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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 18, 2008

The Graciousness of Gravity

Week #2 of Summer Mornings began this morning. The focus this week is opening to grace through each of the Elements. Today we began with the First Element, the Earth Element - Prithivi.

It has been SO HOT and the moon has been SO FULL that many of us are a little too open to Sky (the 5th element) and relatively ungrounded.

I observed a great example of "Grounding the Sky" in my own back yard. Henrietta - our Mama Peacock - and her 3 Pea-Chicks - live in our back yard. (These Peacocks appeared mysteriously last spring and adopted us). Yesterday in the 105 degree heat, I watched Henrietta and her chicks, naturally airy creatures, ground themselves thoroughly by digging a hole in our flower bed and snuggling down in it. They nestled down into the earth and sat there quietly staying cool.

The Yoga practice today was as full of quietness as the sky is full of light and heat. We held the focus of Earth, and its stability. Although it was a gentle practice, we did do some strong work with muscular energy to cultivate the earth element's gift of an ability to maintain structural integrity under stress.

In terms of Asana, the Earth element is correlated with attention to the details of alignment. (Water is correlated with Vinyasa, Fire with Bandha, and so on). I wove this attention to detail in to working with precise alignment in the feet and hands as our points of contact with the Earth.

The sense correlated with the Earth Element is the sense of smell. I had people smell fresh earth, as this is an amazingly simple and effective way to ground.

We have a remarkable capacity - if we develop it and ground it through a practice like Yoga - to receive and transmit radiance (Tejas) and beauty (Shri). Grounding is a completion of the circuit so we can fully and brightly participate in life.

Grounding is also a way of harmonizing and coming home to our bodies - like coming home to our favorite easy chair. Like coming home to the graciousness of gravity.

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