Saturday, March 6, 2010

Women: The Power Principle

In honor of International Women's Day, a practical exercise to relieve stress and achieve inner peace, and a lovely poem. (Image: Sacred Mantra Mandala - Tibetan Thangka Painting.  Do you recognize the pattern? Think - Liubo...)

From The Hindu Online
Women: The Power Principle

For all those women who find no time for themselves, practical mystic and yoga guru YOGACHARINI MAITREYI suggests a simple technique that helps reorient and refocus themselves.

The Cleansing Breath

The cleansing breath is an excellent and simple breathing technique to release a sense of feeling overwhelmed. If there is too much information to remember, too much to do, too many deadlines, too much irritation or frustration then take a break and practise the cleansing breath. This gives you the space to re-orient and refocus. This can be done in front of the work desk, as one is lying down before bed, just as one is waking up, while one is waiting, while one is anticipating a stressful situation, when one is worrying too much or simply when wants to relax. This is an effective tool in between a busy work day or a day filled with learning sessions. Information needs time to be assimilated and the cleansing breath creates time and space for this assimilation. It also releases acidity from the system

The Technique:

1. Sit comfortably with a straight back, shoulders relaxed and chest open. Be aware of your sitting position as well as your breathing. Now take a deep in breath and then breathe out like you are sighing a sigh of relief. Pout your lips as you are doing this so that the sigh makes a whoosh sound. This pouting the lips is called the kaaki mudra or the crow's beak. Feel all stresses leaving as you breathe out. Do 9 rounds keeping eyes closed. 2. You can also add this movement to relax the shoulders. Breathe in and bring your shoulders to your ears. Breathe out using the cleansing breath and release the shoulders, relaxing them. Do 9 times

Shakthi means power. In the Indian system the power principle is feminine. Shiva symbolises destruction but, more appropriately, the change management principle and the consciousness principle. Change is constant, however to change something for the positive needs consciousness. Just as an old building is destroyed to build something new in its place Shiva or the consciousness principle frees us from the old negative habits to make space for new things. It is this consciousness that helps us partly change, remodel, strengthen or completely remove old structures depending on what is appropriate. Shakthi or power is what enables this principle.

That is why power needs to be in the hands of the refined as their ultimate aim is harmony, although they may get into confrontations during the process of resolution. A gross person will misuse power and hurt or terrorise because they are unhappy and want to feel better about themselves. Some even take pleasure in destroying others who are not submissive. They are extremely intolerant and fanatic and power in the hands of such people causes a lot of destruction. The less gross hurt out of fear and self protection.

The Shiva and Shakthi principles are not separate from each other and are within each one of us. Consciousness and power need to dance together. Yin and Yang need to be balanced for us to be fully balanced men or women. When we understand Shiva/Shakthi in this manner rather than as religious figures, we can apply it to our day to day betterment rather than relate to them out of superstition. They become keys for mind management principles.

Women's day, why not men's day
I've wondered why the men got left behind when it comes to a day dedicated to them. We also have children's day apart from women's day. To celebrate a fully balanced male is to actually celebrate the feminine and the child in oneself. This means a balanced man also accesses his feminine qualities without being effeminate. He has softness and firmness, not aggression. The most fearful people are the ones who are most aggressive. Right through history we have seen instances of how the aggressive scheming group due to greed misappropriates another's wealth or knowledge. Thus men also should celebrate women's day knowing they are celebrating their own gentler side that is capable of deep love and tenderness.

Our Indian history and culture has the most powerful and revered women and yet the worst oppression is seen as well. India is truly the land of extremes, holding the richest and the poorest the densest and the most intense in its womb. On women's day let us celebrate the Goddess in each one of us. Let us nurture the qualities of wisdom, abundance and strength by giving our selves space to grow.

The left and right brain, yin and yang

The left brain is called the masculine brain and the right brain the feminine. The left brain is logical, reasoning, sequential, analytical, objective and looks at parts.

The right brain is random, emotional, intuitive, holistic, subjective and looks at wholes.

This left/ right balance helps us see many points of view. Else we see things with the perspective of the most dominant side and the interpretation of situations is different. Thus a balance of yin and yang, right and left brain helps us have a more balanced perspective as well.

A yoga technique to worry less
Women have a habit of putting themselves last, especially those with a pronounced maternal instinct. Their children's health or their spouse's or the health of their kith and kin comes before their own and they worry about it all the time. The caretaker needs to take care of her health first to be able to do her best. If a woman is working then the excuse I hear most often is that she has no time. Hence I have listed a very simple technique called the cleansing breath that one can practise at any time during the day in 2 to 3 minute segments.

Yogacharini Maitreyi is a practical mystic who teaches yoga and creates conscious community around the world.;

An ode to women

Women are but a reflection
Of trees in full bloom
Who flower with dignity and grace.
When given the room.
To grow into whom they can become.
Blossoming season after season.
To only express their being. And for no other reason.
What a joy to be part of her growth.
Where a woman is empowered to stand up even if hurt
And even if she has reacted out of fear. Is willing to listen and wipe another's tear.
What use is all this progress If she cannot feel safe And feel no harm will come to her
A real woman rises above this, not by building walls.
But builds her resources and strengths. Where she has an inner light Burning bright
Where hope buds, and all hurdles disappear

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