Welcome to Yoga Poetry Radio. On today’s occasion of the solar equinox I will share a slow and careful sun salute along with the Shambhala Concept of Great Eastern Sun vision. I am breaking with my normal mailing patterns and sending the podcast out to my full list. The Lunation that begins on Sunday is a special one. It will be the first lunar cycle of astronomical fall. And it is the lunar cycle of Mom’s birthday. For as long as she could, Mom lived and breathed an awake and engaged American Democracy. In her honor, Songs of Forgiveness is dedicated to safe and fair Midterm elections.
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Today’s equinox is the day when the sun crosses the Earth’s equator, the duration of the daytime is equal to the duration of nighttime and we begin our journey towards winter as the sun shifts away from my northern lands and closer to the Southern ones.
The following practice is a mindful mat practice with the intention to bring in wakefulness and energy. Wear comfortable clothes and plan to both stand and get down to the floor.
Lets begin in seated on your mat. Settle in and get comfortable. Ground yourself by bringing your attention to where your body makes contact with the floor. A person with Great Eastern Sun vision is someone who can survive in this setting sun world. It’s a Shambhala Buddhist concept of how to live, and how to make art that has the potential to wake us up and create an enlightened society. So right here, bring your favorite mode of expression to mind. Whether it is writing like me, music, dance, collage, sports, however you express creativity and joy in your life, that is where to begin. Picture yourself engaged in that activity and then let’s ventilate that image with the breath. Exhale all your air from your lungs. Inhale. Open mouth exhale. One more time. Fill up with breath. Open mouth exhale. Seal your lips and let your breath return to its natural state. Find a relaxed and responsive belly here. Let your inhales move your belly outward and the exhales draw your belly in. The bellows of your diaphragm is moving up and down in the canister of your torso. This is diaphragmatic breathing. Practice this breath and it will sustain you no matter what. Continue with the breath while I continue with Great Eastern Sun.
Each part of the phrase has meaning. Great - equals the basic goodness inherent in each of us. East represents a freedom in action that comes from wakefulness. Not necessarily a direction but a rising up to the fact that your basic goodness is known, familiar, has always been there. It’s the recognition that happens at the first best thought without striving or the need to search. Finally, Sun, as in where all energy for life on earth comes from. These three meanings work together to find a lightness and ease that leads us to bravely create what is good for the world.
On your next inhale reach both arms high and on the exhale draw your fists down as if this concept was a pull up bar and you are drawing it into your body. Continue doing that, inhale reach, exhale pull in with you breath, let your elbow reach back behind you and your fists come all the way to your midriff. Find lift and expansion at your chest. Keep going. This is called Bastrika breath.
Setting sun energy is a different concept altogether. It is that feeling of wanting to go to sleep, to distract and avoid, to prevent discomfort. Our whole capitalist economy is built around yielding to this energy. The lure to be more comfortable, have it easier, better, more or less. What brought you here, to do this practice? Remember that instinct to self care, to do yoga, to breathe runs counter and makes space for you to lead with Great Eastern Sun vision.
Come back to your elbows on the mat and find bicycle with your legs. Draw your tummy into your spine and keep your chest lifted. Use this movement to warm up your core. Go slow or as fast as you like. Honor your bodies limits. Let my voice be your guide, but your body be your true teacher. What works and what doesn’t here? Make this your own.
Make sure you are breathing. Is there any setting sun energy here? How do you distract from discomfort? Great Eastern Sun would have you moving here with interest. Find fluidity in knowing you do this for your own health. Bring the soles of your feet down and find windshield wiper legs, letting knees fall to the right and then fall to the left. Back and forth and then let them rest to one side and follow with your torso for a twist. Look behind you. Draw tailbone in. Lift and open your chest. Carefully draw yourself over to the other side. Same checklist there. Come to center.
Bring your legs out wide. Turn towards your right leg and bring your hands to it. Find appreciation for this working leg. A little self massage. Another concept different from Great Eastern Sun is rising sun energy. That is new energy, like a baby.
Now switch and do the same on the other side. Rising sun energy, there is a lot of potential but it is not yet developed. With Great Eastern Sun it’s already there, it just needs to be uncovered through practice, of your art, of meditation or yoga, whatever takes you away from the push and pulls of the setting sun world and lets you recalibrate. Cross your legs and find a little forward bow here. Breathe.
Great Eastern Sun is available to those who do not try, who let go of their layers of conditioning and discover their buddha nature.
Find your way to hands and knees, table top. Stack your joints. Ground your hands and tops of your feet. Inhale find cow, chest comes down closer to the floor extending the front side of your body. Exhale to cat. Bring your tummy to your spine, arch your back towards the ceiling. Continue on your own breath, bring in awareness and care of your spine.
For most of us this letting go of conditions, this non-striving, does not come easy. Can you bring your effort down to the minimum here? Just experience your spine through movement and an interested curiosity. Let that be enough effort. You are here, breathing and moving your spine all the ways.
Turn your toes under and lift your hips to down dog. Pedal out your feet as if you are walking the path. Opening up the soles of your feet as you go. Grounding through the whole of your hands and your toes and feet. Discernment here, you know how to do this easy, gentle, and let the path reveal itself. Walk your feet up to your hands. Forward fold. Stay right here with bent knees, letting your head hang heavy. Get deeper into this by lifting your hip creases to the sky in order to straighten your legs. On your next inhale roll up to stand. Take your time stacking each vertebrae upon the last. When you get to the top roll your shoulders, reach for the sky, three Bastrika Breaths right here.
