The Art of Theme-ing

Every new yoga term, my teacher picks an over-arching theme for the session. Last term it was: "The Sky is the Limit." This session it is: "Everything is Pulsation."

Yesterday I heard from a new friend I made in Sarasota - a very talented yogini - who shared that her theme for the week was freedom. She focused on the inner and outer spiral of the arms and used birds as a metaphor to teach the action of the rotation of the arms.

I am always fascinated by the themes that my friends and fellow teaching colleagues choose to explore in their yoga classes. It is truly a work of art to weave themes into one's classes flawlessly, and we all do it in unique ways. Some teachers truly have a gift for doing this.

What many do not realize - is that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to weave themes into a class - and to sequence a class according to the theme and the action and principle of alignment you want to focus on. It can make a difference between a class that is merely one that is physical - and one that is truly inspirational - and that shifts you energetically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I always typically begin and end a session with the theme: "Opening to Grace" and what it means. This week I chose to focus on how this first principle of the Anusara Universal Principles of Alignment leads to awakening. And conversely, how we cannot awaken if there is not first an opening, softening, or receptivity on our parts.

I chose to adjust my students in a variety of poses so that they could feel them differently - perhaps even experience poses they have done time and time again in a new way. I was able to do this because I have small groups which allows me to be more attentive to them individually.

I marvel at the ability to deepen our spirituality through a practice that involves our bodies. As I told my students, even King David, in the Hebrew scriptures, danced before the Ark of the Covenant.

My own teacher this week, referred to the Spandakarikas - a classic Tantric text often translated as the "Song of the Sacred Tremor." This text recognizes that everything in the Universe is consciousness and everything teems with pulsation - or vibration - something quantum physics both recognizes and asserts.

This reading was shared at the end of my class and it comes from Daniel Odier's commentary in the book by him - Yoga Spandakarika: The Sacred Texts at the Origin of Tantra:

"The supreme state is not found outside of oneself, but is the original and intimate nature of our being. To abandon all seeking is the only way we can relax ourselves enough that the realization of our innate nature can flower. Desire freed from its state of tension no longer goes toward things, but everything quickens within desire like a continuous offering. This is the essence of the heart of the yoginis, the teaching of the simple fact of the beauty that pours out within us like the earth receives the moon, the sun, and the rain, in the continuous sacred tremor of vibrating and living matter. There is nothing inanimate. All is radiating sacred tremoring - people, mountains, rivers, and emotions. The clouds and the body are atoms bound by wonder, like the sky uniting the stars."

What a wonderful reminder that everything is teeming with life! I thought of this - this morning, as I spent a long time at the river doing my meditations. Even the light seemed more vibrant. The sun shone in my eyes very brightly and the birds seemed more joyous than ever. I marveled at the very diminutive purple flowers growing in the grass that could easily be overlooked and I thought to myself - what wonderful and delicate manifestations of the Divine!

As I ended classes this week, I shared with my students some of the insights from Todd Norian's Newsletter that I referred to earlier this week, as I invited them to soften more deeply this season, feeling the connection to the abundant flow of the Universe and the joy that it continually offers!

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