Sunday, February 7, 2010

Open to Grace

When I first became a student of yoga over 20 years ago, I struggled first with my mind. I considered yoga to be the best method I had encountered for retraining the mind. My untrained mind is best summed up by local writer Annie Lamott: My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.”
More recently, I’m learning a new way to hold the mind, a more loving way, based on the ancient wisdom of Tantra, which to me is based on our intrinsic goodness or inner divinity. Tantric scholars propose that ego, desire, and even mind are vehicles—rather than obstacles—to one's highest Self.
Last month I had the supreme pleasure of taking my first workshop with a gifted Tantric scholar and yoga teacher, Sianna Sherman. She is superb professor of Anusara Yoga, which was founded by John Friend in 1997 and is the fastest growing segment of yoga. Sianna is one of his first disciples. Anusara is based on the heart-opening ideas of Tantra. In our workshop, she described the First Principle of Anusara: Opening to Grace.
While in Sianna’s workshop, I of course was so deeply in the now that I can’t recall exactly what she said, but I found a recent interview with Sianna by Ginger Coy.
Here is an excerpt:
The First Principle of Anusara is, according to Sianna, about “allowing ourselves to be become more sensitive, more spacious, more with attunement, more listening, more present with however something is in the moment, and allowing ourselves to feel compassion and love in ways that we’re connected to ourselves and more than just ourselves in the moment, connected to the bigger picture we like to say in Anusara.”
“When I would be inside a situation in my life that was challenging for me, I would actually ask myself, what does Open to Grace look like right now in this moment in this situation, when I’m off my yoga mat, and here I am feeling all these challenges or intensities, or something that is pulling me off-center in a big way, and I started really asking the question, what does Opening to Grace look like right now in this moment and what would happen was an immediate bonding with a greater sense of love and self-love inside myself.”
John Friend adds: “When we get out of alignment with Spirit and we try to make or expect life to be something different than it really is, suffering happens. We all experience pain and suffering, but it is not the quintessential nature of life. Just because the earth turns away from the sun and night occurs doesn't mean that the sun isn't always shining. It might be hard to see sometimes, but goodness and divine beauty can always be found if you adjust your vision just right.”
Wishing you attunement, connection to your intrinsic divinity and “just right” vision this Valentine’s Day. Open your heart, open to grace, just like Sianna (below) for Valentine's Day.

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I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.