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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).

Nov 18, 2008

Roll On

Opening to grace, Muscular Energy, Organic Energy – in our system of Yoga these are the primary dynamics and flows of energy, of Prana. Learning how NOT to interrupt that flow of prana in our bodies, minds and lives – is one of the major purposes of our practice. We’re ALL trying to reach the Ocean. Getting a flow of prana going is like getting a siphon going – it’s weak at first and takes quite a bit of effort and attention. But, if uninterrupted, it will grow in strength and become less and less a weak and easily interrupted trickle and more and more like the Columbia River. That flow will then carry us along over even very great obstacles.

Consider as an example, the way water bubbles out of the ground at the Source. Let’s say, for the sake of this example, that the stream is small – just a trickle at first. That trickle, vulnerable and delicate, will nonetheless orient itself to gravity and begin to flow in alignment with that force. That orientation to gravity is an example, in nature, of opening to the grace of gravity.

The next major dynamic that has to be in place is Muscular Energy. Staying with the water metaphor, there has to be a boundary to protect the vulnerable, delicate trickle and enable it, gradually but inevitably, to grow into a strong force. Then that stronger force and flow will need a stronger boundary or riverbank to push in to and flow through if it ever hopes to be strong enough to reach the ocean. As flow and power increase, the need for riverbank and the discipline of Muscular Energy increases.

So now we have Open to Grace – the initial sensitivity it takes to align with gravity at the Source – at the beginning. We have Muscular Energy, the necessary boundary and containment of the stream and riverbanks. Finally come a big impulse of growth and expansion - Organic Energy – that “force which drives green shoots to break the winter ground” and grows the trickle of water high in the mountains into a stream and river – eventually growing in power and becoming sort of Columbia River – Rolling on and even creating it’s riverbanks more deeply as it goes. Your life can feel like this when it’s going well, right? Really rolling along – even pulling you along on the current.

Although we work to establish a flow of prana and learn how to not interrupt that flow, we all have circumstances that have interrupted or will interrupt the Columbia River of our lives and take us back to being a wavering tenuous stream of Prana. Illness and physical injury are two of the main circumstances. When this happens, we can use the very same principles to begin again – orienting the wavering trickle of prana that is your life – to open to the vastness of grace. Maybe just tentatively at first, draw in towards that grace with a bit of discipline, a light engagement of muscular energy. Dare – softly - to aspire again – to open your self again, within your life, as it is…….not being discouraged by the current ebbing…..not being dissuaded by being a small stream. Be open to remembering that small streams are filled with the same Blessing Force as the Columbia river – and the presence of Blessing Force is not subject to the rule “more is better” – there’s the vastness of the Ocean in every drop.

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