Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Archive for the tag “transformation”

Dancing With Transformation

We each have a masculine and a feminine aspect to ourselves. Scientifically, we are here because of the uniting of a male and female chromosomes to make a whole new being. In Hindu mythology, each god is powerless without the goddess who is divine force of creation and transformation. The female power is referred to as Shakti. Shakti is considered everything that is perceivable through the senses and the mind – the “powerful, active, dynamic” energy that “creates, pervades, governs, and protects the universe” (Kinsley). Every breath we take, move we make, thought we create is considered Shakti energy. Shakti is around us, within us, and is us. We are all the face of this amazing goddess energy. Shakti is the power to transform and move forward. What better time than January to tap into the transformational energy within you, as you, metaphorically speaking, die and are reborn with resolutions to steer your life differently?

“The contemporary philosopher Yasuhiko Kimura defines transformation as a dance between Being and Becoming” (Kempton). Being is the changeless source of what is beyond the reach of everyday senses, speech and mind.  Becoming is the ever-changing and growing Shakti life force within you. Becoming is a process of transformation. Transformation is a bumpy process that requires turning ourselves inside out and is rarely pleasant. In alchemy it is believed you can turn lead into gold – a  metaphor for releasing our true nature from the heavy illusions of our mind. We are releasing what we know of ourselves. Changing our identity and how an aspect of ourselves relates to the world. This requires heat to burn the old, stability of earth in the midst of uncertainty, air of our breath to find focus, and fluidity of water to move and change.

The first step of transformation requires a crisis point. Something happens in your life that makes you aware that a change is needed. Whether  a death, a breakup, a medical problem, financial crisis, or weight issue, you are aware that your life needs to transform because you are no longer able to stay static in the manner you are presently living. To change things you need heat to burn the old.

In alchemy, a solid is burned  to ash. In your own life heat is the discipline of moving past our egos and into the  realm of uncertainty and discomfort. Go to a place that requires you look at yourself; you are to open not only your eyes but all your senses to what you need to do and then do it. Fueled by the fire of your belly, the discipline of will,  get up and go for a run, pack up the pictures of your ex-lover, or take a shower. What is required you do today to transform? Sitting in your uncertainty, in a place of limbo, use to force of heat to move  forward and burn out what no longer serves you.

In this time of uncertainty, when your emotions are turbulent, life is chaotic, and possibly your self-esteem is low, you can be easily swept away toward temptations not conducive to your growth. You will benefit most from the grounding to the earth. This is a great time to tap into a creative outlet, meditate, hike, and/or join a group of interest. Do something that keeps you present to the moment.

As life is uncertain, as days turn into night, the air of your breath will always guide you truthfully. Your breath is a connection between your mind and body. As your mind or body begins stressed, depressed, over or under-extended, your breath will become choppy, ragged, and shallow. Begin to pay attention to your breath. Notice the cadence and rhythm of your breath when you walk, run, talk with a friend, wash dishes, watch television, at all and any time! Your breath is the best indicator of what is happening within you. Consciously continue to take long, deep breaths to even out your nervous system and work to maintain a calmness throughout your whole body. To maintain mind/body calmness is  especially important if everything around you is chaotic.

Remember, change is always occurring within and around us. We are not in the same mind-frame that we were when we woke up this morning and we will evolve and change emotions, preferences, and maybe even opinions before we go to bed tonight. Our ability to move and change is the fluidity of our core self. Water, the ultimate shape shifter, moves, modifies, melts, freezes, or vaporizes depending on the circumstances and environment. Each cell in your body consists of 65-90% of water. Tap into this element that makes of the majority of your physical self and recognize your own adaptability in each circumstance.

Recognize that the hardness of earth is great to ground down and stabilize in order to grow, to adapt, to change but not to stay fixed in a way of life. Use the fire of discipline to move forward. Follow the air of your breath to find your true self-awareness. And move, sway, and adapt with the fluidity of water that makes-up each of your cells. Transform as you follow your own beat in the dance between becoming and being.

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Kempton, Sally. “Waking Life.” Yoga Journal. Cruz Bay Publishing Inc, March 2008. Web. 3 Jan 2013.
Kinsley, David. Hindu Goddess.Berkeley:University of California Press, 1986. Print.

