Opening to Grace

The day is dawning on the last day of the training, and though it has been a wonderful experience sharing with members of the larger Anusara Yoga community, I am missing home and ready to return!

Yesterday was magical in many ways. The theme for the morning was appropriately, "Opening to Grace," which we worked on by focusing on softening in the thickest part of the thoracic spine at the base of the shoulder blades - the very root of the heart - where we tend to harden. We worked by creating greater opening, lengthening, and extension in our bodies.

It was amazing to see how deeply we all could open as we did rather nuanced assists I had not seen or done before - such as helping each other balance in handstand or forearm balance by simply pressing on the occiput of our partners or at the base of the shoulder blades.

We were constantly reminded as teachers to say and live the very essence of this mantra: "Let my will serve thy will," for it would lead us to greater clarity and insight.

John Friend spoke of "bala" as the capacity to access power and noted that when we remember where our power comes from - we are able to access our strength and knowledge - and he spoke of this as he assisted a beautiful yogini in a series of challenging backbends, including scorpion.

We were also encouraged to become chalices to be filled on this day of atonement.

Towards the end of the morning, this wonderful angel sent by God, and named Michael, could see I was hanging back on an urdhva dhanurasana assist. I have avoided this pose because of its heart opening qualities and its tendencies to release a lot of emotions. Michael very gently, and compassionately led me into greater alignment in a very sequential fashion until I was up in the pose. When I came down he was so happy to see a visceral change in me and urged me to go look in the mirror.

As I mentioned to a friend later, I am still continually amazed by the love and support of this community, even when we do not know each other very well. Even so, every one tries to bring out the best in the other.

During the lunch break, I took a Hindu friend of mine to a religious supply store. She was interested in buying a Madonna. We struck up a wonderful conversation with the woman who owned the store. She gave us blessed medals for protection, and my friend and I bought beautiful states of the Virgin Mary for our respective meditation altars. Mine was appropriately a manifestation of "Our Lady of Grace."

On this penultimate day of our training, I was showered with grace in so many beautiful ways!

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