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History Yoga

1 he ritual of honoring the light -

the glow that brightens the darkness, the sunlight that gives birth to life itself) the flame in your own heart—is as old as time and as close as your breath. How do you celebrate it?

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In meditation, you connect with an awareness that has no beginning or end, that is not rooted in time or placc. Is it possible that your experience is the same experience of the ancient yogis? •!•

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Lotus Pose has the power to settle your nerves, awaken your energy, and quiet your mind. Here's how to let yours blossom and grow.

By Nora Isaacs ftltfft

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Photography by David v.onS byjcott Bakal

When she's feeling ungrounded or anxious, KK Lcdford turns to one of yoga's quintessential poses, Lotus. As the San Francisco-based Anusara instructor moves into this time-honored asana, she feels her femurs root, her groins settle down, and her side body lift. Settling in, she finds her midline and visualizes her roots descending to the earth as the energy moves up and out of the top of her head.

From this dance of stability and softness, a natural

contentedness and calmness sweep over her. This powerful hip and heart opener has completely shifted her energy. "I feel the earth is holding me, and from that place I feel really balanced as a sense of freedom emerges from my heart."

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Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is considered by many to be an archetypal yoga posture. The arrangement of your hands and feet in the pose resembles the petals of a lotus flower— the blossom that grows from its base in the mud to rest above the water and open to the sun. The image is nothing less than a metaphor for the unfolding process of yoga. "A lotus is rooted in the mud, and when it grows, it blooms into a beautiful flower," says Richard Rosen, the director of Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, California, and a Toga Journal contributing editor. "In the same way, when a person begins yoga, they are rooted in the mud as part of the mundane world. But as they progress, they can grow into a blooming flower."

Lotus's Humble Origins

The lotus, orpadma in Sanskrit, is a powerful symbol that transcends time and religion. Over the centuries, the flower has symbolized a whole span of states, including enlightenment, detachment, cosmic renewal and rebirth, purity, beauty, and spiritual and material wealth. This recognizable flower plays a prominent role in the creation stories of ancient Egypt and India. It is also a commonly used symbol in continued on page 120

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Unite Mind Body Spirit With Yoga

Unite Mind Body Spirit With Yoga

Practitioners of yoga talk about a unification of body, mind and spirit acquired through practicing the yoga exercises and techniques. Learn more within this guide.

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