July Shipway – Yoga through the year
|The Celtic festival of gratitude and first seeds, Lammas, is on August 2nd this year. It’s the time of first harvest, and in this newsletter we’ll be looking at ways that we can acknowledge and celebrate our own personal harvest, as well as remembering to say thank you to Mother Earth, as without her there is no harvest. In this newsletter you’ll find a First Harvest Yoga Practice; harvest meditation questions, to help you align your energy to the season; and a beautiful sequence called Bow to the Earth, which is a great way of saying thank you to the earth for all her bounty at this harvest time.|
|First Harvest Yoga PracticeThe inspiration for the First Harvest Yoga Practice came from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.42, which states, “Perfect happiness is attained through contentment.” In my early morning yoga practice today I found it uplifting to affirm “perfect happiness” on the inhale, and “contentment” on the exhale. The affirmation is coordinated with the breathing and simple dynamic (repeated) yoga movements. At a time when the world is so troubled it was lovely to get back in touch with my joy again. Try it now. Close your eyes, and then as you inhale silently affirm “perfect happiness”, and as you exhale affirm “contentment”. Relax into your bliss!|
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Harvest Meditation Questions
This is the time of first harvest. Whether we are gardeners or not, we all have a harvest, and now is a good time to consider what you are harvesting. You can use seasonal meditation questions to help you look back over the past year and consider where you have been putting your energy and whether this has been fruitful or not. Below are some meditation questions around the theme of recognising and celebrating your own personal harvest:
This is the season of harvest. What is my own personal harvest?
Who has helped me realise my harvest and how will I thank them?
How will I celebrate my harvest and how will I share my abundance with others?
The pandemic has laid waste many projects and put on hold many dreams. Consequently it’s likely that this year your harvest might be different to what you were expecting. So, as well as celebrating achievements, it’s also important to acknowledge any losses or disappointments that you have experienced during this turbulent time, and remember to give yourself the space to feel and process whatever feelings are arising.
Bow to the Earth Sequence
It can be a nerve wracking time for those of us emerging from a few months of lock-down as we weigh up risks and benefits and try to establish what the new normal looks like. Naturally, all of us are in a heightened state of alert as we work out what’s safe to do and what’s not. This constant turning over of worries can create a low-level background anxiety, which isn’t very helpful when you’re trying to relax into your yoga practice! This was certainly true for me today, as for the first ten minutes or so of my early morning yoga practice my mind just went over and over all the things I might need to do as we come out of lock-down and resume normal life again. Fortunately, the Bow to the Earth yoga sequence came to my rescue, and after a few rounds of it I felt much calmer, more grounded, and centred. It helped me to let go and relax into the support of the earth beneath my feet, and to remember all that I have to be grateful to the earth for.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are approaching the period of first harvest, and it’s a good time to remember to say thank you to Mother Earth, as without her there is no harvest. The Bow to the Earth sequence is a beautiful way to show our appreciation and gratitude to the Earth for all the bounty and beauty that she spreads before us at harvest.
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Traditionally, Bow to the Earth Bhumi Pranam, is done before and after every performance of Indian classical dance. The translation of pranam is “to bow before or make an offering to” bhumi, the Earth.