Blog post written by Eliza Skye

To me there is nothing more sacred than love and laughter, and there is nothing more prayerful than playfulness.
— Osho

In Sanskrit, the word “lila” means ‘sport’ or ‘play of God’, and it also refers to the concept that all of existence is a divine play, put on by Brahman (the creator). This very strongly correlates to the Western theological concept of Pandeism, which describes the Universe as God taking a physical form in order to experience the interplay between the elements of the Universe. Many of us adults consider play to be something that we no longer need after childhood, but there are many traditions that see the power in play. The definition of play is “the quality of being light-hearted or full of fun.” In play, the heart carries the light and therefore must let go of darkness. The mind is present. Play is not a sport - there is no competition or goal. It is an act performed in pure joy, which brings about true liberation, for there is no attachment to an outcome, to the past, or to the future. Perhaps, with enough practice, we can shift toward a view that all of the world around us is simply a divine play, with all of us as the actors and the audience. We can choose the next act of our lives, perhaps embracing it with the lighthearted joy of a child at play. 

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Bakasana, or Crow Pose,  is a playful and accessible arm balance that has very few contraindications. Bakasana was chosen as the pose for the month of June because crows are known for their playful nature. This playfulness suggests to many scientists and researchers that crows have a higher level of intelligence than other common birds. The playfulness itself is an indicator of intelligence. It takes a certain wit to engage in the act of play, for it means that a creature takes delights in an action that beyond survival or base needs. We can learn from the crow as we practice Bakasana. Arm balances are difficult, and there is a certain amount of falling that happens when one takes a balance. If Crow Pose is approached with playfulness, a yoga practitioner can enjoy falling out and perhaps even laugh at themself.  Crow Pose strengthens the shoulders, arms, wrists, abdomen and inner thighs, and even beginning the practice helps to tone those particular areas of the body. There are a few ways to modify this arm balance in order to make it more accessible to practitioners of all types, so we encourage you to come to the studio and talk to your teacher about how to approach this pose. 


Blog post by Eliza Skye

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
— Dalai Lama

Sacredness is a designation that is created in each of our minds. You can decide, as an individual, that one object or place is sacred and another is not. However, this does not mean that the same truth applies to any other person. Sacredness can be designated as a culture, but it is the individual who worships and prays. Even the non-material aspects of our world can be sacred, such as sacred time, dances, or energy. Everything has the potential to be holy - it is how we interpret what is in front of us that changes the meaning of objects and experiences. The body can be considered a sacred structure, and many yoga practitioners come to realize this over time. The body is the vessel that allows us to experience both the physical and the spiritual. It is an intricately functioning system that keeps us as safe as it possibly can. This is an astonishing feat in this ever-changing landscape of technology, society and the environment. Sacredness is something that is entitled to reverence and respect. Is that the way you see your body? Perhaps this is a thought you could explore with an open mind. When we begin to see the sacredness in all aspects of ourselves, we see it in the world around us. Then, every moment becomes a chance for worship and prayer. 


Trikonasana: Triangle Pose

“Tri” means three and “Kona” means angle, so this is literally three-angle, or triangle, pose. When practiced with safe form, this pose can feel incredibly nourishing, as it stretches some of the stiffest areas of the body. Trikonasana lengthens through the hips, groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and along the spine. Because of the way you must balance, it strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest. This balancing effect also helps bring clarity to the brain and mind. Ona physical level, it helps improve digestion and reduce anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica. Pregnant mamas-to-be may especially find low back relief in Trikonasana, and it may be safely practiced throughout the pregnancy. You can always modify your triangle pose with a block or a wall. No matter how you practice Trikonasana, feel the strength in your own body as you hold the pose. Take a moment to admire your body for being able to move in such a beautifully complex way. 


Trishula Mudra

We now know that in Sanskrit, “tri” means three. “Shula” is a spear, so Trishula is a spear with three points, or a trident. In Hindu theology Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction, is known for carrying a trident. In Greek mythology, it is Poseidon who carries the trident, both as a means for creating a water source, but also to “stir things up”, by way of earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. So, we can see the connection between the trident and letting go of the old way of doing things. When we destroy, it is an opportunity to recreate. This mudra can also be used for protection, as you can destroy ideas or thoughts that do not serve you. This makes Trishula Mudra protective, for you are the one in control of what is destroyed in taking this hand positioning. It is best practiced in the evening. Hold the mudra and count to twenty. Watch as anxiety disappears.