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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Aug 26, 2008

Intention and the Grace of 5 Elements

Last week we are worked with "Intentionality" - a vital component of practice. This entry is a little re-cap of all of that week of focus - and is probably a little technical (not so interesting) unless you were actually at the practices. But for those who were - here ya go!

Each of us, thanks to the great good fortune of having been born, is positioned perfectly at the place in the middle between heaven and earth.

In the womb, our heart forms first. Then from the heart, (the "place in the middle") comes the notocord - a great western science way of describing the sushumna. (Somewhere in the Upanishads, the sushumna is described as a shining thread /cord /pillar of light that sustains each life - both connecting and holding apart Heaven and Earth).

Our position at the place in the middle between heaven and earth is full of potential. We can - if we know how - plant seeds that will be held by earth and water and warmed and quickened by fire and air.

Planting an intention makes a meeting place for Heaven and Earth, Spirit and Matter. Intention and the manifesting of Intention is truly a participation in the great process of divine evolution, "the Work". We co-create. It's what we're made for.

Of course there's the whole important discussion of "Right Intention" - and whether we create beauty or suffering. But that's not where I'm taking this particular journal entry.

Intention has to have earth (prithivi)- substance - like any seed does. Is there enough health, vitality and financial substance to fund the manifestation of your intention? If not, first nourish earth. On the other hand, too much earth can allow inertia to take over - the warmth of the sun will never reach the seed.

Intention and seeds need the water element (ap) and an ability to flow with the circumstances that will arise as the seed germinates. (Inner Spiral and openness in the hips). Without water, the new and somewhat tender nature of the manifesting intention won't be able to push through the dry packed earth. Too much water, being wishy washy, will drown any seed and any intention.

And then there's fire - (agni)the warmth of the sun. (Tailbone action and Outer Spiral). If things get too hot - too driven, too ambitious - you'll burn yourself and those around you out - a sort of scorched earth practice. If there's too little heat, the plant will fail to thrive.

(I realized recently that I am uncomfortable teaching fire element asana practices. I think this must be because I have always had so much fire element in me - pitta - that I'm afraid of scorching people - overworking them. I don't want to be Nero - fiddling away gleefully while Rome burns. But people keep telling me they love it when I teach fiery practices and I keep being surprised. People especially tell me that they love agni sara, nauli, and all the stronger pranayama and bandha work.)

The air element (vayu) is that aspect of an intention that makes it truly an offering, an expansion, a generosity, a creative expression. (Organic Energy). If an intention doesn't include an impulse to expand. it will never make it to flower and fruit.

The fifth element - space - is the "Open to Grace" element. The hugeness and mystery of pure, un-manifest potential. We open to That - and then we set intention - stepping the sky down into matter. When we do this we are participating in the great process of divine evoliutions. Yahoo!

1 comment:

  1. You are a genius. Wait- it is more than that, actually- you are a poetic genius. (And I am not just saying that because you are also one of my favorite people.) Really, I love your blog and the way you write. It is eloquent and also very real.