Become a Chalice for Grace

I've been reflecting and trying to practice and embody different pieces and insights gleaned from studying with Ross Rayburn, and Desiree Rumbaugh, both Anusara Yoga certified teachers, who visited Willow Street Yoga Center, here in the Washington, DC area, the last couple of weeks.

Each one of them, came bearing a special gift for me, a precious gem that I am just beginning to unwrap, knowing that these gifts will continue to yield layers upon layers of insights, for a long time to come...

In the practices that I attended with Ross, he instructed us to breathe into our pelvis, expanding there, all the way into our ribs and back as well. We worked strongly with Inner and Outer Spiral in a deep and nuanced way. Ross noted, that the psoas muscle connects all the way to T12 in our spine, and when we inner spiral, we want to open all the way into that place.

Desiree showed us how to get into the heart more, and how to do all of our poses - including inversions and arm balances from that place. And that, is not easy, when we have been used to doing these things from our core. She noted that when we open all the way to T12, we can also open into our upper backs as well, because the trapezius muscle also connects to T12.

I started "seeing" the upper back, including the trapezius, as an creating a "V" connecting at T12, with the lower body and chakras, and the pelvis as an inverted "V," with the psoas connecting to T12 as well. I also knew that there are intercostal muscles at T12, and that the diaphragm, a sheet of muscles responsible for breathing and that stretches along the bottom of the rib cage is also located there, and separates the thoracic cavity with the heart, lungs, and ribs, from the lower body. A tight psoas, can affect our breathing capacity, illustrating how all these pieces and parts are interrelated.

As I practiced, and led my more experienced students through a practice, I put all the various pieces together...

I envisioned these two "V's" intersecting at T12 - creating the framework of a chalice within us, that when open, could support us, and be filled with grace. And I also realized, as we opened one part - we opened others - opening in our pelvis - could open the heart - it could help us breathe more - and could also take our meditation practice to another level. I could sense the connection to where I needed to go in my body and how it related to where I wanted to go spiritually, and vice versa.

So many light bulbs went off for me that they are too numerous to note at the moment, but I began to see, that if I worked at embodying all the insights and keys that were given to me by Ross and Desiree, I - and others - could truly become a chalice for grace!

We would open deeply in the core of our pelvis and become expansive there. We could also become more expansive in the heart - and create a balance in our body between the lower chakras and the upper chakras. These expansions had to be embodied in a more energetic way - beyond merely engaging the outer form of the poses, and basic alignment instructions...

I knew that a greater sense of freedom could be had in both the body and the spirit, and that by becoming a chalice for grace, not only would a direct link be established with a deepening meditation practice, but that it would also be both a source of support and framework for the embodiment and reflection of greater compassion, and that would spill over into all aspect of our lives as well...

There is so much more here than meets the eye - so much more I wish I could express or write down, but I am overwhelmed with insights, and gratitude for teachers who provided pieces that were missing for me, that will not only enable me to more fully become all that I am meant to be, but will also enable me to become a better teacher...

The interesting thing is, a lot of what I received from these teachers, I have heard before. But there is always a right time and right moment for each one of us to individually internalize it. There is always so much to explore, imbibe, and embody!


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