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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).

Sep 18, 2009


It has been a glorious day - so beautiful and sunny and the temperature is perfect. I got up early enough to hang out with Chris before he left, and then I got to enjoy a full hour of sitting practice without being rushed. After that I did a little laundry and then spent another unrushed hour talking to my friend Christina (Christina Sell will be teaching a workshop here in just a few weeks and it will be great and we're gonna love it). Anyway, Christina and I talked about 10,000 things - 9900 of them to do with Yoga. One subject was how amazing we find it that even after years of practicing and teaching in the style and system of Anusara Yoga, we continue to realize things about the Universal Principles of Alignment with a sort of eureka! She expressed to me a new and deeper understanding she recently had of the Anusara principle of Balanced Action. She had had a Eureka moment about Balanced Action. When she first told me about it, I didn't get it and then all of the sudden - yep - eureka!

I love this!

There is a passage in the Shiva Sutras - 1.5 - that reads Udyamo Bhairava : The Divine manifests as an upsurge of Consciousness, like an eureka, suddenly and spontaneously springing forward. In Yoga we cultivate, through principled practice, through principles of practice (like Balanced Action for example) the process by means of which Absolute Consciousness can emerge as something new - a revelation - eureka. And this will never fail to to surprise and delight us.

So here's the Balanced Action eureka I had, thanks to Christina. Each asana has a classic form - an Alignment. That form serves as a sort of container in which Action can take place. But it is not just Action - it is Balanced Action. I know that you Anusara Yoga-ites out there who are reading this are saying, "And so? Are you planning on saying something new?" But really this is a new and fresh eureka for me. I can do tadasana with perfect balanced action. Tadasana is the container - the form. But can I also bend the classic form and alignment backwards or sideways or forward and sustain balanced action? that's the Yoga. Eureka!

OK - so onward from there, after I hung up the phone with Christina, I thought about Yoga Philosophy and Yoga Ethics and Tantra. And I had another eureka. But of course - since Consciousness unrolls itself in streams of insight and sequences of illumination. Eureka ripples out in layers and waves of surprise. (Thank you Paul Muller Ortega)

OK - Let me try to express this particular eureka-ripple by using the following example.

The ethical principle known in Yoga terms as Saucca means orderliness, clarity, cleanliness & good boundaries. Saucca is a Form - an Alignment - a sort of ethical Tadasana. Within that container there also, one hopes, exists Balanced Action. A little metaphorical Inner Spiral might mean that I am very flexible and accomodating with a new but dedicated student who is not expressing saucca in her poses or in her behavior. More Outer Spiral might mean that I am firm and even fiery when a long term student, someone who should know better, violates the principle of saucca in a relatively harmless way. The eureka for me is to see that Tantra teaches ethics in just this way. It seems to me that in any given situation we are asked to see the ethical principle as the Alignment or container and within that container the Balanced Action determines the actual behavior or response necessary to stay in alignment.
Well then..........goodnight!

1 comment:

  1. Karen,
    So nice to read your words and thoughts again - thank you. Wish I could travel up for Christina, but can't this time. She (Christina) did a workshop at my studio in July -- Wow! Everyone loved it; but then, what's not to love about someone so dedicated to this practice?

    I love these little pockets of gold we keep mining as we move deeper into our practice -- balanced action, yes!