Sunday, 21 June 2009

Chandra Namaskar, snakes and other delights

So cold, wet and windy here in the far south west of Western Australia. I'm heading off to Bali at the beginning of July and it is looking more and more attractive! I haven't been out of Australia since last time I went back to Africa in 1996/97 so it will be quite strange. Flying is not my favourite method of travelling; however, it is 3 to 4 hours from Perth to Bali by air and when I drive to Perth from here, I'm lucky to get in in under 5 or 6 hours, so relatively speaking, the journey is not so long. I'll have to pull my head in regarding the amount of luggage I take! Travelling alone by car I can fill up all the spaces and then bring it all back again (that seems to be my modus operandi).

I've only been home since Friday and today was the first day we managed to get a good walk - the weather has been so inclement. Thank the Goddess for yoga practice, otherwise I'd go completely nuts. I've been practicing jump backs and for an ancient crone such as me, I think I'm doing ok. I can get back into a reasonable Chatuspadasana (Plank) but jumping forward again is more like bunny-hops. I keep at it and one of these days, who knows ... At the moment I'm practicing 'creeping tiger' or the extended leg squat I find it difficult to get my heel to the floor on the bent leg although I can squat fairly easily. The asana is part of a sequence taught to me by a colleague who does the best Trikonasana (Triangle) I've ever seen. She says it is because she has a 'long' body but I think it is because she is such a dedicated Yogi and she practices assiduously. The sequence is one of the Chandra Namaskar and needs a lot of concentration because you go through it and then reverse the sequence. The one I've linked here is slightly different to the one that I do in that Esther doesn't bring her heel to the floor in the extended leg squat. Maybe I'm just being pedantic? I'm sure it makes no difference in the long run.

We walked toward the golf course along the Bibbulmun Track the little black dog running ahead. There are a couple of bridges along the path, crossing creeks which are, at the moment, more like swamps. No wonder we have so many Tiger snakes around here, there are heaps of frogs. The name of the settlement just down the road from us is Nornalup, and the translation is 'place of snakes'. Apparently the original name was Norna-Nornalup which translates as many, many snakes! Snake bite is one of the main causes of dogs dying here. The antivenom is hugely expensive and has to be administered early in the piece, however, as the nearest vet is a good hour away in Denmark, most dogs are dead long before being treated. Tiger snakes around here are not striped, but they are fierce.

I'm off again quite soon so this may be my last blog before I come back from Bali in mid-July.

Namaste

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Vanaprastha, living in the forest.

Giant Tingle Trees (eucalypts) in the Valley of the Giants.
Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sannyasa : The 4 Ashrams of the human life span. Vanaprastha is a sanskrit word (Vano + Prasthati). It means "to go to the forest" or the act of "being in the forest".

The weather has turned, winter has arrived. We have had a fire every evening for the past couple of weeks. Time for contemplation and hibernation.


The picture is Roland and our grand daughter fishing from the Town Jetty.
I'd like to make some deeply philosophical comments but the mundane, the banal is at the forefront of my life presently! However, it is interesting to note that, according to Vedic philosophy, the third stage of the four divisions of life known as the ashrams is vanaprastha. Vanaprastha corresponds to Western ideas of retirement. The demographic is 50-75 years old so we fit nicely into that. Traditionally this withdrawal from work is to a forest dwelling, to concentrate on spiritual practices. In Roland's case this would be fishing!