The whole vision appears at once. You feel it in the moment, the Great Eastern Sun behind your process, guiding your next move. Find a baby backbend by bringing your arms wide and gaze to the ceiling. On your next exhale forward fold, step your left leg back, low lunge. Hold and sink your hips. Rise to crescent. Arms high. Back heel remains lifted. Tummy engaged. Bring your torso forward five inches. Straighten your back leg. Bring your torso back up. On your next exhale, draw your bellybutton in and twist to the right, right hand back left forward. Hold.
Having Great Eastern Sun vision is having victory over the three worlds. This is warrior speak for having a natural sense of your own worth. Nothing will unseat you.
On your inhale come back to center and bring your arms high. Hold and breathe. Appreciate the sacredness of the world, that everything in your field belongs and has meaning, with trust and time for practice you will render it though your means of expression.
Draw your hands to the mat. Step back to down dog. Bring your torso forward to high plank. Lower down to the Mat in your own way. Cobra. Breathe. Lift right leg. Lower. Lift left leg. Lower. Enjoy using the back side of your body. On your next exhale draw your nose down, press yourself up to table top. Lower your hips back to childspose. Feel the support of the Ground beneath you. Breathe into your back body. rest your head. On your next inhale, rise to table. Turn toes under, rise to down dog. Inhale right leg high. On your exhale step up to low lunge. Hold and breath. Step left leg up and find forward fold. Roll to stand, take your time, one vertebra at a time. Bring your shoulders up to your ears, back and down. Next inhale reach your hands high. 3 bastrika Breaths. On your third find the baby backbend. Hands come to heart. The three worlds are right here right now. Sky above you, earth below you and your body that connects the two.
On your next exhale forward fold, step your right leg back, low lunge. Hold and sink your hips. Rise to crescent. Arms high. Back heel remains lifted. Tummy engaged. Bring your torso forward five inches. Straighten your back leg. Bring your torso back up. On your next exhale, draw your bellybutton in and twist to the left, left hand back right forward. Hold.
Whole body experience. Great eastern sun. Victory over the three worlds. Dignity in your speech. Dignity in your body. Dignity in your state of mind.
On your inhale come back to center, arms high. Hold and breathe.
Draw your hands to the mat step back to down dog. Pause and breathe. Bring your torso forward to high plank. Lower down to tummy on the mat in your own way. Lift shoulders to Cobra. Hands where they are. Breathe. Lift right leg. Lower. Lift left leg. Lower. Contracting the back side of your body. On your next exhale draw your nose down, press yourself up to table top. Lower your hips back to childspose. Feel the support of the Ground beneath you. Breathe into your back body. rest your head. Find your way to lying on your back. Bring your knees in to your chest. Bring knees to the right gaze left for a twist. Other side. Bring your Kees left gaze right. Bring knees to center. Feet to floor, hip distance apart, knees bent. Press into your feet and lift your hips for a final bridge pose.
Ground yourself here. Floor solid beneath you. Inquire: How do you feel now at the end of practice? Thank yourself for the time you just took attending to your body. Expanding your limits. When can you come back and do this for yourself again?
Rise to find a comfortable seat. Palm to palm is holy palmers kiss, as Shakespeare says in Romeo and Juliet. Which is to say: Bring your hands together at your heart. We will close with the sound of OM. If you chant along with me, or even if you don’t, follow the sound as it starts in your chest, moves up your throat, across the back of your scull, top of your head, forehead, and ends with the hum in your nose. The breath afterwards will be silent, for a silent om. Listen along or join me.
Exhale. Inhale through the nose. Om. May all the benefits we just created be vibrationally sent out with this sound and shared with all other beings, known or unknown, nearby or far away.
Thank you for listening. If you find this practice useful and know someone else who may benefit, please share. Like and subscribe so the algorithm can help others find it. Follow the show notes back to Songs of Forgiveness, my newsletter, to check out what else I share. At the home page to this episode I link resources that are relevant if you want to take your exploration deeper.
My next four podcasts will be posted with a slightly different schedule than usual. I will send them out as links via my regular Songs of Forgiveness newsletter that posts with the phases of the moon. Please subscribe to get those posts right in your inbox if you are not already. If you are subscribed you have my gratitude. Thank you for listening and thank you for your practice. As each new episode for this lunation is sent out, the last one will go behind the paywall. If you get behind in listening, not to worry, a monthly subscription of just $8 can get you the whole month of them. That is quite a deal. You can sign up and follow along for the next lunation or any lunation of your choosing. I will leave the dates of the upcoming primary phases at the bottom of the show notes and link the new episode when they are out.
I invite you to contact me with any questions you may have.
September 25 - New Moon
October 2 - 1st Quarter Moon
October 9 - Full Moon
October 17 - 3rd Quarter Moon
Much love, Tina
Resources for Further Study:
Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala Book by Chögyam Trungpa. This link is to Amazon, just so you can check it out. Buy it instead from your local bookseller.
Commentary on DeSantis’ “Stop Woke” act from Lion’s Roar Magazine. https://www.lionsroar.com/stop-woke-the-war-against-awakening-and-belonging/
Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching on Volition: