Sunday Evening: Eileen Barbour

“Yoga is like Music, the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” ~BKS Iynegar

Sunday evening, at dusk, that magic time when the day turns to night, our back yard was full of tiny lights blinking off and on. I remember as a kid catching lighting bugs in a mason jar and being so disappointed the next morning when not only did they not light up but they were mostly dead. They have a short life span, especially when you do not create the right environment for them to live.  As I watched our puppy so fascinated with these exotic, Hoosier fireflies, I thought about the awe of nature when you are a child. And how we can recreate that feeling, by slowing down, breathing and meditating outside. A simple walk in the woods can restore your equanimity and change your perspective on life. 

The Firefly is also a yoga pose, also known as Tittibhasana, that requires a great deal of concentration and strength. As with all yoga poses, there are prep poses that allow you to build up to the final balance pose. In Firefly, you use your core and inner thighs to lift into the arm balance.  I have included links to a couple of Yoga Journal articles, that will give more instruction and videos, for those interested in learning or improving this pose.

The fireflies, pose and insect, led me back to BKS Iynegar, one of the founding fathers of modern day yoga. Iyengar yoga concentrates on exact alignment in the poses and using your breath to stay in the poses for a length of time. Iyengar also believed in the use of all kinds of props to find your full expression of a pose. I tend to like the flowing dynamic of sequences or a vinyasa flow for my practice, but I am a big proponent of using props to help with any pose. I am attracted to Iyengar’ s philosophy on yoga and life, that the union of body, mind and spirit will lead you to find the divine spot, between past and future, in the present.

When moving into a pose, a new pose or a difficult one you are trying to master, remember to be kind to yourself. Yoga is the joy of the journey, building from the first step to your full expression of the pose. It isn’t on a timetable and each time on your mat is different, take the time to fully immerse yourself into the union of your body, mind and breath. When you come to your mat remember to keep the Yama of Ahisma in mind. It is the first of the Yamas, in Patanjali’s Sutras, it means to practice being non-harming or non-violent, towards yourself and other living creatures on this earth. To practice Ahisma, keep kindness in your thoughts, words and deeds. You offer yourself kindness and patience on and off your mat, then you can share your compassion with those around you. Iyengar took a wider view of Ahisma, it means simply “love”.

The quote below, found in his book “Light on Yoga”, talks about our physical balances, such as Firefly, and balance in our life. 

BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga

“Balance does not mean merely balancing the body. Balance is the foundation for balance in life. In whatever condition in life one is placed, one must find balance. Balance is the state of the present-the here and now. If you balance in the present, you are living in eternity. When the intellect is stable, there is no past, no future only present. Do not live in the future, only the present is real. The mind takes you constantly to the future, as it plans, worries and wonders. Memory takes you to the past, as it ruminates and regrets. Only the Self takes you to the present, for the divine can be experienced now. The past, present and future are held together in each asana as thought, word and deed become one.”