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Are you a person living a safe life or a person taking risks? Do you prefer to be in a safe zone or choose the difficult, walk towards the unknown and take the risk in your daily life? I continued to practice flows on chakras in this week’s yoga classes. This week, it was “manipura chakra”s (navel chakra) turn. And we would practice a flow for our inner power and jewel. The theme of the session would be whether to stay in the safe zone and do a known flow in confidence or take chances and risk and walk towards the unknown?

We strengthened the core muscles with several “asana”s (pose) throughout the first half of the session and get ready for the peak pose. The peak pose would be something that would take the students from the safe haven. We should take risk when trying the peak pose.

I decided on two different peak poses for the morning and evening session that day because the students in the morning and evening classes could do some poses well but have difficulties in some other. The aim was to get out of the safe haven and take the risk so the groups should take the risk and activate their navel chakra. So one of the groups tried “bakasana” (crow pose) and the other “eka hasta bhujasana (leg over shoulder pose). Both asanas were poses that the students were not used to and that would be a challenge, taking them out of the safe haven and take the risk.

In the session we tried “bakasana”, some students got out of the safe haven, took the risk and tried the pose. Some of them only lifted one foot from the ground while some preferred to bring their knees on their back arms and keep their feet on the ground, staying in the safe haven.

In the session we tried “eka hasta bhujasana”, I observed the same thing. Some students only stretched their hips and brought their legs over their shoulders and stayed there some of them tried to lift their hips of the ground.

What I observed that day was that what we were doing on the “mat” was directly linked with our personalities. If we were people who liked to stand firm on our feet, we were having difficulties in balancing poses and taking risks. Or if we were not taking life so seriously and considering life a fun, such poses and sessions were just fun for us. The question was whether we should take life seriously, live in the safe haven and ground firmly on our feet or get out of the safe haven and take risk? Was life something that serious? Would it harm us if we take risk and mock with life a bit?

When winter comes, I feel depressed. Even though I am a person who have been doing and living in yoga for years, I cannot get accustomed to the duality of life. Actually, I have accepted duality in many areas, however when it comes to winter andd summer, summer is much more important for me. In fact, the sentence saying “there is winter if there is summer” is not one that I feel like saying.

2009-2010 tum fotolar 730

Winter… Cold, dark, dry and harsh… All these are characteristics of “vata dosha”, one of the three body types in ayurveda (Indian science of life). Vata dosha resembles adjectives like airy, light and creative. The main feature of this body type is instability and inconstancy. Vata dosha controls the central nervous system. When this dosha is out of balance, it can lead to nervous problems, including anxiety and depression.
With the cold, dry and harsh weather during winter, the vata dosha in our bodies rise irrespective of what our ayurvedic body types are. When the vata in our bodies rise, the best thing to do is to do grounding yoga asanas. Therefore, we should give priority to grounding in our yoga practice during winter and we should keep our awareness in our roots and grounds.
Why do we have to ground when vata increases in our bodies? Vata is associated with not only cold, dark, dry and harsh but also light and airy. Therefore, when vata increases in our bodies, it is so normal to fell ourselves lighter, more airy and as if we are flying.
To this end, we should reduce, balance or regulate the vata dosha in our bodies. If we give priority to inversions that increase vata during our yoga practice and mainly do sirsasana (headstand), adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) and pincha mayurasana (peacock pose), we raise the vata iin our bodies. Thus, our mind will be tired, we feel impatient, and we feel like we are flying. We cannot focus, we cannot stay at one place and we will lose attention.

If we have such complaints, we should focus on grounding more than ever during winter in order to ensure physical, emotional and spiritual balance because most probably, the vata dosha in our bodies has increased. The standing yoga poses, particularly tadasana (mountain pose), virabhadrasana I and II (warrior poses), trikonasana (triangle) and vrksasana (tree pose) are all poses that ground us and help us regulate the vata dosha. These standing poses do not only make us stronger but also help us stand firm and balanced on our feet.
In fact, we do not only ground in standing poses. If our aim is to ground ourselves, we can feel our roots in every pose. You must be wondering how we can do that? For instance, let’s practice “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend). If we bring our awareness to our sits bones in this pose and aim to get rooted and ground towards the earth through these bones, we can also make ourselves be rooted and grounded in a sitting yoga pose.
Similarly, we can also get grounded and rooted in backbends. For example, we can get into bhujangasana (cobra) or salabhasana (locust) poses, and we can ground ourselves onto the earth from our abdomen while we raise only our chest from the ground.
Twists also help us regulate the vata dosha in our bodies. However, our breath should freely move when we are in a twist. If not, the vata dosha in our bodies can increase.
So, we can regulate and balance the vata dosha in our bodies by trying to ground ourselves more on the ground and earth during this cold, dry and harsh winter. Let’s try to ground ourselves more and more on earth in standing yoga poses but at the same time let’s try to feel the energy rising from our soles. Let’s try to flow our energy to the ground, and feel the energy coming from the earth and ground in every yoga pose.
Grounding… One of the main principles of life. Everybody and everything wants to have roots and belong somewhere. Winter is a good opportunity to get grounded and be rooted and to improve our sense of belonging. If there is duality in life, we should continue being grounded until the moment we need to take our feet off the ground, i.e. till summer. Don’t forget that the days when we will need to take our feet off the floor are also ahead of us…