The title may not make sense just yet but this is a post about impressions, how we step into life, into a posture or an experience. Specifically, how have we entered into the year 2015.
January was a holiday month for me and so I was able to step into 2015 meeting friends, family and indulging in rest – bliss, a wonderful beginning. However my chosen energetic imprint that I’d like to take with me for the rest of the year came from an evening dog walk to the beach. To back track, the holiday dog walks were often shared with my dog whisperer friend who was on her school holidays – I’ll call her T. T has an innate ability and assurance with animals that is quite remarkable. In particular she can take my wilful red heeler in hand like no one else and she carries with her an energy that is uplifting, sincere and fun.
One evening I’d been busy with new year set up tasks and hadn’t given the dogs their usual late afternoon walk. T texted and asked, ‘are you walking tonight?’ – I suggested I pick her up at 8pm and we’d go to the beach. It was late enough for the dogs to be off lead. On arriving at the beach we found the wind was up and the tide was rushing in – there was a wildness in the air. Focused on the dogs we began our walk taking care not to let them in for a swim as the waves in the bay were raucous and rough. The wind pushed against us as we threw the ball and kept everyone pretty close. The dogs noses were everywhere as the scents of the sea were tossed about from one direction to the next. We forged on breathing deeply, salt and spray entering our noses and even mouths as we spoke. As we came to the end of the first cove we instructed everyone to jump the sea wall onto the path and then we placed our leads on the dogs. The waves hit the sea wall with great smacks sending heavy sprays over the walking path, over us. There were few walkers that night and it was too hard to stop for conversation. It was tricky enough to even send out a smile. The next cove was somewhat sheltered by a groyne of rocks extending out into the bay to aid in sand erosion management. So we had a short respite where the ball could be sent off in a determined direction and the dogs could settle onto a single scent path. A lone surf kite was being packed up on this cove but other than that the territory was our own.
Piranhas and Sharks
The return walk included more wave-smack-spray action and the delayed drop of weighty foam hitting our backs. The windy cove returned us into a blast but this time it pushed us onward toward the steps and up to the car. We cleaned our feet including all four paws x 3 of our canine family and T provided assistance to a surf-sail boarder packing up his sails. Then we got back into the car where I exclaimed, ‘we are full of prana now!’. To which T questioned, ‘piranhas?’ I smiled, ‘P-R-A-N-A, but yes it could sound like piranha.’ Then without thinking I naively offered, ‘or we could say we feel the sensations of Shakti.’ T gave a cheeky, quizzical smile, ‘sharks?’ By this time we are both laughing, ‘yes’, I said, ‘we are now filled with piranhas and sharks, both the vital life force/life air and the energy of the cosmos.’ We exited the carpark cheeky and laughing and yes filled with the vibration of an almighty energy swirling within us and about us.
So this is how I’m choosing to enter into 2015 – filled with piranhas and sharks! It isn’t that I’ve stepped into this year free of personal afflictions but I am choosing as I notice my faults or my struggles to smile and remember that precious walk on the beach filled with life air and the energy of the entire cosmos. This is the impression I will offer my psyche as it tumbles out of a pose, meets a challenging experience or feels a little low. Piranhas and sharks shared with my dynamic friend T.
3 Breath Meditation Practice (referencing verses 24-27 Vijnana Bhairava)
Making choices no matter what situation we face and arriving with energy
Find your seat on the floor or a chair. Choose a mudra for your hands.
Reflect on how we make choices in life when faced with the myriad of life events: Take a moment to observe and accept the breath just as it is, perhaps for a minute or two. Then if you like, choose to change the breath by counting 3 for the inhale and sending it down to the sit bones, exhale for 6 letting energy rise and shoulder blades soften and fall. Alter your inhale and exhale ratios as you choose or as you expand into the breath practice. Practice this for several minutes then invite in another choice to ‘let go’ or walkaway from this particular form of altered breath
Return to acceptance, observe the natural breath as it is offered to you now, feel into any sensations in the body knowing you are empowered to change and correct if your posture needs to be altered. Maintain or reinstate your mudra.
Now/atha, bring the breath in from just above the crown of your head and down toward the heart, as it reaches the heart suspend it there for a moment – a breath suspension is not a holding of the breath it is an entering into a different energetic space in which movement can continue – in this suspension feel the presence of Shakti. Then as you need exhale and return awareness and breath to your crown. Again suspending the breath and drawing awareness to the sensation, the movement of energy – Shakti.
Inhale crown to heart – suspend the breath ( antar kumbhaka)
Exhale heart to crown – suspend the breath (bahir kumbhaka)
Verse 27. When the Energy of the Breath is retained outside or inside the peaceful state is revealed by means of Shakti. This is the way of prana-shakti or the vital life energy giving life to you, to the universe.
***Take care if you have high blood pressure as the suspended breath should not be practiced. As an option, if you have high blood pressure, use awareness to notice when the breath changes from an inhale to an exhale and from an exhale to an inhale but do not suspend/retain the breath – be a witness to the change in movement.