Life brings many challenges that can cause the head to hang low from the tug of a heavy heart. The most challenging situations often lead us to retreat and move inward. The mind can quickly cling to the negative, amplify destructive emotions and lead to a feeling of despair. Tantric traditions teach that it is in these dark moments that we have the opportunity to go deeper inside ourselves…kindle the light in our hearts…and remember that we are a part of the Divine Radiance from which all creation emanates…is sustained by…and dissolves back into.
Bhavana is a Tantric practice that means ‘creative contemplation and visioning’. It comes from the word Bhava that means ‘feeling’ or ‘emotional flavor’. Bhavana combines our ideas and visions with our feelings and is the most powerful tool that we have to make the changes in our life that our heart desires. We all want to be happy…to feel that we are valued and that our lives have purpose and meaning. When challenges come our way we can use the practice of Bhavana to empower ourselves…to amplify our individual light…merge into the Radiance…and find comfort and nourishment in the connection.
To combine the practice of Bhavana with your asana practice use the ‘Life is Good’ gesture:
(The familiar scene: hands behind the head leaning back in a chair…aahh success…aahhh this is nice)
The ‘Life is Good’ gesture:
- Intertwine your fingers and place your hands behind the big part of your head.
- Turn your gaze subtly down your cheeks…towards your chest, as if you were looking inward to your own heart.
- Breathe in and imagine that your inner body is growing bright and full of light. *Allow your heart to lift upwards, following the movement of your breath… as if it was growing towards the light of the sun…bringing your shoulder blades more deeply into your back.
- Breathe in and amplify your inner light…let your whole body expand with the Radiance of Divine Light.
Action: Shoulder and Skull loop
Posture: Parsvakonasana (side angle)
1. Stand with your legs wide apart.
2. Turn your left foot slightly inward towards the midline and your right foot out towards the side.
3. bend your right knee, keeping it in line with your ankle (if your knee bends past your ankle then move the left foot back and widen your stance).
4. Place your right forearm on your lower thigh near your knee. Turn your palm upward and rotate your arm outward away from the midline so that your hand extends out beyond your knee. Press downward with your forearm against your leg to make space between your shoulder and your neck.
Or: take your fingertips to the floor outside your right shin…rotating your hand slightly so that the ‘v shape’ between your thumb and index finger faces forward towards the end of your mat.
5. Place your left hand behind the big part of your head.
6. Pause…breathe in and strengthen your legs as if you were pulling energy up from the earth into your pelvis then exhale and push energy down from your pelvis through your legs as if your were a tree pushing roots towards nourishment that is deep in earth.
7. Now, follow the steps for the ‘Life is Good’ gesture.
8. Connect to the feeling that being filled with radiant light gives you and with an exhale extend your left arm long alongside your head.
9. Connect to something bigger again down through your legs and turn your chest more toward the sky…open and share the inner radiance of your heart.
This song really touches my heart and reminds me to remember the inner light. Enjoy! ~K