SITES OF INTEREST:
“The Breath as a Mind-Body ‘Guage'”
Alchemy – Seven Stages of Alchemical Transformation

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Something To Remember

I found this quote in the most recent issue of Yoga International and believe it is worth sharing:

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” — Richard Buckminster Fuller

Peeling Layers

At the end of April, the 40 Days to Personal Transformation program began at Yoga Bhoga (a Portland yoga studio).  This program follows the principals and laws Baron Baptiste presents in his book 40 Days to Personal Revolution. Through meditation, yoga, journaling, weekly meetings and diet changes the participants of the program move on a journey of self-exploration and self-awareness. By becoming hyper-aware of oneself, we bring to the surface buried emotions, thoughts, habits of avoidance, denial, and self-sabotage. Only from recognizing these behaviors, are we then able to remove them, to change our patterns, in order to find a place of ultimate joy.

B.K.S Iyengar said “Asanas penetrate deep into each layer of the body and ultimately into the consciousness itself.” In yoga classes, asana refers to the postures but asana literally means “seat.” In the 40 days program, we are asked to find a seat within ourselves and begin to observe who we are.  By sitting with ourselves, listening to our thoughts, witnessing our reactions to daily life, we allow our bodies and minds to feel both the positive and negative emotions within us.  As I begin to root down into my internal seat, mindful to the moments of my life, pleasant or not, I am little by little beginning to remove my layers, slowly exposing the consciousness I long ago hid from myself.  The idea of transformation is not about changing who I am or looking to become a new person but rather it is about removing what binds me to discover who I already am.

In this program, a component to restoring mind, body, and spirit involves going through a 3-day cleanse that consists of eating only fruit. The first day I was surprised to find I was neither uncomfortable nor hunger. I felt good eating fruit salads and I discovered that the addition of mango slices made each meal a special treat. On the second day I woke up to a headache…and a fuzzy mouth. As the day progressed, I found myself craving almonds and thick chunks of sourdough bread with melted butter. I was mildly surprised that I did not crave more luxurious foods…or even full meals. More importantly, on the second day, I painstaking came to understand the weight loss I desired from this fruit cleanse is not from losing water weight but from the metaphorical shedding of emotional layers due to the lack of distraction brought on by comfort food, alcohol, and caffeine.

What was hard for me during this cleanse was the emotions it brought to the surface. Primarily, the urge to quit the fast – that it was too hard.  The desire to quit, to eat a piece of bread began to spread and I found myself angry at everything. Scared of my anger, I wanted to stuff my face to prove I was in control of the situation; to say “Screw it!” and eat cheese fries. I wanted to stop feeling so turbulent inside.  And suddenly I realized: I am a quitter. I tend to quit, sabotaging my own growth and potential when things become uncomfortable. In yoga, holding a pose my muscles may burn or emotions may bubble to the surface so I move in ways to stifle the emotions, to relieve the discomfort, in order leave my layer in place.  In love, for years, I would run away, lick my self-inflicted wounds rather than stay and lose control in a relationship with no guarantees. I quit in order to remain in control, to avoid failure, to avoid the unknown. In my kitchen, unable to eat and stuff out my emotions with food, I faced a choice: Do I continue the fruit cleanse and sit with my truth or literally eat my emotions away and continue avoiding the unknown within me?

Staying in the moment, I began to realize that the urgent need to escape back into my comfort zone, to not face my fears, stemmed from my own knowledge that I needed to rest during this week. I became angry that I did not have time to rest, that I did not have time for myself. I got mad at the fruit cleanse, the program, even my husband, and then I realized that I was blaming everyone else for my inability to say “no”. I stood there and asked myself “if I never say ‘no’, what is my ‘yes’ worth?”  In my aerial classes we are taught not to swing our bodies into a position because swinging only creates more swinging. When we swing our body, it moves to the opposite point from where we want it to be. Only by mindfully engaging muscles, can we shift our body and place it where it needs to be. Right now, my pendulum is swinging, constantly moving, and all I want to do is slow down. In order to slow down, I must stop. I must stop going full force, stop worrying about others, stop brewing anger, stop blaming others for my inability to rest, to renew, to move past being tired.  I must stop and begin to remove each layer, shedding old habits, resisting urges to flee and control what is not stable. I must stop, breathe, see where I am, greet who I am, and begin anew, mindful, aware, intentional and, yes, slightly scared, until stepping outside of boxes becomes natural.

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