Flying Your Freak Flag: Bird of Paradise


SvadhisthanaSo you wanna know how to tie Independence Day to your yoga practice? Open up the 2nd Chakra, Svadhisthana, and get those creative juices flowing.  This chakra rules our passion and creativity, our emotions and sexuality, our “lust for life”  you might call it.  In other words, this chakra rules all of those funny little quirks that make each of us undeniably, distinctly, penetratingly and gloriously UNIQUE!  The 2nd chakra is also ruled by the element of water which affects our ability to “go with the flow”, move with grace through life and choose our own pace.Bird of Paradise

In the morning practice at OM today we worked with a series of several hip-opening vinyasas, hamstring looseners and pelvic releases to fuel Svadhisthana.  Passing through our Eka Pada Rajakapotasana and Hanumanasana with lots of deep lunging thrown into the mix in-between in preparation. We culminated the early practice with a Svarga-dvijasana, Bird of Paradise…or at least we all tried!  I was quite impressed by everybody’s effort and expression with the posture.  Bird of Paradise is said to give us a sense of dynamic expansion, focus a scattered mind, contribute to grace and balance and lengthen the spine.  In addition it is a fantastic opener for both hips and hamstrings.  Several variations are available as you work your way into the full expression, allowing for the entire class this morning to find their own individual communication of the pose. Viva Asana!

In the afternoon we focused yet again on the 2nd chakra, but this time skipped over the Bird of Paradise.  Instead we worked with intention and affirmation to build on our unique and perfect expression of self.  On inhales we bathed ourselves in the prana of all that is positive in the universe around us:  grace and gratitude, humility and compassion, love and freedom.  On the exhales we let exit any toxic thought or energy patterns we hold: ego, jealousy, anger, judgment.  We put special emphasis on nurturing our OWN practice, listening to our OWN edge and finding our OWN creative expressions through our physical practice.  In short, we all encouraged and supported each other in letting our freak flags fly! 

In nurturing first your independent spirit, you ensure that what you have to offer those around you, to the entire universe around you is nothing less than your best.  Connecting with our truest expression of self also brings us one step closer to the ability to recieve real and pure joy…and to share it with others.  Celebrate yourself today!  Celebrate the uniqueness and creative nature of your loved ones, too!  We don’t all always have to agree, but what we can do is offer ourselves and each other respect and understanding.  Do you.  Viva la independencia!

Matthew Arnold, British poet and cultural critic:

To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.