Yoga: this term
We are continuing aligning our yoga practice to the seasons. In winter we can focus on the BK – bahya kumbaka: the empty pot. This is the still space that follows our exhale, before we inhale. Last term we used the exhale to bring us into the lower abdomen and then paused to take our awareness into the root of the body, muladhara (mula = root; dhara – support). This term, the attention is on the BK.
Muladhara and winter are associated with the element of Earth, illustrated beautifully by
this image. This time of year allows us to bring our inner wisdom out of the dark unconscious where it has been rooting in the earth and preparing a foundation for the year ahead to grow and develop in the light.
If you tune into the season, the Earth is beginning to pick up energy and prepare for spring. We are not separate to this process, we are part of the system.
As before we can work with cakras physically and/or symbolically. You can choose which approach works for you. Muladhara’s superficial location on the body is in the perineum, the space between the vagina/testes and anus. Within the body it is found in the nerve plexus of the coccyx. It is said that if muladhara is balanced, we will be able to find our path in life and stand on our own two feet; we will have the ability to put down roots and nourish ourselves physically and spiritually. Wonderful sentiments for the start of a new year.
The yantra for muladhara is painted with shades of red and includes the stability of the square, a four petalled lotus and the solidity of a black elephant. Muladhara is the starting point of the three nadis: susumna, pingala and ida. In some traditions, the base of the nadis holds primal female energy symbolised as a coiled snake. Through yoga, this energy rises up the nadis to meet with the male energy from above. (Kundalini yoga works strongly with these ideas if it is something you want to explore further.)
Working with the BK (and so muladhara) in asana, pranayama and meditation, our ability to be firmly rooted, stable and steady in the mind and body is increased. The BK prepares the body for the inhale of spring; it gives a springboard for the inhale to create space and lengthen.
Working in this way can have a deeply meditative effect and you can choose to embrace it or fight it. It’s a space to be rather than do. Here is an opportunity to explore the moment and embrace where you sit in life and the universe.
Thank you for your continued presence