The following article was originally published in my column, “Actualizing Your Yoga” in 2010. I hope you enjoy it. – FEN
Yoga For Spring Renewal
by Françoise Netter
Hello and welcome again! In the last column, I asked you to reflect on your inner story—your beliefs, attitudes and thoughts and to choose one mask of limitation that you will commit to removing this year.
As the calendar moves forward towards spring, it is a perfect time to actively plant the seeds of awareness honed during the winter months. Spring, in most traditions, has always signified renewal and a time to enact the intentions of the New Year. In Yoga there is a branch called Tantra—it is often associated in the West as the “Yoga of sex”, but in ancient traditions it more accurately symbolized the power of rituals.
Last night, I partook in the festivities of Shivaratri. Shivaratri is a holiday dedicated to celebrating the principles of Shiva who is associated with all aspects of the divine, much like Yahweh in the religions of the West. There were many sacred rituals performed to invoke an experience of inner silence, bliss and awakening to the larger principles of life within us and for the world.
Remembering and celebrating sacred rituals helps us to pause in transition times and to use them to live more purposely and consciously. Most of us today are so busy trying to make ends meet, keep up with technology and our familial and life-style duties that there is barely even time for sleep. Most of us are in desperate need of balance and renewal. Rituals can help remind us to pause, breathe, relax and restore our energies and goals.
Every New Year in January, I host a fire ritual where I invite a group of people to let go of the shackles of the past and invoke the new. I use meditation, visualization, writing, sage and rose pedals as well as other sacred tools. What became clear to me this year is that we must ground these tools and rituals into our daily lives. In other words, if you pray or meditate those prayers and inner silences must be integrated into your daily life. More than ever, we must act more consciously and aware every moment of every day.
Practicing Hatha Yoga is one way to ground this awareness. This month I am going to suggest that you practice Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar as a deliberate reminder of renewal and living consciously. The Sun Salutation is a series of twelve postures performed in sequence and accompanied by the breath. Made up of both forward and back bending poses, the sequence creates a perfect balance of strength and flexibility and adds a component of stamina because of the continuous flow of movement. Salutation to the Sun was developed and incorporated into Hatha Yoga in the last one hundred years. The form of Sun Salutation varies according to the style of Yoga practiced. I am including a diagram of the classical Sun Salutation. If you are new to Yoga, start slowly and pause between each series. Eventually build up to 12 repetitions and remember to change legs in the lunge after every series (first bringing the right leg back, etc). Start in Tadasana and then follow the series remembering to inhale and exhale in each pose. If you are unfamiliar with the poses, email me and I can suggest a book, class or other way to specifically instruct and guide you.
Let this practice be the springboard for your renewal and to integrating it into your daily life. I look forward to your questions, comments and e-mails.
“I welcome you with all my heart.”
© 2010, Françoise E. Netter, M.A.
Françoise E. Netter, M. A., President of Body/Mind Dynamics has been a teacher and conference presenter in the field of yoga, stress management, creativity development, dance, and dance therapy, for over thirty years throughout the world. She has taught at major universities, authored a book and a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program and has been featured on television, radio, CD and video and in magazine and newspaper articles including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Françoise is available for private consultations and coaching as well as Keynote presentations and events and has ongoing classes, training programs, workshops and special retreats and travel workshops. Contact her at: www.bodyminddynamics.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-960-6000.