Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's Elemental

Warning: this will be another long, touchy feely post. If you're not into mumbo jumbo, stop now.

Today was another yoga immersion day. And once again I was hit over the head with a giant anvil of awareness. It's not an anvil I am unfamiliar with - I remember it well from my days of herbal classes, even from some of Hiroshi's old speeches. And so I am forced to wonder, how many times must I be hit with this anvil before I finally do something about it?

Deb was talking about adhikara - the qualities, competencies, and entitlement of the student - and how you can deepen your adhikara through self-knowledge and balancing action. Knowing yourself requires that you understand your qualities, which can be tied to the five elements - earth, fire, water, air, ether.

Ding ding ding. We seeing an anvil floating in the air above my head yet?

Earth people tend to be stubborn and steadfast. They do the same thing every day at the same time. (Or, say, the same thing every day of the week at the same time, at the cost of, say, going out to dinner with friends, or having a romantic night at home with Mr. Zips.)

Fire people are fast, quick witted, intense, inclined to transcend boundaries.

Know anyone that matches those descriptions?

Water people tend to be more fluid, more calm, accomodating, sensitive, compassionate.

Know anyone who lacks those qualities?

Deb went on to explain that to increase adhikara, one should not only play to one's strengths, but should cultivate those elements that one might be deficient in.

When I got home, I went through my old journals from herbalism class. I found this note on one of the pages. "Should take jasmine bath. Or maybe hibiscus. Increase water energy. Dampen fire. Come into balance."

Now, I'm sure that increasing my water energy won't fix all my problems. But I'm thinking it could help.

For starters, water is connected to the second chakra, the womb or belly chakra. Medititating on this, I was struck by how often I stand sideways in the mirror and grab my "poodge" (as I call it) and shake my head, thinking myself fat. Perhaps I might shift my perception and see instead a round, firm Buddha belly that, if not able to support a life within me (for I still don't want to breed) than perhaps can engender compassion and nurture for other lives around me.

So, there's clearly work to be done here. And realizing that is the purpose of walking this path of Anusara yoga, is it not?

Now if I could only find a way to embody this knowledge for good - to incorporate it into my DNA so to speak. Because my head's starting to hurt from all this anvil dropping. Damn Acme Labs...