How to Change Poison into Nourishment

Hello fellow seekers,

There is a myth about Shiva I’ve been thinking about this week. You may or may not have heard it—It’s the story about why his throat is blue. I will give a quick summary and if you’re interested in reading a full version of his story, click here (start on paragraph 7).

There was a time when the gods and demons were mortal. They had heard that there was an elixir that granted them immortality that could be found at the bottom of the ocean of consciousness known as the Samudra Manthan. As they churned the ocean, many things began to surface, including Lakshmi, gems and a deadly poison, Halahala. As the poison began to surface, everyone drew back, fearful of being touched by the Halahala. Without thinking, Shiva stepped forward and began to drink the Halahala. Parvati also stepped forward and held Shiva’s throat so that the poison would not go into the rest of his body and kill him—this is why in some iconography, he has a bluish tint to his skin.

Why have I been thinking about this myth?

The answer is twofold. First off, there are times when in order to get what we want, we have to swallow/take on/do things that seem deadly. Coming back to my ongoing theme of grief—we have a choice. We can sit back and not participate in what’s going on or step forward and drink what feels like poison for the situation/feeling/relationship to change. Shiva is known as the patron saint of yogis because he does not fear death – he does not fear change – he actively dances the Tandava, the dance of destruction. We yogis aspire and are inspired to do the same. We lean in, step forward and actively participate in our lives—which sometimes involves destroying what no longer serves—what is no longer working in our lives.

Once the dust settles, then comes the grief and the act of mourning the change. This, again, is where we can learn from Shiva. He’s seen dancing the Tandava, or he’s seated in meditation. I’m going to define meditation in this context as just sitting with what is. This is where I am right now—sitting, feeling and observing what is left—within myself and around me—not doing anything about it quite yet, just taking stock with what’s changed from dance.

I ask you, dear friends –

  • How would you describe what’s going on for you right now?
  • Are you dancing the Tandava?
  • Are you a spectator in someone else’s or the global dance?
  • Are you sitting in the aftermath of the dance? If so, what do you see?
  • If you were to close your eyes and ask yourself – How am I right now, what would your answer be?
  • What can you do today to honour how you’re feeling?

Ending with some beautiful words by Elizabeth Lesser:

“The best way forward is to let ourselves mourn what has been lost, to feel our very human vulnerability, to be kind and gentle and patient with ourselves and others so that when the time comes, we can welcome the new, unexplored areas of life.”
— Read the rest of the article she wrote here.

I’m excited to start the live classes again today on Practice With Clara, where we’ll dive into this theme. For more information on the class, scroll down. If you’re unable to join us, you can find the class in the New Releases playlist this afternoon.

My weekly recommendations –

If you have any questions about training, poses, or anything else related to yoga, you can email me, post in the Facebook Group, or write us a review on the apps, and we’ll gift you a month of yoga!

Sending love and a virtual hug,

New Yoga Class: Poison Into Nourishment

    Join me for a 60-minute vinyasa practice moving towards the arm balance mayurasana, peacock pose.

    One of the greatest forms of alchemy is to turn something toxic into something nourishing. Some of the oldest yogis were alchemists, turning metals into gold. They came upon the pranayama, mantra and meditation practices and realized they could change their own alchemy.

    Mayurasana is one of the oldest yoga poses. You’ll find it in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (one of the oldest texts about Hatha yoga) along with paintings of yogis in the pose. It is said to stimulate your Agni (spiritual/digestive fire), help you digest poisonous foods, and help you digest emotional poisons such as anger, greed, jealousy, anxiety, and spiritual ignorance.

    We’ll be warming up with forearm and hand stretches. There will be lots of heat with twists and back strengthening poses.

    Here’s the link to the Spotify playlist for this class.

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    Take a tour of your spiritual basement…

    It’s an excavation, an unearthing, and a time to decompress and dig deep into the spaces within yourself.

    You’re invited to a Virtual Fall Equinox Retreat: Tuesday, September 21st, 2021.

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    Mantra is a powerful tool to focus your mind and attention on a specific word or phrase. Chanting mantras help you release positive energies into the universe.

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    This program features the history and practice of vinyasa yoga, specifically, Prana Vinyasa Flow pioneered by my teacher, Shiva Rea. This style of yoga embodies movement, chanting, music, and breath control to direct the life force/energy (Prana).

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