Yoga is a path, which leads to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. Through purifying our body; which is the karmic storehouse for all of our past actions, asana practice helps us to purify our relationships with others. When our lives are lived in a way, which enhances the lives of others, ease of being arises, and with that, illumination and the soul’s true liberation.
The Blossoming Lotus sequence stimulates the movement of prana up the spine from the base to the heart: from seated hip opening to twisting to balance. Beginning with Baddhakonasana, (bound angle pose), a hip opener, which brings the focus to the svadhistana chakra, (which translates as her favorite standing place). The ‘her’, which is referred to, is the goddess Saraswati; she who is cosmic energy in the form of artistic/creative expression. The second chakra located between the genitals and the navel, is karmically associated with sexuality, and creativity. As we remember our higher intention, to bring happiness and liberation to others through our asana practice, we free the bound energy in our hips, transforming our creativity into something that is beneficial to others by embracing our past sexual and creative partnerships and letting go of negativity and blame.
The sequence progresses into a twist, Parivrtta Vikasitakamalasana (rotated blossoming lotus) activating the third chakra, manipura (which means the jewel in the city), located at the solar plexus. It is here where we are most likely to store our fears and insecurities; our cravings for recognition and our tendencies to hurt others as a means to feel more powerful and alive. Through purification of the ego, the jiva – self gains a profound sense of wholeness and completeness, which isn’t derived at the expense of another. One can then direct energy upward to the heart chakra and be free to give to others in creative, unselfish and mutually beneficial ways.
The peak of the sequence is Blossoming Lotus, Vikasitakamalasana, in which you embody a luminous lotus flower emerging from the muddy, murky waters of your past karmas. This asana is a balancing pose. The balance is achieved by allowing the heart center, the anahata chakra to channel the energy from the base upward through the second and third chakras to and through a brave and lifted heart. Anahata means unstruck and it refers to the primal source, which is self- originating sound. In yogic lore, the lotus is a metaphor for how all past experiences, especially negative ones, can be used as fertile soil for blooming into a more awakened being, capable of giving graciously and profoundly to others.
As yogis we know that the purpose for our birth, our destiny, is to become a Jivanmukta, a liberated being whose only desire is to serve the liberation of others. Great beings like Martin Luther King Jr. and Julia Butterfly Hill, remind us that we were meant to accomplish great things. Each one of us is unique and precious and has the potential to embody the awakened state of spiritual activation.
There is not much difference between a hero/heroine and a coward: they both feel the same fears and anxieties. The hero/heroine acts in spite of these fears and anxieties, whereas the coward turns away from action. The cultural hero/heroine, seeks to break the chains of his or her culture’s particular illusions, the coward lives in denial. Throughout history (or her-story), cultural heroes/heroines have chosen the way of nonviolence or ahimsa. It is a challenging path to take, because it is rarely the path of the majority and because it takes more courage to meet violence with kindness and compassion than to meet violence with violence. But there is nothing wrong with being radical; as Ingrid Newkirk, founder of Peta reminds us, “all the great people in history, those who really made a lasting positive difference were radical.“