May | Eka Pada Kundinyasana II
Eka Pada Kundinyasana II
“The rider - the mind of innate awareness -
Is mounted on the horse of mindfulness.
Propelled by the wings of the unimpeded wind,
It moves through the path of the bodhichitta central channel
And arrives at the secret door of bliss at the crown.”
- from The Twenty One Nails, Dzogchen Teachings from the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu
In “Tibetan Yogas of Body, Speech and Mind” Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche says, “When your mind maintains awareness in meditation practice, it can travel a clear, direct path to higher meditative experiences. When your mind lacks awareness, it is inevitably propelled into places it doesn’t necessarily want to be. It gets caught up in endless internal chatter, fixates on problems and worries, and gets dragged into anger, guilt, pride, or desire. Whichever destination your mind arrives at there is just one essential force that propels it there: the vital wind known as prana, chi or in Tibetan lung. Prana is the essential energy underlying all of existence. All of the ways that you can relate to the world and to your own mind, energy, physical body are affected by prana and all are inseparable from prana.”
Eka Pada Kundiyasana Two is a pose that incorporates awareness with pranic flow at the crown of the skull and the elevated legs extend away from each other. It requires core strength that’s for sure and building that strength also comes from prana. What is essential in the pose is opening the groin and hips in lizard as a warm up as well as lengthening the hamstrings in multiple forward folds. Holding plank and forearm plank will also activate the core muscles including the psoas which will “lift” the leg. It is important to note in arm balances and inversions that the legs must lift themselves not the shoulders or arms. One can also learn to “lean” into this pose by placing the extended foot on a block and practice lifting. It is very key to not allow the head or the upper arm to dip below the elbow so as to protect the labrum.
This month we celebrate energy and the people who actively work to cultivate it whether in asana, meditation or both. This arm balance has been chosen in honor of one of our faithful and hardworking students, Zoe Bryant, who will be leaving to return to her homeland of Australia.
We love you, Zoe! Thank you for practicing with us, inspiring us and laughing with us!