Our goodcleanse workshop will help you balance body, mind and… heart? soul? spirit? Whatever you call it, you may be wondering just what this process is all about. Take a sneak peek at the goodcleanse manual, by co-founder Flannery Foster, below.
goodcleanse: The Root
Ideally, all of our actions create balance in our lives. However, life presents us with constant challenges that may be daunting and elusive. The next seven days will serve as a time to prioritize balance in our daily lives.
Together, we will confront imbalances and take the first steps toward equilibrium.
First, we address our most basic human needs. According to Abraham Maslow’s landmark 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, these consist of air, water, food, sleep, elimination and procreation.
The philosophy of Yoga replaces Maslow’s hierarchy with the Chakras. Chakras are not literal locations in the body, though some experts in the field of yoga have suggested a correlation between the chakras and the endocrine system. Rather, they are associated with different qualities of the human experience.
The Root Chakra, or Muladhara, is associated with the same basic, primal needs as the first floor of Maslow’s pyramid. The four leaves of Muladhara’s lotus, as well as the four sided square, represent a stable foundation, like that of an actual, three-dimensional pyramid. Chairs and tables usually have four legs. Cars have four wheels. As infants, we begin on our bellies until we finally have the strength to crawl on all fours.
The color associated with Muladhara is red. The most immediate association with the color red has always been blood. Meditation on the Muladhara Chakra supports awareness of ourselves as human beings existing on an earthly plane, subject to gravity, death, physical pain and physical pleasure.
Muladhara Chakra is also associated with Apana Vayu. The Vayus are winds or energies that promote movement in the body. Apana Vayu is our eliminative energy. Apana controls the downward flow of Vayu. Urination, defecation and flatulence are all supported by Apana Vayu.
Metaphorically, we can harness Apana Vayu to eliminate our attachment to life and our fear of death, governed by the balance of Muladhara Chakra.
The Four Noble Truths and The Yamas & Niyamas
The Four Noble Truths, The Buddha’s First Teaching, are:
- Suffering exists.
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires.
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases.
- Freedom from suffering is possible along the Noble 8 Fold Path.
For our purposes, the five Yamas and five Niyamas, detailed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the defining text of Yoga philosophy, will stand in for the Buddha’s 8 fold path. The ideas are very similar. Two more steps, but they’re definitely worth it. By integrating these practices, clarity in our thoughts and actions follows.
Yamas: Modifications of actions, words and thoughts to promote greater balance in our relationships to individuals and society as a whole.
Ahimsa (Non-harming): Literally translated as non-violence, ahimsa is often cited by vegetarians as a motivation for not eating meat. Let this be a part of your practice this week. When we eat meat, we are complicit in the death of another being to satisfy our craving. There is no need to consume meat. For those in other circumstances, perhaps. The benefits of a Vegan diet are numerous and citations abound.
Satya (Truthfulness): To not speak falsehoods. To observe our obligations. To accept the reality of our circumstances. To accept that other people’s perception of the truth is as valid as our own, since our own subjectivity colors our judgement. Eventually, humans may come to a state of honest awareness and acceptance of the everchanging now. It’s called enlightenment or grace.
Asteya (Non-stealing): To possess only what we have earned through honest means. To not take more than our share. To address our sense of entitlement (ie: “I deserve it.”). To engage in Satya
Brahmacharya (“To Walk” or have ethical conduct, “like God”): Chastity, Monogamy, to be disciplined in our passions and energies. To be “true”. To walk the talk.
Aha! Chastity is inconvenient isn’t it…Sadly, this IS what it means. We will all adapt the definition to standards acceptable in our own society, which in New York, can be as conveniently niche oriented as you like. As long as all parties are willing participants in the same game, do whatever you like sexually. That said, what if your energy was focused on matters beyond the physical. Or if your sexual behavior was part of your spiritual discipline. As a Vedic Astrologer once told me, “Marriage (read: commitment…monogamy…brahmacharya) is a Spiritual Discipline”. A long term relationship is delayed gratification, but presumably the gratification is far greater. This theme is represented in the yogic path as a whole. We refrain from short term gratification that may result in our detriment for long term gratification.
Aparigraha (Non-clinging): Non Attachment. To loosen our false sense of control over people, objects, obsessions and desires. We believe we can alter the outcome of situations beyond our governance. To have a balanced understanding of what we can change, what we can’t, what we should and what we shouldn’t, is the outcome of non-attachment. We accept all fluctuations in our reality as the next step, engage fully and reap the lesson.
If any of the above interests you, I hope you will join us for the discussion.
goodcleanse practices with Flannery
Location: goodyoga Greenpoint, 114 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Sunday, 1/11/2015, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, $40 with a 10% discount for members.