New moons are 28 day deaths. The continuous re-birth cycle of Sun and Moon are the Ha and Tha (Hatha,) the Yin and Yang of earthly life. This surrendering to death is very like practicing Savasana-Corpse Pose. There are many ways to release the old, and give up what is necessary, but living with and by Lunar cycles and the cycles within a Practice, invite greater awareness, helping shift old POV’s.
Death, for all its fearsome omnipotence, is only a POV. Inviting death in as a Practice, beckons knowledge of, and comfort from. To that end, I share with you a wonderful writing I’ve just received from a wise and lovely friend. It was written by Henry Van Dyke.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
“Gone from my sight. That is all.” She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There. She is gone!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: ”Here she comes!”
And that is dying.
Asana: Astavakrasana– Eight Crooks Pose, dedicated to the sage Astavakra. Begin with feet about 20 inches apart, knees bent, R hand on floor between feet and L hand on outside of L foot. Lift belly and bandhas to bring R leg over R arm, resting thigh on back of bicep, above elbow. Extend L leg out between arms, closer to R hand. Cross L ankle over R, locking the legs together. On exhale, lift legs off floor, extending them off to R side, squeezing R upper arm between thighs. Bend elbows, bringing torso forward until it parallels floor. To release pose, straighten arms, lift torso, uncross and release legs, lower them to floor. Do other side.
Health Notes: The pose may be ‘crooked’ but it puts us on a strong path toward powerful arms and legs. As in all arm balances, the wrists, shoulders and abdominals are engaged and strengthened. We start to perceive ourselves as more daring and fearless as we step up to partner more difficult aspects in our Practice. When we practice dying, we straighten out, lie serene and flat, crooks, turns and twisted parts open.
Astrology Notes: Libra is the fall period when Venus rules for the second time in the year. She also rules in spring, with Taurus. These are two very different Venus energies. In Taurus she is earthy, sensuous, lusty even, prone to wanting her sweets, her lover, and her velvet silks. In Libra, she is an airy, more thinking, strategic goddess. She connects outside of self to find out how she is within, she must go out, relate and bring information back. Both Venus’ are full of grace, beauty, and determination. Never doubt that Venus can rule with an iron fist. She simply hides it exquisitely in a blue velvet glove.
Ayurvedic Notes: As winter fingers softly touch bodies, it is time to pay attention to staying warm within and without. If you are in California, run an extra mile, if in New England, build cozy fires. What of inner heat? It helps to care enough to love self with simple tenderness. Here are 10 self care notes for fall:
Massage with scented oils.
Eat foods to ground and center the body.
Do a short cleanse to release old toxins.
Luxuriate in a hot bath with salts.
Reach out and touch someone. Take 10 for a heart to heart with no interruption.
Sit with the breath for five minutes. If you can, do a Pranayama Practice.
Meditation in sitting, walking, swiming, running.
Stand on the head to shift a difficult POV, or move into Down Dog-Ado Mukha Svanasana for 10 breaths.
Flow evenly through five Suns to awaken the heart. Be at the command of the breath.
Class energies this week turn inward toward the new Moon in Libra on Oct. 7th. As this time is about relationships, we will work partnering and balance poses, long stretches into the beautiful, Venus ruled Shakti dance. Looking forward to partnering with you.