This is a series of three videos I have made that would be a really good start to someone new to yoga. Once you have learned the technique in the first video, you can just do the practise in the second and third videos.
This is a classic physical practise practised with variations by Yogi's all over the world. It's good to learn so that you can just flow with it. Watch and practise at the same time till you get the hang of it.
It's important to spend some time relaxing in Savasana after doing a physical practise. This particular practise increases body awareness and improves left right balance. It's a great meditative practise to use with children who are learning cross body exercises.
This is a very classic yoga practise. Almost every teacher will teach some version and if you are in one of the Holy cities on the Ganges in India you will most likely see people practising. I learned this version in the Himalayas from one of my earliest and most inspiring yoga teachers.
It's basically good for everything. You can practise slowly if you feel stiff or tired. If you want a vigorous workout with more aerobic activity it's great to practise it with a quick rhythm.
Once you know it well and you can get into a good smooth flow, it will help you release endorphins super quick.
“Where would I find enough leather
To cover the entire surface of the earth?
But with leather soles beneath my feet,
It’s as if the whole world has been covered.”
~ Shantideva, Buddhist Scholar
Some years ago the well known healer Caroline Myss wrote about woundology. It was information that probably didn’t really expand beyond the circle of people who have been drawn to the healing arts but times have changed and everybody is aware of their wounds. These days articles even have ‘Trigger Warnings’, that basically mean that the article may hook into a group of people’s personal wounds and perhaps they should avoid reading.
There’s a divide between the two concepts I have shared so far. Trigger warnings attempt to make the world smoother and Shantideva suggests taking personal responsibility. he suggests you make changes to yourself. You should wear shoes. You do not go and try and make sure nothing in the world can ever push your trigger again - ‘cover the world with leather’.
Many healers and spiritual teachers will advocate for personal responsibility. This is very wise. What you take responsibility for will build your personal power. It does not really matter if the other person is an asshole or if the situation is completely unfair. If you take responsibility for yourself in the situation, you will build power. This is especially true if you have been struck right in the place of your personal wounding. In other words if you have been triggered. In fact there is no way of healing your wounds without having your wounds triggered. This does not mean you have to read every article with a trigger warning but it probably does mean becoming familiar with your wound, the reactive patterns that emerge from it and creating enough space to find another way to respond.
One of the things that tends to come up in resistance to the idea of taking personal responsibility is that systems of oppression need to be dismantled. This is very true. A very extreme example of misalignment in being told to take personal responsibility was invoked in an article that I read recently. A whole community of people who had been living in government sponsored housing had their housing taken away by the same government. To deal with the situation several coaches were employed to help the ex-residents, now homeless. This is kind of crazy and disgusting both on the part of the government who thought this was appropriate and the coaches who took this likely well paying government work. It is possible that some of the victims would have benefitted from that kind of approach when they lived in the housing but at the moment they are kicked onto the street, coaching them to feel better is a slap in the face.
Oppressive systems do need to be dismantled and someone who has learned to take responsibility is very likely to be much more effective at dismantling than someone who is in reactivity to their wound. When our wounds get triggered we may fall into a kind of depression, or feel anxious or angry. None of those internal states is particularly useful to anyone who is trying to do something in the world. Sometimes we might gather with those we mistakingly call allies in a group around our collective wound. We will empathise with each other in that situation. Your pain is similar to my pain, we feel. But we do not heal. We feed each others anger and pain.
To heal we need insight and wisdom. And the truth is both of those are to be found inside of us when we are willing to be with our wounds. When we allow the full emotional power of our wounds to emerge while not losing our shit we begin to heal our wounds. When we become familiar with our wounds and begin to take care of ourselves in our wounded places begin to become wise. If we read Maya Angelo's poetry or Bell Hooks prose we can get a sense the wisdom that arises when we are willing to be with our wounds.
When we are lost in our wounds, anyone who looks like our oppressor becomes a screen onto which we can project the tyrant who created our wounds. And even if they are quite unlike our oppressor we alienate them and very likely evoke a reaction which confirms our suspicion that they are in fact one of our oppressors. When we are willing to take responsibility for our wounds and we hold back from projecting them onto others by interrupting our reactivity we can create the opposite situation in our lives. By interrupting our own internal reactions and finding new ways we make space for things to work out in a different way for ourselves. That is a magical moment for us personally and initiates us into a space where we can actually start to work on collective systems of oppression.
Most astrologers use the 27th of April as the birthday of South Africa. Often at 10am. I think it's a bit more complicated than that given the voting stations had just opened. It's a bit like saying someone's birthday is just after their mother went into labour! Anyway a number of days starting on the 27 till around mid May work for various reasons.
Astrology is often a bit forgiving. Sometimes a clear pattern emerges in the chart that will be reflected in multiple places. One of the best ways into a chart without an exact time is to take a look at the Nodal Axis. This represents the path of Soul into Embodiment. We all, countries included, arrive with our souls wanting to expand into the material realm. Much of our life is dedicated to the path of individuation. And the nodal path as well as the aspects it makes show us how to do this and what obstacles we face in this life. It's to do with the developing I as opposed to the dissolution of the separate self.
Astrology is dispassionate. It goes well beyond your personal feelings in the moment. It takes you deep, quick!
So let's take a look. Often the Nodal axis is interpreted to be what we leave behind (bad) and where we must go (good but difficult). It's partly true but there's more too it than that. In South Africa's case that narrow interpretation is hopelessly inadequate. South Africa's sun is nearly in the same place as the South Node. It's an extremely bad idea to leave the light of the sun behind! The sun is the purpose and the light of the chart! So for South Africa to move forward to meet her destiny We have to include the Light of the past. Including our past lives! While our dark past is regularly acknowledged we very rarely give any time and consideration to the light of the past! I think it would be really useful for South African's to scan over the past recent to ancient and integrate that past light.
But be careful!! South Africa's North Node is conjunct Pluto. Pluto is the God of the Underworld. He expects you to navigate your underworlds and face your personal deaths. The astrology indicates that we are pretty capable of that and it is helpful. Pluto also demands impeccable use of power. You don't get to manipulate, or blame, or project. Power demands you take responsibility. I'm not convinced we are doing very well at all!
The whole process is hindered by our unhealed wounds and because we are unhealed we have lost our ability to be in service. Until we learn to serve we will hopelessly flounder. (Chiron square nodes in Virgo)
Lastly, for now, South Africa was born in an eclipse window. Eclipses portend political change and in fact Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on the day of the actual solar eclipse. It is the traditional day of the change of sovereign. The king or queen dies and a new sovereign is put in place. As for the whole country being born then means our country has a dharma to bring about political change for the world. Many individual political reformers were born on an eclipse or in an eclipse window. This aligns perfectly with the mystical seeing so many have had "As goes South Africa, so goes the world".
Things are not looking pretty it's time to reconnect with who we are. We must take responsibility for the way in which we wield our power as individuals and as a nation. We have to remember we are here to serve something bigger than ourselves and we have to find the light in both our near and more and more distant past and integrate it. Without the individuals in the country taking that on board, it's highly unlikely we'll achieve any of the enlightened dharma that is possible for South Africa.