means ‘heart melting’; Let us open our hearts to the Christ.
The Mighty Gates
“ Lift up your heads Ye mighty gates, behold the king of glory waits.
The King of Kings is drawing near; the Savior of the world is here.
Fling wide the portals of your heart, make it a temple set apart
From earthly use, for heaven’s employ;
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.
Redeemer, come! I open wide my heart to thee;
Here Lord, abide!
Let me in thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in me reveal.
So come, my Sovereign; enter in!
Let new and nobler life begin;
Thy Holy Spirit guide us on,
Until the glorious crown be won.” Amen
Mountain pose with three deep breaths, using the arms
The tree pose!
Forward bend with the reading of Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving, that we receive;
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.
Even out the breath with count, letting the inhale/exhale be the same number; relax completely, letting the floor hold you up, release any tensions or tightness.
Hear the story from the Gospel of Luke: 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;
and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”