Yoga for Energy
In our Awakening Your True Self Series we are exploring the Six Paramitas or Six Perfections. The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. It is considered a path of the Bodhisattva. Today we are reflecting on the fourth paramita or the fourth perfection, the perfection of energy.
Virya whose root “vir” we know in yoga from the yoga asana virasana or hero’s pose, means virtue or the pursuit of good, diligence, good, effort and diligence. This does kind of conjure the image of a warrior or pursuing something that exists outside of ourselves, however with perfect energy we do not have to cultivate anything that isn’t already within us. This is about the conservation of energy. We already possess as much energy as we need. Through our yoga and meditation practice we can bring awareness to the energy that we have within us and guide it with discernment and wisdom.
Each time we practice yoga, and then off our yoga mats and through our days we can choose how we expend our energy. Through this level of deep awareness of our vital life force we can begin to pay attention to the level of prana at our disposal at any given time. We can then be diligent and disciplined with its application.
In preparing for today’s class I read a parable of a greedy donkey who would continually exhaust himself going between two piles of hay, never dedicating himself to one pile of hay. The moral of the story of course, is that there is an abundance of energy at our disposal, it is up to us to become still and tap into our vital life force energy, rather than running all over, scattering our energy in an unfocused way in pursuit of something better.
Virya Paramita has three parts:
- The development of virtue within ourselves (I would describe virtue as discerning the life force of prana available within)
- Study of the teachings
- Helping Others
When we spend time in self reflexive practices like yoga and meditation we come to understand our own personal energy in a deep and lasting way. We know how to spend our energy with discernment and how to restore our energy with nurturing compassion.
We need trusted teachers on our path to validate our self-reflection. The true meaning of guru is one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. A trusted teacher will shed light and help illuminate your path. Spending time listening to the teachings, taking yoga classes, reading books, all of these things give us deeper understanding mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. Sometimes one small thing can resonate so deeply that it will reverberate in your life for years, like ripple in a pond.
Finally to be of service to others helps us to withdraw from our ongoing preoccupation and habit of wallowing in our own suffering, suffering that is both real and imagined. As I mentioned at the beginning, the teachings of the six paramitas are part of the Bodhisattva path. Bodhisattvas make this vow, “sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.” We can ask ourselves these powerful questions, “Who is suffering? Where is there need? Where can I begin?”
Virya paramita or perfect energy is not about using effort to chastise ourselves into greater feats of endurance and outputs of energy. Rather, it is to allow the subtle energy at our core, which brings the full potential of our life, to come forward and to turn that energy to the task at hand. We have all the prana that we need and it will last our entire lives. We can tap into that endless beautiful prana and use it for the benefit of the world.
Props Needed: wall, yoga bolster, yoga mat, blanket, yoga blocks
Yoga Postures or Asanas: Legs up the Wall or Viparita Karini, Keyhole or Eye of the Needle Stretch, Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana, Spinal Energy Series, Prithivi Mudra or Earth Mudra in Virasana or Hero’s Pose, Supported Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana, Supported Sphinx Pose or Salamba Bhujangasana, Reclined Twist with Bolster or Salamba Jathara Parivartanasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose
Virya Paramita: The Perfection of Effort By: Anonymous – Source
Why Legs up the Wall by Melissa West – Article
Poem : Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Through that practice we are taking the fruits of our yoga practice and offering them out into the world. We have taken the spiritual goodness we have generated through our yoga practice and given it to those in need. This is a highly valued and incredibly important and generous practice.
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Today’s question to answer in the comments is: Who do you recognize is suffering? Where do you see a need? Where can you or have you begun?
The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. If you would like an infographic of 4 easy and practical ways to incorporate compassion into your life then put your email address into the box below and I will send you 4 easy and practical ways you can incorporate compassion rituals into your life.
If you would like more support in cherishing, protecting, guarding, safekeeping your energy, we have a brand new, 2 hour restorative yoga class in our membership community. This two-hour long restorative class is designed to allow you to surrender with compassion and unconditional nurturing love to the fertile, renewing energy that is available when you take deep rest. By turning inwards to release what no longer serves you and receive the nourishment of recovery, rejuvenation and restoration you will experience resilience. This class draws on Sita the Goddess of forests, the womb, and unconditional nurturing love along with gorgeous poetry of hope and renewal to refresh and replenish your soul.
Thank you Melissa for this amazing class. What a gift to give oneself – two hours of peace and calmness and gentle relaxation. The beautiful setting of Beacon Hill Park and the amazing poems you chose to read added to the serenity of the experience. I just finished the class and feel like I am floating. It is a class that I will do again and again, each time with a deeper understanding.
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Namaste Yoga 330 Photos of Yoga Pose